Academic journal article Scottish Language

Anglo-English Influences on Scottish Standard English Speakers: Trap/Bath/Palm/Start and Lot/Cloth/Thought/North/Force (1)

Academic journal article Scottish Language

Anglo-English Influences on Scottish Standard English Speakers: Trap/Bath/Palm/Start and Lot/Cloth/Thought/North/Force (1)

Article excerpt


Current related work concerning Anglo-English influences on Scottish English includes that of Stuart-Smith (1999 and elsewhere (2)) on London English influences on WC Glasgow English. Stuart-Smith found evidence of London English features in inner-city (Gorbals) Glasgow WC adolescent speech, alongside local WC variables, but no local MC variables. Earlier work includes Abercrombie's (1979) observations of Anglo-English (RP-type accents) influences on MC Scottish Standard English (SSE) at Edinburgh University. Abercrombie noted Anglo-English effects on SSE vowel pronunciations, notably presence of the /ae/ vs /[??]/ and /[??]/ vs /[??]/ co--ntrasts, claiming that the presence of the latter implies the presence of the former. In other words, /ae/ vs /[??]/ is, he claimed, acquired before /[??]/ vs /[??]/ by SSE speakers who modify their accent towards an RP-type target. Abercrombie further claimed that presence of the FOOT/GOOSE distinction (i.e. the /[??]/ vs /[??]/ distinction) implies presence of the /[??]/ vs /[??]/ and /ae/ vs /[??]/ distinctions. But Abercrombie presented no data, and thus no detailed analysis of data. Our aim here is to look in detail at recorded data of SSE speakers, in order to extract patterns which show how SSE speakers make their way into acquiring features of RP. One of the central issues here concerns the use of the phonemic principle and the role of the lexicon in describing accent variability, which we discuss below.


Following in the footsteps of Hurford's (1970) study of three generations of London English speakers, and Durand et al's (2002) study of three generations of Midi French speakers, we made digital recordings of three generations of a single Edinburgh family of WC origins, some with a university education and extensive exposure to RP and some without either. We aim to establish whether there is any evidence of RP influences on the speech of our informants, and if so, what form it takes, although we touch only briefly on that in this paper. The recordings were made using the methodology of a project entitled PAC (La phonologie de l'anglais contemporain), directed by Philip Carr (Universite Montpellier III), Jacques Durand (ERSS/CNRS; Universite Toulouse II) and Daniel Hirst (Laboratoire Langue Parole, Aix-en-Provence). PAC is the English-language sister project of the PFC project (La phonologie du francais contemporain), directed by Jacques Durand (ERSS/CNRS; Universite Toulouse), Bernard Laks (CNRS; Universite Paris X) and Chantal Lyche (University of Oslo). The PAC methodology is directly based on the PFC methodology. An outline of the PAC methodology is given by Carr, Durand and Pukli (2004). In brief, the protocol requires that at least 10 speakers of the relevant accent be digitally recorded, with the recordings consisting of a brief informal interview, the reading out of two word lists and a written passage, followed by informal conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee. The paper by Carr, Durand and Pukli gives the word lists and written passage in full.

In accordance with the 'PAC plus' policy that nothing may be subtracted from the PAC policy, but that it may be augmented with additional data, we have added further material to our PAC data, which we focus on here, for the following reason. It has been noted that Scottish politicians and broadcasters often have Anglicised speech. The following extract is an example of such an observation:

   a small but significant proportion of native Scottish MC speakers
   use phonological and phonetic systems which are near-RP. This is
   observable in the speech of, for example, some MPs and lawyers.
   Formal broadcast Scottish English is often nearer to RP than to
   either of the MC varieties tabulated in this volume (Stuart-Smith's
   'Glasgow Standard' and Chirrey's 'Edinburgh English').

   Scobbie, Hewlett and Turk (1999): 242

Accordingly, in addition to our PAC recordings, we made digital audio-visual recordings of Scottish politicians and Scottish political journalists, all of them in the same kinds of formal context of utterance: political speeches and/or political interviews. …

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