Wir Ain Leed

Mid Northern Scots

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Mid Northern Scots

This dialect is also referred to as 'North East Scots', 'the Doric' or 'the Moray Claik' and 'the Buchan Claik'. The name Doric comes from the Greek for 'rural' or 'rustic'. The term was originally used to describe Scots in general but now just tends to refer to the Mid Northern Scots dialect.

Consonants

Consonants usually have the same phonetic values (pronunciation) in Scots, as in Standard English.

Reversal of /d/ and /l/ may occur in words like warld [wardl] and field [fidl] etc.
Initial <f> (/f/) is often pronounced /fj/ in words like fact, fauch and ferm etc.
Initial <g> (/g/) is often pronounced /gj/ in words like gang and gie etc. In Buchan this may be pronounced /dj/.
Before <nt>, <a> and <e> may be pronounced /ɪ/ in words like want, kent, pent and enter.
In Moray and Upper Banff /r/ may be elided before /s/ in words such as first, hairst, hirsle, hirst, horse and purse.
On the Moray Firth coast <v> may be pronounced /w/ in words such as nervish, raivel, vailyie, veesion, veesit and verra.

For more detail see Orthography.

Scots Spellings Pronunciation in words like:
 
<ch> medial and final /x/1Medial and final <cht> is sometimes pronounced /θ/ in words like dochter, micht and nocht etc. bocht, loch, nicht
<ch> initial /ʧ/ chap, chield, chirl, chowk
<nch> usually /nʃ/ brainch, clinch, dunch, hainch, inch, French
<tch> usually /ʧ/ fleetch, wratch
<dge> usually /ʤ/ begrudge, cadge, cruldge, fadge
<g(e)> occasionally /ʤ/ breinge, gigot
<gn> initial /gn/ gnap, gnaw
<kn> initial /kn/ knap, knee, knot, knowe
<ld> usually /l/ auld, bield, cauld, elder, fauld
<nd> usually /n/ baund, daunder, haund, find, sindry
<ng> usually /ŋ/ finger, hing, ingan, single
<nk> usually /ŋk/ bink, hank
<qu> usually /kw/ acquent, quair, queen
<sh> usually /ʃ/ creash, sheep
<sh> occasionally /ʒ/ fushion, pushion
<th> usually /θ/ graith, thole, thrawn
<th> usually /ð/2Medially often /d/ before <er>, especially in Buchan. blether, thaim, thair
<wh> usually /f/3The Pronunciation /w/ may occur in some words. wha, whan, wheech, wheel
<wr> initial often /vr/ wrack, wrang, wricht, write

