Scottish English: Wikis

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Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not include Scots depending on the observer.[1]

The main, formal variety is called Scottish Standard English[2][3] or Standard Scottish English.[4][5] However, Scottish English does have some distinctive vocabulary, particularly pertaining to Scottish institutions such as the Church of Scotland, local government and the education and legal systems.

Scottish Standard English is at one end of a bipolar linguistic continuum, with focused broad Scots at the other.[6] Scottish English may be influenced to varying degrees by Scots.[1][7] Many Scots speakers separate Scots and Scottish English as different registers depending on social circumstances.[8] Some speakers code switch clearly from one to the other while others style shift in a less predictable and more fluctuating manner.[8] Generally there is a shift to Scottish English in formal situations or with individuals of a higher social status.[9]

Contents

Background

Scottish English is the result of language contact between Scots and the Standard English of England after the 17th century. The resulting shift to English by Scots-speakers resulted in many phonological compromises and lexical transfers, often mistaken for mergers by linguists unfamiliar with the history of Scottish English.[10] Furthermore, the process was also influenced by interdialectal forms, hypercorrections and spelling pronunciations.[11] (See Phonology below.)

Phonology

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

The speech of the middle classes in Scotland tends to conform to the grammatical norms of the written standard, particularly in situations that are regarded as formal. Highland English is slightly different from the variety spoken in the Lowlands in that it is more phonologically, grammatically, and lexically influenced by a Gaelic substratum.

While pronunciation features vary among speakers (depending on region and social status), there are a number of phonological aspects characteristic of Scottish English:

  • Scottish English is a rhotic accent, meaning /r/ is pronounced in the syllable coda. As with Received Pronunciation, /r/ may be an alveolar approximant ([ɹ], although it is also common that a speaker will use an alveolar tap [ɾ]. Less common is use of the alveolar trill [r] (hereafter, <r> will be used to denote any rhotic consonant).
    • While other dialects have merged /ɛ/, /ɪ/, /ʌ/ before /r/, Scottish English makes a distinction between the vowels in herd, bird, and curd.
    • Many varieties contrast /o/ and /ɔ/ before /r/ so that hoarse and horse are pronounced differently.
    • /or/ and /ur/ are contrasted so that shore and sure are pronounced differently, as are pour and poor.
    • /r/ before /l/ is strong. An epenthetic vowel may occur between /r/ and /l/ so that girl and world are two-syllable words for some speakers.
  • There is a distinction between /w/ and /hw/ in word pairs such as witch and which.
  • The phoneme /x/ is common in names and in SSE's many Gaelic and Scots borrowings, so much so that it is often taught to incomers, particularly for "ch" in loch. Some Scottish speakers use it in words of Greek origin as well, such as technical, patriarch, etc. The pronunciation of these words in the original Greek would support this. (Wells 1982, 408).
  • /l/ is usually velarized (see dark l). In areas where Scottish Gaelic was spoken until relatively recently (such as Dumfries and Galloway), velarization may be absent.
  • Vowel length is generally regarded as non-phonemic, although a distinctive part of Scottish English is the Scots vowel length rule (Scobbie et al. 1999). Certain vowels (such as /i/, /u/, and /æ/ are generally long but are shortened before nasals and voiced plosives. However, this does not occur across morpheme boundaries so that crude contrasts with crewed, need with kneed and side with sighed.
  • Scottish English has no /ʊ/, instead transferring Scots /u/. Phonetically, this vowel may be more front, being pronounced [ʉ] or even [y]. Thus pull and pool are homophones.
  • Cot and caught are not differentiated in most Central Scottish varieties, as they are in some other varieties.[12]
  • In most varieties, there is no /æ/:/ɑː/ distinction; therefore, bath, trap, and palm have the same vowel.[12]
  • The happY vowel is most commonly /e/ (as in face), but may also be /ɪ/ (as in kit) or /i/ (as in fleece).[13]
  • /θs/ is often used in plural nouns where southern English has /ðz/ (baths, youths, etc); with and booth are pronounced with θ. (See Pronunciation of English th.)
  • In colloquial speech, the glottal stop may be an allophone of /t/ after a vowel, as in [ˈbʌʔər]. These same speakers may "drop the g" in the suffix -ing and debuccalize /θ/ to [h] in certain contexts.
  • /ɪ/ is more open, so that it sounds closer to /ɛ/ (although the two phonemes are not merged).
Correspondence between the IPA help key and Scottish English vowels (many individual words do not correspond)
Pure vowels
Help key Scottish Examples
/ɪ/ /ɪ/ bid, pit
/iː/ /i/ bead, peat
/ɛ/ /ɛ/ bed, pet
/eɪ/ /e/ bay, hey, fate
/æ/ /a/ bad, pat
/ɑː/ balm, father, pa
/ɒ/ /ɔ/ bod, pot, cot
/ɔː/ bawd, paw, caught
/oʊ/ /o/ beau, hoe, poke
/ʊ/ /ʉ/ good, foot, put
/uː/ booed, food
/ʌ/ /ʌ/ bud, putt
Diphthongs
/аɪ/ /ae/ ~ /əi/ buy, ride, write
/aʊ/ /ʌu/ how, pout
/ɔɪ/ /oi/ boy, hoy
/juː/ /jʉ/ hue, pew, new
R-colored vowels (these do not exist in Scots)
/ɪr/ /ɪr/ mirror (also in fir)
/ɪər/ /ir/ beer, mere
/ɛr/ /ɛr/ berry, merry (also in her)
/ɛər/ /er/ bear, mare, Mary
/ær/ /ar/ barrow, marry
/ɑr/ bar, mar
/ɒr/ /ɔr/ moral, forage
/ɔr/ born, for
/ɔər/ /or/ boar, four, more
/ʊər/ /ur/ boor, moor
/ʌr/ /ʌr/ hurry, Murray (also in fur)
/ɜr/ (ɝ) /ɪr/, /ɛr/, /ʌr/ bird, herd, furry
Reduced vowels
/ɨ/ roses, business
/ə/ /ə/ Rosa’s, cuppa
/ər/ (ɚ) runner, mercer

