ULSTER-SCOTS is a dialect and should not be equated with Irish, a founding member of the DUP has said.
Wallace Thompson, from Ballymoney, Co Antrim, wrote on his Facebook page earlier this week: "I was born and reared in north Antrim and I'll probably be accused of heresy, but to me Ulster Scots is not a language".
"It's a dialect," he wrote. "A hamely tongue but not a language. I think it's nonsense to equate it with Irish which, no matter what some say, is a language."
Mr Thompson is a leading member of the evangelical Caleb Foundation and a former special adviser to DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.
He later told the News Letter he did not believe legislation to protect either Irish or Ulster-Scots was needed.
"I would not want to see a significant amount of public money spent on Irish or Ulster-Scots," he said.
As talks to restore power-sharing continue over the weekend, the DUP remains at odds with Sinn Féin over the republican party's demands for a stand-alone Irish language act.
Mr Thompson's comments came as former DUP leader and ex-First Minister Peter Robinson said any Irish language legislation could also include Ulster-Scots.
"Who can complain if there are those who cherish the Irish language or who passionately support Ulster-Scots culture," he said this week.
"Who would find it unacceptable for arrangements to be put on a statutory basis to protect and support both? Both can be accommodated."