Vowels and Diphthongs

vowels unstressed /ə/ aboot, the, oxter, duntit, bannock, smeddum
<a> initial in /ə/ ahint, awa etc.
<a> usually /a/ aff, lang, mak, wash, watch
<a> final in /a:/ awa, twa, wha
<au> usually /a:/4In Buchan fishing villages /ɔ/ before <m>, <n> and <ng>. auld, haud, haund, saul, saund, slauchter
<aw> usually final /a:/5In Buchan, in words without Standard English cognates in <-al(l)>, the <w> may be pronounced /v/, often having /j/ before the preceding vowel, giving [ja:v] (awe), [bl(j)a:v] (blaw), [gnja:v] (gnaw), [lja:v] (law) and [snja:v] (snaw) etc. aw, blaw, caw, draw, faw, gaw, gnaw, haw, slaw, snaw, staw
<aw> occasional /a:/ awn, awfu, bawbee, bawsant
<ai> initial and medial /e/6In some areas the pronunciation /əi/ occurs, usually after /w/ and a dark /l/. This may also occur after other consonants e.g. waik and wait etc., 7A /k/ before <ae, aCe, ai> often produces a yod-gilde + /a/, /kja/ in words like caird, cake and curn. Similarly with <naC-> /nja/ in words like naig, nakit and naiter. aiblins, aik, aiple, ait, aith, braid, craitur, fain, gaither, graith, haimer, laim
<aCe> C=consonant /e/6In some areas the pronunciation /əi/ occurs, usually after /w/ and a dark /l/. This may also occur after other consonants e.g. claes, gape, plate, wade, wale and wame etc., 7A /k/ before <ae, aCe, ai> often produces a yod-gilde + /a/, /kja/ in words like caird, cake and curn. Similarly with <naC-> /nja/ in words like naig, nakit and naiter. ale, face, gate, hame, Pace
<ane> usually /i/8Moray and Nairn usually have /e/. alane, ane, ance, bane, gane, mane, nane, stane
<ae> usually /e/ ae, brae, f(r)ae, gae, sae, tae n., wae
<ae> except in /i/ adae, dae, shae, tae v.
<ay> usually /e/ day, gray, lay
<ea> usually /i/6In some areas the pronunciation /əi/ occurs, usually after /w/ and a dark /l/. This may also occur after other consonants e.g. great, quean, speak, squeal, weave, and wheat etc. Before /k/ the pronunciation /ɪ/ may occur e.g. speak., 9Some words may have /e/. Coastal dialects, Moray and Nairn usually have /e/. Before /v/ and /z/ the pronunciation may be /əi/ or /ɪ/ in reason and season. beast, cheap, deave, east, heap, hear, meat, ream, sea, tea
<ee> usually /i/6In some areas the pronunciation /əi/ occurs, usually after /w/ and a dark /l/. This may also occur after other consonants e.g. cheenge, heeze and swee etc. Before /k/ the pronunciation /ɪ/ may occur e.g. week. dee, dree, eetem, freet, jeely, keep, meet, teeth, weel, weet
<ei> usually /i/6Some words may have /e/. In some areas the pronunciation /əi/ occurs, usually after /w/ and a dark /l/. This may also occur after other consonants e.g. seiven and sweit etc., 9Some words may have /e/. Before /v/ and /z/ the pronunciation may be /əi/ or /ɪ/ in heiven and seiven. beir, deid, heid, meidae, peir, spreid, teir, threid
<ei,
ie>
usually /i/ bield, chield, eild, scrieve, shielin
<ei> before /x/ /i/ dreich, heich, skeich
<e> usually /ɛ/10In coastal villages /ei/ may occur. bed, ebb, esh, fecht, gled, gless, seck, wecht
<i> usually /ɪ/11Initial /k/ may be pronounced /kw/ as in kintra [kwɪntrə]. drink, in, inch, licht, lift, pit, rin, simmer, sin, stibble
<i> after <w> and <wh> often /ʌ/ whin, whisper, whit, wid, wind, wir, wird, wirm, wittins
<o(a)> usually /ɔ/12The pronunciation /o/ may also occur. Away from Aberdeen <o> (/ɔ/) and <oa> (/o/) may be distinguished. boat, boss, box, coal6In some areas the pronunciation /əi/ occurs, usually after /w/ and a dark /l/. This may also occur after other consonants e.g. coal and coat etc., cod, common, dochter, hoast, loch, on, rock, thocht
<oo> usually /u/ aboot, coont, droop, hoose, moose, oot, scoor, soond
<ou> usually /u/11Initial /k/ may be pronounced /kw/ in coud [kwɪd]. Compare <ui> after /g/ and /k/ below. allou, bouk, broun, coum, cour, doun, dout, poupit, thoum
<uCe> C=Consonant /u/ dule, hure
<u> usually /ʌ/ bund, burn, drunken, fund, grund, truff, unce, wund
<ui> usually /i/13In Moray and Nairn before /r/ the pronunciation is usually /(j)u:/. abuin, abuise, bluid, bruit, buird, duin, fluir, fruit, fuird, luim, luif, muin, muir, muisic, ruise, shuir, spuin, uiss, uise, Yuil
<ui> after /g/ and /k/ /wi/ cuil, cuit, guid, schuil
<eu> usually /ju/ beuch, beuk, eneuch, heuk, leuch, leuk, neuk, sheuch, teuch, teug
<ew> usually /jʌu/14Also in words like beauty and duty. dew, few, new, spew
<iCe,
yCe>
C=consonant /əi/15In Buchan /ɔi/ may occur. advice, bide, byle, fine, fire ile, rive, tyne, wice, wyte
<(e)y(e)> usually /əi/ cry, eyntment, eyster, fley, kye
<oi, oy> usually /oi/ Boid, foy, noise, ploy
<ow> initial and medial /ʌu/16Before /k/, /jo/ may occur. bowt, cowp, cowt, gowd, gowf, lowp, owsen
<owe> final /ʌu/ flowe, glowe, growe, howe, knowe, lowe, rowe, towe

