Wir Ain Leed

Southern Scots

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Southern Scots

Southern Scots or Border Scots as it is also known - apart for a stretch of land between Carlisle an Gretna where the Cumbrian and Scots dialect mix - is substantially different from the dialects of English spoken south of the Border. Beat Glauser's research into the dialects on both sides of the border pointed out that the linguistic and political borders were practically identical. Southern Scots is also known as the 'yowe and mey' dialect ('you and me').

Consonants

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

A final <d> may be pronounced /t/ in words like cupbuird and orchard, and /ʤ/ in words like curmud, daud and fud.
<f> may be pronounced /v/ in a few words such as cauf, staff and sheaf.
<d> may be pronounced /ð/ in a few words such as ledder, pouder, shouder and sowder.
A final <t> may be pronounced /d/ after <l>, <m>, <n>, <ng> or a vowel in a monosyllable e.g. telt and selt.
The <w> in the cluster <tw> may be vocalised in words like twilt, twin and twinty giving [tolt], [ton] and ['tunti].
A /j/ (<y>) before /i/ may be elided in words like year.

For more detail see Orthography.

Scots Spellings Pronunciation in words like:
    IPA  
<ch> medial and final /x/ 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/1This may be pronounced /ʒ/ after <n>. begrudge, cadge, cruldge, fadge
<g> occasionally /ʤ/1This may be pronounced /ʒ/ after <n>. breinge, gigot
<ld> medial and final /ld/2To the west simplification of <ld> to /l/ occurs finally and when the next word begins with a consonant. auld, bield, cauld, elder, fauld
<nd> usually /nd/3To the west simplification of <nd> to /n/ occurs in all positions. daunder, find, haund, saund, 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/ blether, thaim, thair
<wh> usually /ʍ/4Some older speakers pronounce <wh> /xw/. It may be pronounced /h/ in words like whurl and wheezle. wha, whan, wheel, wheech

Vowels and Diphthongs

vowels unstressed /ə/ aboot, the, oxter, duntit, bannock, smeddum
<a> initial in /ə/ ahint, awa etc.
<a> usually /a/5The pronunciation may also be /ɑ/, especially before /n(d)/ and /ŋ/. /e/ may occur in watter. aff, lang, mak, wash, watch
<a> final in /ɑ:/6/e/ may also occur. awa, twa, wha
<au> usually /ɑ:/ auld, haud, haund, saul, saund, slauchter
<aw> usually final /ɑ:/ aw, blaw, caw, draw, faw, gaw, gnaw, haw, slaw, snaw, staw
<aw> occasionally /ɑ:/ awn, awfu, bawbee, bawsant
<ai> initial and medial /e/7The older /ɪə/ may occur in some areas. aith, aiple, braid, craitur, fain, gaither, graith, haimer, laim
<ae> usually /e/ brae, frae8The <f> in frae is often pronounced /θ/., gae, sae, tae n., wae
<aCe> C=consonant /e/7The older /ɪə/ may occur in some areas. <ai> before <ch> may be /iu/ as in daich and laich. face, gate, hame9Initial /h/ before /e/ is often pronounced /(h)jɪ/ in words like hame, hale and hairse., Pace
<ai, ae> Initial in /je/10In Teviotdale /jɛ/ occurs. ae, aik, ait, aith
<ai, aCe>
except in /jɪ/ aiblins, ale, ane, ance
<ae> except in /ø/11The pronunciation /ɵ/ or /œ/ also occurs, including daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna). This is subject to the Scots Vowel Length Rule.
The South East Central Scots pronunciation of the <ui> spelling are now very prevelant in this dialect.
Scots Spellings Pronunciation in words like:
    IPA  
<a> final in /e:/ dae, shae, tae v.
<ui> initial short /jɪ/ uiss
<ui> medial short /ɪ/ abuin, bluid, bruit, duin, fruit, luif, luim, muin, spuin, Yuil
<ui> initial long /je:/ uise
<ui> medial long /e:/ abuise, buird, fuird, fluir, muir, muisic, ruise, shuir
<ae> medial in /ɪ/ daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna)
adae, dae, shae, tae v.
<ay> usually /e/ day, gray, lay
<ea> usually /i/12The pronunciation /e/ may occur in some words, particularly before /t/ and /θ/. beast, cheap, deave, east, heap, hear, meat, ream
<ee> usually /i/ eetem, freet, jeely, keep, meet, teeth, weel, weet
<ee, ea> final /əi/ dee, dree, free, knee, sea, see, tea
<ei> usually /i/12The pronunciation /e/ may occur in some words, particularly before /t/ and /θ/. 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/13The pronunciation /æ/ also occurs. bed, ebb, esh, fecht, gled, gless, seck, wecht
<i> usually /ɪ/14Before /g/ and /ŋ/ and /x/, /əi/ may occur. The pronunciation /ɛ/ also occurs in North Roxburghshire. drink, in, inch, licht, lift, pit, rin, simmer, sin, stibble
<i> after /w/ and /ʍ/ often /ʌ/ whin, whisper, whit, wid, wind, wir, wird, wirm, wittins
<o(a)> usually /ɔ/15Initial <o> may be pronounced /wʌ/ in words like open, orchard, ort and even hope. In words like coal the older /uə/ may occur. boat, boss, box, coal, cod, common, hoast, on, rock
<och> often /ʌux/ dochter, thocht
<oo> usually /u/ aboot, coont, droop, hoose, moose, oot, scoor, soond
<ou> usually /u/ broun, bouk, coum, cour, doun, dout, poupit, thoum
<oo, ou> final /ʌu/ allou, brou, cou, dou, fou, hou, nou, oo, sou, you
<uCe> usually /u/ dule, hure
<u> usually /ʌ/ bund, burn, drunken, fund, grund, truff, unce, wund
<ui> usually /ø/11The pronunciation /ɵ/ or /œ/ also occurs, including daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna). This is subject to the Scots Vowel Length Rule.
The South East Central Scots pronunciation of the <ui> spelling are now very prevelant in this dialect.
Scots Spellings Pronunciation in words like:
    IPA  
<a> final in /e:/ dae, shae, tae v.
<ui> initial short /jɪ/ uiss
<ui> medial short /ɪ/ abuin, bluid, bruit, duin, fruit, luif, luim, muin, spuin, Yuil
<ui> initial long /je:/ uise
<ui> medial long /e:/ abuise, buird, fuird, fluir, muir, muisic, ruise, shuir
<ae> medial in /ɪ/ daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna)
abuin, abuise, bluid, bruit, buird, cuil, cuit, duin, fluir, fruit, fuird, guid, luif, luim, muin, muir, muisic, ruise, schuil, shuir, spuin, uise, uiss, Yuil
<eu> usually /jʌ/16The pronunciations /ɵ/ or /iu/ also occur. beuch, beuk, eneuch, heuk, leuch, leuk, neuk, sheuch, teuch, teug
<ew> usually /ju/ dew, few, new, spew
<iCe, yCe> C=consonant /əi/17/aɪ/ may occur in long positions. advice, bide, byle, fine, fire, ile, rive, tyne, wice, wyte
<(e)y(e)> usually /əi/17/aɪ/ may occur in long positions. 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 /ɛ/ Americae, airae, barrae, nairae, swallae, windae
<ie> diminutive /ɪ/ grannie, laddie, lassie, shappie, wifie
<fu> usually /fɛ/, /fɪ/ awfu, carefu, mensefu
<na> negative /nɛ/18The pronunciation /nɪ/ also occurs. daena (dinna), haesna, maunna, winna, wisna,
<y, ie> adverbial and adjectival /ɪ/19The pronunciation /ɪe/ also occurs. reekie, sairy, stany, stourie
<ly> adverbial /lɪ/20The pronunciation /lɪe/ also occurs. brawly, feckly, fully, geyly, likely, uncoly

