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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. For more detail see Orthography.

A final <d> may be /t/ in words like cupbuird and orchard, and /ʤ/ in words like curmud, daud and fud.

A final <f> may be /v/ in a few words such as cauf, staff and sheaf.

Medial <d> may be /ð/ in a few words such as ledder, pouder, shouder and sowder.

A final <t> may be /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 such as twilt [tolt], twin [ton] and twinty ['tunti].

A /j/ (<y>) before /i/ may be elided in words like year.

Medial and final <ch> is usually /x/ in words such as bocht, loch and nicht

Initial <ch> is usually /ʧ/ in words such as chap, chield, chirl and chowk

The cluster <nch> is usually /nʃ/ in words such as brainch, clinch, dunch, hainch, inch and French

The cluster <tch> is usually /ʧ/ in words such as fleetch and wratch.

The cluster <dge> is usually /ʤ/, after <n> it may be /ʒ/, in words such as begrudge, cadge, cruldge and fadge.

The graphemes <g> and <ge> are occasionally /ʤ/, after <n> it may be /ʒ/ in words such as breinge and gigot.

Medial and final <ld> are usually /ld/, however, to the west, simplifion to /l/ occurs finally and when the next word begins with a consonant, in words such as auld, bield, cauld, elder and fauld.

The cluster <nd> is usually /nd/, however, to the west, simplification to /n/ occurs in all positions, in words such as daunder, find, haund, saund and sindry.

The digraph <ng> is usually /ŋ/ in words such as finger, hing, ingan and single.

The digraph <nk> is usually /ŋk/ in words such as bink and hank.

The digraph <qu> is usually /kw/ in words such as acquent, quair and queen.

The digraph <sh> is usually /ʃ/ in words such as creash and sheep. Occasionally that is /ʒ/ in words such as fushion and pushion.

The digraph <th> is usually /θ/ in words such as graith, thole and thrawn and /ð/ in words such as blether, thaim and thair.

The digraph <wh> is usually /ʍ/, among older speakers /xw/, in words such as wha, whan, wheel and wheech. That may be pronounced /h/ in words like whurl and wheezle.

Vowels and Diphthongs

Vowels in unstressed positions are usually /ə/ in words such as aboot, the, oxter, duntit, bannock and smeddum.

Initial <a> is usually /ə/ in words such as ahint and awa etc.

The grapheme <a> is usually /a/, before /n(d)/ and /ŋ/ it may be /ɑ/, in words such as aff, lang, mak, wash and watch. In watter it may be /e/

Final <a> is usually /ɑ:/, sometimes /e/, in awa, twa and wha.

Initial and medial <au> is usually /ɑ:/ in words such as auld, haud, haund, saul, saund and slauchter.

Final <aw> is usually /ɑ:/ in words such as aw, blaw, caw, draw, faw, gaw, gnaw, haw, slaw, snaw and staw. That occasionally occurs word initial or medial in, for example, awn, awfu, bawbee and bawsant.

Initial and medial <ai> is usually /e/, but also /ɪə/ in some areas and before <ch> it may be /iu/ and after /h/ it may be /(h)jɪ/, in words such as aith, aiple, braid, craitur, daich, fain, gaither, graith, haimer, hairse, laich and laim.

Final <ae> is usually /e/ in words such as brae, frae, gae, sae, tae n. and wae. The <fr> in frae is often /θ/.

The cluster <a-e> is usually /e/, /ɪə/ may occur in some areas and after /h/ it may be /(h)jɪ/, in words such as face, gate, hale, hame and Pace.

Initial <ai> and <ae> is usually /je/, also /jɛ/ in Teviotdale, in ae, aik, ait and aith, /jɪ/ in aiblins and ale, and for <a-e> in ane and ance. Final <ae> is /ø/, also /ɵ/ or /œ/ in adae, dae, shae, tae v. Those may also take the South East Central Scots pronunciation.

The digraph <ea> is usually /i/, also /e/, particularly before /t/ and /θ/, in words such as east, cheap, deave, east, heap, hear, meat and ream.

