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INTRODUCTION

I

PHONETIC DESCRIPTION OF SCOTTISH LANGUAGE AND DIALECTS.1



§ 1. The area of Scottish speech with which the National Dictionary deals comprises (1) the Lowlands of Scotland, (2) Orkney and Shetland, where it has superseded the Norn language within the last 350 years, and (3) parts of Ulster, especially Antrim, Down and Derry, to which, since c.1606, it has been extended by the immigration of Scottish settlers.

Southern Boundary of Scottish Speech.
§ 2. The political boundary between Scotland and England was fixed by Alexander II. and Henry III. before the middle of the 13th cent., and has continued with little alteration up to the present day. It starts from a point on the east coast 3 miles nnw. of Berwick town, follows the line of the Liberties of Berwick to the Tweed, which then constitutes the boundary line to the point where the three counties of Nhb.2 Rxb. and Bwk. meet; it then proceeds s. by e., but near Cheviot Hill it strikes sw. to Larriston Hill; it descends Kershope burn to the Liddel Water, which it follows to its junction with the Esk; leaving the Esk at Scotsdyke it moves due west till it reaches the little river Sark, which it follows to the Solway.
§ 3. As the dialects on both sides of the Border are sprung from the same source we should expect to find them possessing many phonetic features in common, along with others more or less divergent. The latter are, in most cases, the results of the development of the same sounds in different directions owing to varying physical, geographical, social and political conditions.
§ 4. The modern dialects of Germanic origin in Great Britain are generally divided into four great groups. The first is spoken in the Lowlands of Scotland, the second in Northern England, the third in the English Midlands and the fourth in Southern England. They may be distinguished by a very simple vowel test which consists in tracing in each group the development of O.E. and O.E. as in the O.E. words cman (to come) and dn (down). O.E. was pronounced as in Mod.Eng. full, O.E. as in Mod.Eng. too. In Scots the two words are pronounced cum doon [kVm dun], in n.Eng. coom doon [kum dun], in the Midlands coom down [kum daun] and in southern Eng. cum down [kVm daun]. Map 1 gives a rough idea of these divisions; but it must be borne in mind that very often there is a gradual change from one district to another in course of which more than one pronunciation may be heard. The southern limit of the pronunciation of ``down'' as ``doon'' is marked in the map by a line which moves in a south-easterly direction from the mouth of the s.Esk (17 miles sse. of Whitehaven), entering Lincoln 3 miles n. of Gainsborough, and terminating on the Humber 3 miles nw. of Great Grimsby. Western Yks., with its great industrial towns, Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, etc., has lost this ``doon'' pronunciation, a result due to the enormous influx of population from other districts. The ``cum'' line starts at the mouth of the n.Esk in n.Cum., crosses Cum., and skirting the foot of the Cheviots reaches the east coast at Bamburgh (12 miles n. of Alnwick). On the Cumberland side the division between ``cum'' and ``coom'' is clearly marked, but in Nhb., although ``cum'' only is heard n. of the line, both ``cum'' and ``coom'' can be heard in different localities south of the ``cum'' line as far as Ryhope (3 miles sse. Sunderland). The line to the south of which only ``coom'' is heard stretches from Ryhope through Dur. to Alstone on the e. border of Nhb. Scottish speech as a whole, then, differs from the n.Eng. dialects in the development of O.E. into [V] and agrees with the eastern half of the n.Eng. dialects in retaining O.E. . If we were to follow in like manner the history of the other O.E. vowels in the Sc. and n.Eng. border dialects we should find similar agreements and differences, the latter, however, predominating so as to constitute on each side a separate dialect type.


1 References in the Introduction marked § followed by a number indicate paragraphs of this Introduction, I.
2 For this and other abbreviations used, see pp. xlix-lii.



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