Wir Ain Leed

North Northern Scots

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North Northern Scots

Consonants

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

In Avoch and Cromarty initial <h> may be elided, wrong insertion of /h/ may also occur.

For more detail see Orthography.

Scots Spellings Pronunciationin words like:
 
<ch> medial and final /x/ bocht, loch, nicht
<ch> initial often /ʃ/ chap, chield, chirl, chowk
<nch> usually /nʃ/ brainch, clinch, dunch, hainch, inch, French
<tch> usually /ʧ/ fleetch, wratch
<k, ck> final often /g/1This is usual in Caithness. bannock, hillock, lassieock
<dge> usually /ʤ/ begrudge, cadge, cruldge, fadge
<g> usually /ʤ/2In Caithness initial /ʧ/ may occur. breinge, gigot
<g> occasionally /ʧ/ gigot, gin
<gn> Initial /gn/ gnap, gnaw
<j> Initial /ʧ/ Jean, jeely, jyle
<kn> Initial /n/3In Caithness /kn/ may occur. In the Black Isle and Easter Ross /kr/ may occur. knap, knee, knot, knowe
<ld> final when the next word begins with a consonant /l/ auld, bield, cauld, fauld
<ld> otherwise /ld/ elder
<nd> usually /n/ baund, daunder, find, haund, 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
<t> final often /d/ droukit, it, mairit, semmit
<th> usually /θ/ graith, thole, thrawn
<th> usually /ð/4Initial <th> may be omitted in words like the, thair, thare, thee and thoo. blether, thaim, thair
<wh> usually /f/5In Cromarty /w/ prevails. It may occur in some words in other areas. In the Black Isle and Easter Ross <wh> may be omitted or replaced by /h/ in words like wha, whan, whase and whit. wha, whan, wheech, wheel
<wr> often initial /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/6In the Black Isle and Easter Ross /əi/ may occur before <n> and <ng>. aff, lang, mak, wash, watch
<a> final in /a:/ awa, twa, wha
<au> usually /a:/7Also /ɑ/ before <l>, <n>, <r> and <ch> /x/. In Caithness the cluster <auld> may be pronounced /ʌul(d)/. auld, haud, haund, saul, saund, slauchter
<aw> usually final /a:/ aw, blaw, caw, draw, faw, gaw, gnaw, haw, slaw, snaw, staw
<aw> occaisional /a:/ awn, awfu, bawbee, bawsant
<ai> initial and medial /əi/8The pronunciation /e/ is becoming predominant. aiblins, aik, aiple, ait, aith, braid, craitur, fain, gaither, graith, haimer, laim
<aCe> C=consonant /əi/8The pronunciation /e/ is becoming predominant. alane, ale, ane, ance, bane, face, gane, gate, hame, mane, nane, stane, Pace
<ae> usually /e/ ae, brae, f(r)ae , gae, sae, tae n., wae
<ae> except in /i/ adae, dae, shae, tae v.
<ae> except in /əi/8The pronunciation /e/ is becoming predominant. claes
<ay> usually /e/ day, gray, lay
<ea> usually /əi/8The pronunciation /e/ is becoming predominant. beast, cheap, deave, east, heap, hear, meat, ream, sea, tea
<ee> usually /i/ dee, dree, eetem, freet, jeely, keep, meet, teeth, weel, weet
<ei> usually /əi/8The pronunciation /e/ is becoming predominant. beir, deid, heid, meidae, peir, spreid, teir, threid
<ie,
ei>
usually /i/ bield, chield, eild, scrieve, shielin
<ei> before /x/ /i/ dreich, heich, skeich
<e> usually /ɛ/ bed, ebb, esh, fecht, gled, gless, seck, wecht
<i> usually /ɛ/9In the Black Isle and Easter Ross before /g/ and /x/ the pronunciation /əi/ may occur in words like big, nicht, pig and sicht. drink, in, inch, licht, lift, pit, rin, simmer, sin, stibble, whin, whisper, whit, wid, wind, wir, wird, wirm, wittins
<o(a)> usually /o/ boat, boss, box, coal, cod, common, dochter, hoast, loch, on, rock, thocht
<oo> usually /y/ aboot, coont, droop, hoose, moose, oot, scoor, soond
<ou> usually /y/ allou, bouk, broun, coum, cour, doun, dout, poupit, thoum
<uCe> usually /y/ dule, hure
<u> usually /ʌ/ bund, burn, drunken, fund, grund, truff, unce, wund
<ui> usually /i/10The pronunciation /ø/ or /y/ may occur in daes (dis), daesna (disna) and daena (dinna). abuin, abuise, bluid, bruit, cuil, cuit, duin, fruit, guid, luif, luim, muin, muisic, ruise, schuil, spuin, uise, uiss, Yuil
<ui> before <r> /ju:/ buird, fluir, fuird, muir, shuir
<eu> usually /ju/11The pronunciation /jɔ/ may occur in words like eneuch. beuch, beuk, eneuch, heuk, leuch, leuk, neuk, sheuch, teuch, teug
<ew> usually /jy/ dew, few, new, spew
<iCe,
yCe>
C=consonant /əi/12The pronunciation /oi/ may occur in words like bide, byke, line and pipe. 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/ bowt, cowp, cowt, gowd, gowf, lowp, owsen
<owe> final /ʌu/ flowe, glowe, growe, howe, knowe, lowe, rowe, towe