The digraph <ee> is usually /i/ in words such as eetem, freet, jeely, keep, meet, teeth, weel and weet. Root final <ee> is usually /əi/ in words such as dee, dree, free, knee and see. Also for root final <ea> in sea and tea.

The digraph <ei> is usually /i/, it may also be /e/, particularly before /t/ and /θ/, in words such beir, deid, heid, meidae, peir, spreid, teir, threid. Before /x/, <ei> is /i/ in words such as dreich, heich and skeich.

The digraph <ie> is usually /i/ in words such as bield, chield, scrieve and shielin.

The grapheme <e> is usually /ɛ/ or /æ/ in words such as bed, ebb, esh, fecht, gled, gless, seck and wecht.

The grapheme <i> is usually /ɪ/, before /g/,/ŋ/ and /x/ it may be /əi/, in North Roxburghshire it may be /ɛ/, in words such as drink, in, inch, licht, lift, pit, rin, simmer, sin and stibble. After /w/ and /ʍ/, <i>, is often /ʌ/ in words such as whin, whisper, whit, wid, wind, wir, wird, wirm and wittins.

The graphemes <o> and <oa> are usually /ɔ/ in words such as boat, boss, box, coal, cod, common, hoast, on and rock. Initial <o> may be /wʌ/ in words such as open, orchard, ort and even hope. it may be /uə/ in words such as coal.

The cluster <och> is often /ʌux/ in words such as dochter and thocht.

The digraph <oo> is usually /u/ in words such as aboot, coont, droop, hoose, moose, oot, scoor and soond. However, root final that is /ʌu/ in words such as oo.

The digraph <ou> is usually /u/ in words such as broun, bouk, coum, cour, doun, dout, poupit and thoum. However, root final that is /ʌu/ in words such as allou, brou cou, dou, fou, hou, nou, sou and you.

The cluster <u-e> is usually /u/ in words such as dule and hure.

The cluster <u> is usually /ʌ/ in words such as bund, burn, drunken, fund, grund, truff, unce and wund.

The digraph <ui> is usually /ø/, /ɵ/ or /œ/, in words such as abuin, abuise, bluid, bruit, buird, cuil, cuit, duin, fluir, fruit, fuird, guid, luif, luim, muin, muir, muisic, ruise, schuil, shuir, spuin, uise, uiss and Yuil. Those may also take the South East Central Scots pronunciations.

The digraph <eu> is usually /jʌ/, /ɵ/ or /iu/, in words such as beuch, beuk, eneuch, heuk, leuch, leuk, neuk, sheuch, teuch and teug.

The digraph <ew> is usually /ju/ in words such as dew, few, new and spew.

The clusters <i-e> and <y-e> are ususally /əi/, in long environments that may be /aɪ/, in words such as advice, bide, byle, fine, fire, ile, rive, tyne, wice and wyte.

The digraphs <ey> and <ye> are usually /əi/, in long environments that may be /aɪ/, in words such as cry, eyntment, eyster, fley and kye.

The digraphs <oi> and <oy> are usually /oi/ words such as Boid, foy, noise and ploy.

Initial and medial <ow> is usually /ʌu/ in words such as bowt, cowp, cowt, gowd, gowf, lowp and owsen. Root final that is <owe> in words such as flowe, glowe, growe, howe, knowe, lowe, rowe and towe.

Suffixes

Strictly speaking not a suffix, <ae> is usually /ɛ/ in words such as Americae, airae, barrae, nairae, swallae and windae.

Diminutive <ie> is usually /ɪ/ in words such as grannie, laddie, lassie, shappie and wifie.

Adjectival <fu> is usually /fɛ/ or /fɪ/ in words such as awfu, carefu and mensefu.

The negative particle <na> is usually /nɛ/ in words such as daena (dinna), haesna, maunna, winna and wisna.

Adverbial and adjectival <y> and <ie> is usually /ɪ/ or /ɪe/ in words such as reekie, sairy, stany and stourie.

Adverbial <ly> is usually /lɪ/ or /lɪe/ inwords such as brawly, feckly, fully, geyly, likely and uncoly.

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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