Scotticisms

Scotticisms are idioms or expressions that are characteristic of Scots.[14] They are more likely to occur in spoken than written language.[15]

Scotticisms are generally divided into two types:[16] covert Scotticisms, which generally go unnoticed as being particularly Scottish by those using them, and overt Scotticisms, usually used for stylistic effect, with those using them aware of their Scottish nature.

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Lexical

An example of "outwith" on a sign in Scotland

Scottish English has inherited a number of lexical items from Scots,[17] which are comparatively rare in other forms of standard English.[citation needed]

General items are outwith, meaning "outside of"; wee, the Scots word for small (also common in New Zealand English); pinkie for little finger and janitor for caretaker (pinkie and janitor are standard in American English). Examples of culturally specific items are caber, haggis, teuchter, ned and landward for rural; It's your shot for "It's your turn".

The use of "How?" meaning "Why?" is distinctive of Scottish, Northern English and Northern Irish English. "Why not?" is often rendered as "How not?".

There is a range of (often anglicised) legal and administrative vocabulary inherited from Scots[18] e.g. depute /ˈdɛpjut/ for deputy, proven /ˈproːvən/ for proved (standard in American English), interdict for injunction and sheriff substitute for acting sheriff.

Often, lexical differences between Scottish English and Southern Standard English are simply differences in the distribution of shared lexis, such as stay for "live" (as in: where do you stay?).

Grammatical

The progressive verb forms are used rather more frequently than in other varieties of standard English, for example with some stative verbs (I'm wanting a drink). The future progressive frequently implies an assumption (You'll be coming from Glasgow). Prepositions are often used differently. The compound preposition off of is often used (Take that off of the table).

In colloquial speech shall and ought are wanting, must is marginal for obligation and may is rare. Many syntactical features of SSE are found in other forms of English, e.g. English language in England and North American English:

  • What age are you? for "How old are you?"
  • My hair is needing washed or My hair needs washed for "My hair needs washing" or "My hair needs to be washed".
  • Amn't I invited? for Am I not invited

Note that in Scottish English, the first person declarative I amn't invited and interrogative Amn't I invited? are both possible. Contrast English language in England, which has Aren't I? but no contracted declarative form. (All varieties have I'm not invited.)

