The English spoken in Northern Ireland shows heavy influence by that of Scotland, thereby giving it a distinct accent compared to Hiberno-English, along with the use of Scots words as wee for 'little' and ay for 'yes'. Differences even exist in pronunciation between Protestants and Catholics, such as the letter h, which Protestants pronounce as "aitch", as in British English, and Catholics pronounce as haitch as in Hiberno-English .
Under the Good Friday Agreement, Irish and Ulster Scots have official recognition. Traditionally, the use of the Irish language in Northern Ireland has met with the considerable suspicion of Unionists, who associated it with the overwhelmingly Catholic Republic of Ireland, and later with republicans.
Ulster Scots comprises varieties of the Scots language spoken in Northern Ireland. Many claim it has become a separate language, descended from Scots in Scotland, whereas others question whether Scots is a separate language from English at all, or simply local dialects of Scottish and Northern Ireland English.
Chinese and Urdu are also spoken by Northern Ireland's Asian community. Given the size of the Chinese community in Northern Ireland, Chinese is now the second most widely spoken language, according to the most recent census returns.
Towns and villages
List of towns in Northern Ireland
- Ballycastle, Ballyclare, Banbridge, Bangor, Belfast
- Carrickfergus, Cookstown, Craigavon
- Donaghadee, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Dungiven
- Limavady, Londonderry, Lurgan
- Newcastle, Newry, Newtownards, Newtonstewart