Suffixes

<ae> usually /ə/17The pronunciation /e/ also occurs. Americae, arrae, barrae, nairae, swallae, windae
<ie> diminutive /i/18If the preceding vowel is /i/ or /əi/, or the preceding consonant is /b, d, ð, g, v, ʒ/ or /z/, the pronunciation is /i/, otherwise /ɪ/. grannie, laddie, lassie, shappie, wifie
<fu> usually /fɛ/19The pronunciation /fe/ also occurs. awfu, carefu, mensefu
<na> negative /nə/ daena (dinna), haesna, maunna, winna, wisna,
<y, ie> adverbial and adjectival /i/18If the preceding vowel is /i/ or /əi/, or the preceding consonant is /b, d, ð, g, v, ʒ/ or /z/, the pronunciation is /i/, otherwise /ɪ/. reekie, sairy, stany, stourie
<ly> adverbial /li/18If the preceding vowel is /i/ or /əi/, or the preceding consonant is /b, d, ð, g, v, ʒ/ or /z/, the pronunciation is /li/, otherwise /lɪ/. brawly, feckly, fully, geyly, likely, uncoly

  1. Medial and final <cht> is sometimes pronounced /θ/ in words like dochter, micht and nocht etc.
  2. Medially often /d/ before <er>, especially in Buchan.
  3. The Pronunciation /w/ may occur in some words.
  4. In Buchan fishing villages /ɔ/ before <m>, <n> and <ng>.
  5. In Buchan, in words without Standard English cognates in <-al(l)>, the <w> may be pronounced /v/, often having /j/ before the preceding vowel, giving [ja:v] (awe), [bl(j)a:v] (blaw), [gnja:v] (gnaw), [lja:v] (law) and [snja:v] (snaw) etc.
  6. In some areas the pronunciation /əi/ occurs, usually after /w/ and a dark /l/. This may also occur after other consonants e.g. cheenge, claes, coal11, coat11, gape, great, heeze, plate, quean, seiven, speak, squeal, swee, sweit, wade, waik, wait, wale, wame, weave, and wheat etc. Before /k/ the pronunciation /ɪ/ may occur e.g. speak and week.
  7. A /k/ before <ae, aCe, ai> often produces a yod-gilde + /a/, /kja/ in words like caird, cake and curn. Similarly with <naC-> /nja/ in words like naig, nakit and naiter.
  8. Moray and Nairn usually have /e/.
  9. Some words may have /e/. Coastal dialects, Moray and Nairn usually have /e/ for <ea>. Before /v/ and /z/ the pronunciation may be /əi/ or /ɪ/ in heiven, reason, season and seiven.
  10. In coastal villages /ei/ may occur.
  11. Initial /k/ may be pronounced /kw/ as in kintra [kwɪntrə], coal [kwəil]6, coat [kwəit]6 and coud [kwɪd]. Compare <ui> after /g/ and /k/.
  12. The pronunciation /o/ may also occur. Away from Aberdeen <o> (/ɔ/) and <oa> (/o/) may be distinguished.
  13. In Moray and Nairn before /r/ the pronunciation is usually /(j)u:/.
  14. Also in words like beauty and duty.
  15. In Buchan /ɔi/ may occur.
  16. Before /k/, /jo/ may occur.
  17. The pronunciation /e/ also occurs.
  18. If the preceding vowel is /i/ or /əi/, or the preceding consonant is /b, d, ð, g, v, ʒ/ or /z/, the pronunciation is /i/, otherwise /ɪ/.
  19. The pronunciation /fe/ also occurs.

In phrases beginning with in the, on the, at the and o the, the two words are contracted into 'ee' [i:] .

Thae and thir are replaced by the plural use of this and that.
The <th> is often elided in words like this and that, especially in Buchan.

The preposition 'gin is also used to mean 'by the time that' - 'Gin we get thare it'll be daurk!

Doric is a mailing list for discussion and debate in and on the Scots Language and the Doric Dialect, especially as used in the North East of Scotland.

Literature:

Dieth, Eugen (1932) A Grammar of the Buchan Dialect, Cambridge University Press.
Wölck, Wolfgang (1965) Phonematische Analyse der Sprache von Buchan, Heidelberg: Winter.
Mather, James Y. and H. H. Speitel (1986) The Linguistic Atlas of Scotland volume 3, London: Croom Helm.
Johnston, Paul (1997) "Regional variation" in Charles Jones ed. The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, Edinburgh University Press, 443-513.

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