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Stuart-Smith J. Scottish English: Phonology in Varieties of English: The British Isles, Kortman & Upton (Eds), Mouton de Gruyter, New York 2008. p.48
  2. ^ "The SCOTS Corpus contains documents in Scottish Standard English, documents in different varieties of Scots, and documents which may be described as lying somewhere between Scots and Scottish Standard English.", Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech
  3. ^ "... Scottish Standard English, the standard form of the English language spoken in Scotland", Ordnance Survey
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Although there is some debate about the usefulness of the word standard here, most academics agree on the use of the abbreviation SSE in order to distinguish the variety from the geographically English Standard English, which is normally abbreviated to SE.
  6. ^ Stuart-Smith J. Scottish English: Phonology in Varieties of English: The British Isles, Kortman & Upton (Eds), Mouton de Gruyter, New York 2008. p.47
  7. ^ Macafee C. Scots in Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, Vol. 11, Elsevier, Oxford, 2005. p.33
  8. ^ a b Aitken A.J. Scottish Speech in Languages of Scotland, Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Occasional Paper 4, Edinburgh:Chambers 1979. p.85
  9. ^ Aitken A.J. Scottish Speech in Languages of Scotland, Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Occasional Paper 4, Edinburgh:Chambers 1979. p.86
  10. ^ Macafee, C. (2004). "Scots and Scottish English.". in In Hikey R.(ed.),. Legacies of Colonial English: Studies in Transported Dialects. Cambridge: CUP. p. 60-61
  11. ^ Macafee, C. (2004). "Scots and Scottish English.". in In Hikey R.(ed.),. Legacies of Colonial English: Studies in Transported Dialects. Cambridge: CUP. p.61
  12. ^ a b Wells, pp. 399 ff.
  13. ^ Wells, p. 405.
  14. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com. Retrieved 2008-04-21. "An idiom or mode of expression characteristic of Scots; esp. as used by a writer of English." 
  15. ^ Aitken A.J. Scottish Speech in Languages of Scotland, Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Occasional Paper 4, Edinburgh:Chambers 1979. p.105
  16. ^ Aitken, A.J. Scottish Accents and Dialects in Trudgil, P. Language in the British Isles. 1984. p.105-108
  17. ^ Aitken A.J. Scottish Speech in Languages of Scotland, Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Occasional Paper 4, Edinburgh:Chambers 1979. p.106-107
  18. ^ Murison, David (1977, ²1978) The Guid Scots Tongue, Edinburgh, William Blackwood, pp. 53-54
  • Abercrombie, D. (1979). "The accents of Standard English in Scotland.". in In A. J. Aitken & T. McArthur (eds.),. Languages of Scotland. Edinburgh: Chambers. pp. 65–84. 
  • Aitken, A. J. (1979) "Scottish speech: a historical view with special reference to the Standard English of Scotland" in A. J. Aitken and Tom McArthur eds. Languages of Scotland, Edinburgh: Chambers, 85-118. Updated in next.
  • Corbett, John, J. Derrick McClure, and Jane Stuart-Smith (eds.) (2003). Edinburgh Student Companion to Scots. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-7486-1596-2. 
  • Foulkes, Paul; & Docherty, Gerard. J. (Eds.) (1999). Urban Voices: Accent Studies in the British Isles. London: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-70608-2. 
  • Macafee, C. (2004). "Scots and Scottish English.". in Hikey R.(ed.),. Legacies of Colonial English: Studies in Transported Dialects. Cambridge: CUP. 
  • Hughes, A., Trudgill, P. & Watt, D. (Eds.) (2005). English Accents and Dialects (4th Ed.). London: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-88718-4. 
  • Scobbie, James M., Nigel Hewlett, and Alice Turk (1999). "Standard English in Edinburgh and Glasgow: The Scottish Vowel Length Rule revealed.". in Paul Foulkes & Gerard J. Docherty (eds.),. Urban Voices: Accent Studies in the British Isles. London: Arnold. pp. 230–245. 
  • Scobbie, James M., Olga B. Gordeeva, and Benjamin Matthews (2007). "Scottish English Speech Acquisition.". in Sharynne McLeod (ed.),. The International Guide to Speech Acquisition.. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. pp. 221–240. 
  • Wells, John C. (1982). Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22919-7 (vol. 1), ISBN 0-521-24224-X (vol. 2), ISBN 0-521-24225-8 (vol. 3). 

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Proper noun

Singular
Scottish English

Plural
-

Scottish English

  1. A dialect of the English language that is spoken mostly in Scotland. Compare British English.

Usage notes

Scottish English should not be confused with the Scots language, which is very similar to English in terms of vocabulary but is considered a separate language and has, for example, its own ISO code.

Translations

See also


Simple English

Not to be confused with Lowland Scots language.
Not to be confused with Highland English.
This language has its own Wikipedia Project.

Scottish English is the form of the English language spoken in Scotland. It can include Lowland Scots, but some people think they are very separate.



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