Wir Ain Leed — Glasgow Scots

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Wir Ain Leed — Glasgow Scots

Fondly known as 'the Patter', Glaswegian is spoken in the city itself and well established in the surrounding towns such as Clydebank, Paisley, Renfrew and Rutherglen, and increasingly gaining influence around the Firth of Clyde in Cambeltown, Dumbarton, Gourock, Greenock and Rothesay. An east Lanarkshire variety is spoken in Airdrie, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Denny, Motherwell, Strathaven and Wishaw. An Ayrshire variety is spoken in Carstairs, Irvine, Kilmarnock, Leadhills and Prestwick.

Like all urban dialects Glaswegian suffers from a loss of much particularly Scots vocabulary, though very innovative at coining new terms e.g. boggin, malkie, stotter, bampot and heidbanger, many becoming quite widespread.The pronunciation of Glasgow Scots is essentially West 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 but pronunciations with /k/ are spreading.

Initial <wh> /ʍ/ is still widespread but is increasingly being replaced by /w/ in words like whales and wheel etc.

The letter <t> often becomes /r/ across words e.g. let it [lɛrɪʔ].

The initial <th> in words like thing, naething and think is often pronounced /h/.
The <thr> is often /r/ in words like three.
Medial <th> rendered as /r/ is occasionally encountered in words like brother [brʌrʌ], [brʌ] (brither) and mother [mʌrʌ] (mither).

The is often rendered [rə] as in "we are ra people".

Vowels and diphthongs are generally pronounced the same as West Central Scots.

In words like fluir, hair, rare and stair etc. the /eː/ is often pronounced /ɛː/ before /r/.

The <ui> generally takes the Central Scots pronunciation but /u/ or even /y/ is usual before <v>, <th> and <z> in words like buith (booth), muive (move), suithe (sooth), ruise (roose), and in many common words with Standard English cognates.

In words with Standard English cognates the <eu> is usually pronounced /u/ or even /y/ i.e. beuk (book), heuk (hook), leuk (look) and teuk (took) etc.

In many words of Latin origin the pronunciation /i/ has been replaced by the Standard English pronunciation e.g. bapteese (baptise), obleege (oblige), ceevil (civil), oreeginal (original), eetem (item), peety (pity) and leeberal (liberal) etc.

An epenthetic vowel /ʌ/ is often inserted before the final /r/ in words like girl, airm, film and torn.

The vowel in reid, seiven, heiven, niver and iver is usually /ɪ/ or /ɛ/.

The final <a(e)> in words like barrae, fellae, morra and tobbacca is pronounced /ʌ/.
The negative suffix <-na> in words like canna and daena (dinna) etc. is usually pronounced /nə/ though /ne/ is spreading from the east.

The diphthong /ʌu/ before /k/ is usually vocalised to /o/ e.g. bowk (boak), fowk (folk) and yowk (yolk) etc.

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.


Macafee, Caroline (1983) Varieties of English Around the World: Glasgow, Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Hagan, Anette I. (2002) Urban Scots Dialect Writing, Bern: Lang.