Wir Ain Leed — Wir Ain Leed - Dundee Scots

© 1996 - 2024

Wir Ain Leed — Wir Ain Leed - Dundee Scots

Like other urban dialects Dundonian also suffers from a loss of much traditional agricultural and countryside vocabulary. Dundee lies just inside the South Northern dialect 'border' subsequently the pronunciation of Dundee Scots shares some features with North East Central Scots.

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

Words that traditionally have Medial and Final <ch> /x/ now generally take the pronunciation of their Standard English cognates i.e. bought (bocht), draught (draucht), enough (eneuch), laugh (lauch), night (nicht), right (richt), rough (roch), sight (sicht) and tight (ticht) etc. /x/ remains in words with no Standard English cognates like loch.

Initial <wh> is pronounced /ʍ/ in common with North East Central Scots.

The initial <th> in words like thing, naething and think is often pronounced /h/.

His is often rendered [(h)iːz].

Vowels and diphthongs are usually similar to those of the surrounding dialects but note the following:

A final glide /-(j)əl/ or epenthetic vowel may occur in words like spile, bile, birl and [eːm] airm etc.

<a>, <au> and <aw> have the northern pronunciation /a/ e.g.
aff, alang, crabbit, drap, shak, tak, tap, twa, awa, wha, faw, awbody, baw, waw, awfu, blaw, braw and chaw etc.

<ai> and <a(consonant)e> are usually pronounced /e/ but /ɛ/ may occur before/r/ and in some words like gaither, jaiket, maiter and skail.

<ea> is usually /e/ in words like beast, cheap, cheat, fear, leave, neat and seat etc.

<ei> is usually /e/ in words like deif, heid, leid (metal), reid and seiven etc.

<ie> is usually /i/ in words like gie, hie and piece etc.

<i> is usually /ɪ/ but /ʌ/ also occurs i.e. brither, cliver, finger, girn, hing, iver, wir and wis etc. with /ɪ/ but birl, fit, lift, lip, whit and will etc. with /ʌ/.

The well-known Dundee marker is the pronunciation /ɛ/ in words like ay, by, buy, cry, diary, drive, five, forby, fry, pie, size, sky and tie etc. This also occurs where Standard English cognates have replaced the Scots words i.e. eye (ee), I (A), lie (lee) and my (ma) etc.

The <ui> generally takes the pronunciation /e/ but is often /u/ before <v>, <th> and <z> in words like buith (booth), muive (move), suithe (sooth), ruise, and in many common words with Standard English cognates.
Note daena (dinna), didna, juist and tae (to) with /ɪ/.

In words with Standard English cognates the <eu> is usually pronounced /u/ i.e. beuk (book), heuk (hook), leuk (look) and teuk (took) etc. in particularly Scots words e.g. speugie /ju/ may also occur.

Glottal stops are often seen as the hallmark of urban Scots dialects especially for final /t/ and /k/ and medial /t/ in words like bat, night, bottle, watter and back.

Adverbial and adjectival <(l)y> varies between /e/ and /i/. Similarly with final <-(a)e> in words like borrae, nairae, orra, swallae and windae etc. <-fu> is /fi/ e.g. awfu.

The negative <-na> is /na/ e.g. canna, daena (dinna), didna, isna, needna and winna etc.

The past tense <-it> is usually /ɪt/ e.g. barkit, crabbit, dytit, glaikit, hackit, hallockit, nakit, pentit and sleekit etc. but final <-t> e.g. clypt etc. may also be /d/ e.g. couart and drount etc.


McCluskey, Mick (1990) Dundonian for Beginners, Edinburgh: Mainstream.