Footnotes

  1. This may be pronounced /ʒ/ after <n>.
  2. To the west simplification of <ld> to /l/ occurs finally and when the next word begins with a consonant.
  3. To the west simplification of <nd> to /n/ occurs in all positions.
  4. Some older speakers pronounce wh /xw/. It may be pronounced /h/ in words like whurl and wheezle.
  5. The pronunciation may also be /ɑ/, especially before /n(d)/ and /ŋ/. /e/ may occur in watter.
  6. /e/ may also occur.
  7. The older /ɪə/ may occur in some areas. <ai> before <ch> may be /iu/ as in daich and laich.
  8. The <f> in frae is often pronounced /θ/.
  9. Initial /h/ before /e/ is often pronounced /(h)jɪ/ in words like hame, hale and hairse.
  10. In Teviotdale /jɛ/ occurs.
  11. The pronunciation /ɵ/ or /œ/ also occurs, including daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna). This is subject to the Scots Vowel Length Rule.
    The South East Central Scots pronunciation of the <ui> spelling are now very prevelant in this dialect.

    Scots Spellings Pronunciation in words like:
        IPA  
    <a> final in /e:/ dae, shae, tae v.
    <ui> initial short /jɪ/ uiss
    <ui> medial short /ɪ/ abuin, bluid, bruit, duin, fruit, luif, luim, muin, spuin, Yuil
    <ui> initial long /je:/ uise
    <ui> medial long /e:/ abuise, buird, fuird, fluir, muir, muisic, ruise, shuir
    <ae> medial in /ɪ/ daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna)

  12. The pronunciation /e/ may occur in some words, particularly before /t/ and /θ/.
  13. The pronunciation /æ/ also occurs.
  14. Before /g/ and /ŋ/ and /x/, /əi/ may occur. The pronunciation /ɛ/ also occurs in North Roxburghshire.
  15. Initial <o> may be pronounced /wʌ/ in words like open, orchard, ort and even hope. In words like coal the older /uə/ may occur.
  16. The pronunciations /ɵ/ or /iu/ also occur.
  17. The pronunciation /aɪ/ may occur in long positions.
  18. The pronunciation /nɪ/ also occurs.
  19. The pronunciation /ɪe/ also occurs.
  20. The pronunciation /lɪe/ also occurs.

Literature:

Glauser, Beat (1974) The Scottish-English Linguistic Border. Lexical Aspects, Bern: Francke.
Johnston, Paul (1997) "Regional variation" in Charles Jones ed. The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, Edinburgh University Press, 443-513.
Mather, James Y. and H. H. Speitel (1986) The Linguistic Atlas of Scotland volume 3, London: Croom Helm.
Murray, James (1870-72, 1873) The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland, London: Philological Society.
Watson, George (1923) The Roxburghshire Word-Book, Cambridge University Press.
Wettstein, P. (1942) The Phonology of a Berwickshire Dialect, Zurich: Bienne.
Zai, Rudolph (1942) The Phonology of the Morebattle Dialect, Lucerne: Ræber.

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