Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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G, letter of the alphabet.

The seventh letter of the alphabet, now called gee [dʒi:, ‡s.Sc. dʒəi], but earlier [dʒe:] (Bnff. 1836 in Ellis E.E.P. V. 777), geh [ge:] (ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 38). The letter has two sounds: (1) that of the voiced back or velar plosive [g] and (2), when assibilated, that of the consonant diphthong [dʒ], occasionally [ʒ], sometimes also written dge, ge, j. The distinctions correspond in the main to those of Eng., except as noted below.

Sc. usages:

1. g has followed the development of O.E. ȝ to y before the palatal vowels in Yett (O.E. ȝeat), Foryet (O.E. forȝietan) in contrast to Eng. gate, forget, which derive from other grammatical forms with back vowels. g [g] is retained in Girdle, Girn, Girse, Girsle, these being metathetic from orig. gr- forms.

2. g [g] corresponds to Eng. -dge ( < O.E. -cȝ) in Brig, Dreg, n.2, Rig, Seg, Thig (see P.L.D. § 66.1). This development is gen. also in n.Eng. dial. and is commonly held to be due to the substitution of the corresponding Scand. sound.

3. g [g] occurs irreg. in final position in some words, e.g. Craig, n.2, Flag, n.4, Fleg, v.1, n.1 See etym. notes s.v.

4. g [g] is reg. retained in pronunciation initially before n in I. and n.Sc., now obsol., as in Gnap, Gnash, gnaw, Gnidge [gn-]. See P.L.D. §§ 66, 136, 165 and cf. K.

5. g [g] is commonly palatalised in I. and n.Sc. to gy-, as in gyang (Gang), gyad (Gad, n.3), gya (Gie, v.1), and further advanced, occas. in Sh. and Bch., to dy-, dj-, e.g. dyelro (Geldro), djemblet for Gemlet; Dyang, Dying. See P.L.D. § 141.3.

6. g [g] appears for c, k, in Darg, n.1, Gravat, Fegs, Gleg (= Cleg), and is common in ne.Sc., esp. before n, e.g. Gnap, gnappert (Knapparts), Gnip, phairg (Ferge, q.v.), Goslip, Grottly.

7. g [g] occas. interchanges with d, as in Drieshach, Drodlich, Duo, Guck; Wheegle.

8. g [dʒ] is reg. unvoiced to ch [tʃ], initially in Ork. and Cai. (see P.L.D. § 158) and finally in a few words, esp. Porritch, Pottitch, porridge, potage (see P.L.D. § 94), with further reduction to sh [ʃ] in Damish, Manish.

9. g [dʒ] is reduced to [ʒ], esp. in s.Sc., after n, as in cringe, change, stranger (see Zai § 379). This change is also common in colloq. Eng.g [ʒ] also develops from s after n, as in Whinge, O.Sc. clenge (O.E. hwinsian, clnsian).

10. g [dʒ], final, is freq. developed from -d in s.Sc., as in curmudge (Curmud), Dadge, n.1, Fladge, and cf. Fid and Fidge, obs. Eng. flod and Flodge.

11. g is also found in two digraphs: (1) gh [x], as in light, night, etc., forfoghen, sough, sheugh, teugh, and now commonly written ch. The gh spelling is common in the 18th cent. and is due to a desire to assimilate the appearance of the word to the Eng. form; (2) ng [ŋ], (i) as in fangle (Fankle), ingle, single, tangle; finger, hunger, langer (Lang), never [ŋg] as in Eng. This development, in conjunction with 2. above, explains the Sc. form Sing, Eng. singe (Mid.Eng. sengen); (ii) freq. interchanging with -nk-, as in fangle, Fankle; hangal, Hankle, v.; Rang, Rank; Tangle, Tankle; and with -ny- [ɲ], esp. in Lnk., now obs., as in Cangle, Canyel; dangle, Danyel, v. The reduction of ng to n before th, as in Lenth, Strenth, and in the unaccented termination -ing, as in vbl.ns. and adjs. comin, fleein, makin, rinnin, etc.; mornin, herrin, shillin, which is found in Mid.Eng. and O.Sc., has persisted in Mod.Sc.

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"G ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2018 <>



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