The Scottish Corpus (which I blogged here) has all sorts of good stuff, and a correspondent sent me a link to a long document, “Conversation 14: Two male students on university life,” with accompanying video that can be accessed by the speaker link (third from the right at the bottom). The neat thing is that the transcript of the conversation moves down to keep pace with the video, so you can watch, listen, and read without any effort. I think I’m sort of getting a handle on what happens to the vowels in the dialect, and as a bonus there’s an interesting discussion of attempted gentrification in Glasgow and Edinburgh. And I was amused to see that one of the students had gone to a suburb of Glasgow called Rutherglen and been corrected by the locals when he said (as I would have, knowing what I do of Scots accentuation) “ruther-GLEN”—apparently it’s RUTH-ergl(e)n, with a barely perceptible final e. Good to know it’s not only clueless foreigners who get these things wrong. (Thanks for the link, Lynsey!)


  1. Thanks for this. I wonder if the corpus people will consider putting in some kind of explanatory notes for the benefit of researchers who aren’t young working-class Scots. Obviously the corpus is there for the language and not for the conversations themselves, but I imagine that a bit of context (Porty=Portobello, for instance) wouldn’t go amiss for some researchers.
    Amusingly, you can see in the information section that one of the participants has said he uses Scots normally and English only in formal settings, which must be nonsense. Their conversation was surely in English with a Scottish accent, not actual Scots. Can’t miss an opportunity for petty nationalism though!

  2. On non-preview: The discussion of sectarianism (“Orange”: the Orange Order, a Protestant fraternal organisation; “Celtic”: the Catholic football team) was interesting. Minor point: the transcription’s not 100% perfect – for example, it’s Newcraighall not New Craighall.

  3. Cum grano salis says

    Must always keep them ther ferreigners out of our hair, ’tis the only way to keep the patch clean of weeds. The natives luv sore thums that stick out, when it comes to making a living.

  4. Just to clarify, the guy who is listed as using Scots normally and proper English in formal settings is my boyfriend and he wasn’t the one who decided which he used; it was judged by the researchers. His vocabulary is full of a treasure trove of Scots words (he has family from all round the country and so tends to use words and phrases from a few different areas) and he will usually say ken etc. instead of the formal English. However, when in a formal setting there is a perceptible change in the way he speaks and basically all of the Scots words disappear.

  5. Just wondering – is Aloysius Bear cofusing Scots with Gaelic? Lots of people think “Scots” is “English with a Scottish accent”… I can’t at the moment watch the video so I can’t judge.

  6. No, I know the difference between Scots and Gaelic. The SCOTS project says it collects samples of both Scots and Scottish English, and the spectrum in between. The guys in the video are talking English with a Scottish accent (‘Scottish English’?) with a fair number of dialect words. But surely you can’t call yourself a Scots-speaker if you just speak English with a Scottish accent and use a few Scots words here and there (ken, aye, etc).

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