Suffixes

<ae> usually /ə/ Americae, airae, barrae, nairae, swallae, windae
<ie> diminutive /i/13If 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
<ock> diminutive /əg/ bannock, hillock, lassieock
<fu> usually /fɛ/ awfu, carefu, mensefu
<na> negative /nə/ daena (dinna), haesna, maunna, winna, wisna
<t,
it>
verbal endings /t/
/ɪt/
14In Caithness the pronunciations are /d/ and /əd/. This also occurs as /ɪd/ for final <et> in worlds like lempet and packet.

scunnert, selt, telt
duntit, skelpit

<y,
ie>

adverbial and adjectival /i/13If 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/13If 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. This is usual in Caithness.
  2. In Caithness initial /ʧ/ may occur.
  3. In Caithness /kn/ may occur. In the Black Isle and Easter Ross /kr/ may occur.
  4. Initial <th> may be omitted in words like the, thair, thare, thee and thoo.
  5. In Cromarty /w/ prevails. It may occur in some words in other areas. In the Black Isle and Easter Ross <wh> may be omitted or replaced by /h/ in words like wha, whan, whase and whit.
  6. In the Black Isle and Easter Ross /əi/ may occur before <n> and <ng>.
  7. Also /ɑ/ before <l>, <n>, <r> and <ch> /x/. In Caithness the cluster <auld> may be pronounced /ʌul(d)/.
  8. The pronunciation /e/ is becoming predominant.
  9. In the Black Isle and Easter Ross before /g/ and /x/ the pronunciation /əi/ may occur in words like big, nicht, pig and sicht.
  10. The pronunciation /ø/ or /y/ may occur in daes (dis), daesna (disna) and daena (dinna).
  11. The pronunciation /jɔ/ may occur in words like eneuch.
  12. The pronunciation /oi/ may occur in words like bide, byke, line and pipe.
  13. 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/.
  14. In Caithness the pronunciations are /d/ and /əd/. This also occurs as /ɪd/ for final <et> in worlds like lempet and packet.

Initial <th> is often silent in pronominals like the, thay, thare etc. and this and that.
Thae and thir are replaced by the plural use of this and that.

Older speakers still differentiate the present participle and the gerund (verbal noun). In older Scots the present participle was written <and> /an(d)/and the gerund <ing> /ɪn/. Those pronunciations are still used.

Present Participle:  He wis aye stravaigan aboot.
He was always roaming around.
Gerund:  He's fond o stravaigin aboot.
He likes roaming around.

The diminutive suffix <ock> when pronounced /əg/ and may be written <ag>: The wee bairnag - The small child.

Literature:

Mather, James (1978) "The dialect of Caithness", Scottish Literary Journal Supplement 6, 1-16.
Nicolson, D. B. (1907) "Dialect" in J. Horne ed. The County of Caithness, Wick: W. Rae, 60-68.
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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