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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I).

A, prep.1 [ə]

Used instead of to before an infinitive.Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii. 138:
Some said that they be't [behoved] 'a pit the minaister throu' the kirk afore twall at nicht, or he wudna be richt sattl't.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy 70:
I've nae objection to onything o' that kind, whaur gude's genna be done.
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 112:
Aa'm gaun a gee yoo sumthing. (I'm going to give you something. A.)
Fif. 1894 And. S. Robertson Provost o' Glendookie 19:
There's gaunna be an unco crap the 'ear.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 181:
The beast at me was ginnie bark.
Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. of Burns 65:
A'm noa gawn u [= a] gee yee naything.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 17:
An the gentleman jumpit doun an wus gaun 'a' push the Provost in.
s.Sc.(D) 1873 D.S.C.S. 224:
Aa'm gaand-a-syng.

[The “a” is probably the vowel of to when the latter is reduced by weak stress to [tə]. The “t” would be assimilated to a final dental (t, d, n) in the preceding word. In all the examples except the first the preceding word is a pr.p., which in Older Sc. always ended in “-d,” now lost in most Sc. dialects, but surviving till recently in s.Sc., as the last quotation shows. The presence of “d” would make the process of assimilation and absorption of “t” very easy.]

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"A prep.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 May 2022 <>



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