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Some writers created their own spelling systems to represent their own dialects, rather than following the pan-dialect conventions of modern literary Scots. In the second half of the 20th century a number of spelling reform proposals were presented. Commenting on this, John Corbett writes that "devising a normative orthography for Scots has been one of the greatest linguistic hobbies of the past century". Most proposals entailed regularising the use of established 18thth century conventions and avoiding the 'apologetic apostrophe'.

Other proposals sought to undo the influence of standard English conventions on Scots spelling, by reviving Middle Scots conventions or introducing new ones. A step towards standardizing Scots spelling was taken at a meeting of the Makar's Club in Edinburgh in , where the Scots Style Sheet was approved. Some of its suggestions are as follows:. They represent a consensus view of writers in Scots at the time, following several years of debate and consultation involving Alexander Scott , Adam Jack Aitken , David Murison, Alastair Mackie and others.

A developed version of the Style Sheet, it is based on the old spellings of the Makars but seeks to preserve the familiar appearance of written Scots. It includes all of the Style Sheet's suggestions, but recommends that writers return to the more traditional -aw , rather than -aa. Some of its other suggestions are as follows:. The SLS Recommendations says "it is desirable that there should be traditional precedents for the spellings employed and […] writers aspiring to use Scots should not invent new spellings off the cuff".

It prefers a number of more phonetic spellings that were commonly used by medieval Makars, such as: ar are , byd, tym, wyf bide, time, wife , cum, sum come, some , eftir after , evin even , evir ever , heir, neir here, near , hir her , ir are , im am , littil little , sal shall speik speak , thay they , thaim them , thair their , thare there , yit yet , wad would , war were , wes was , wul will.

Project MUSE - Doric: The Dialect of North-East Scotland (review)

Purves has also published dozens of poems using the spellings. In the Scots Spelling Committee report was published in Lallans. The vowel system of Scots: [33].


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Words which differ only slightly in pronunciation from Scottish English are generally spelled as in English. The spellings used below are those based on the prestigious literary conventions [68] described above. Other spelling variants may be encountered in written Scots. Not all of the following features are exclusive to Scots and may also occur in some varieties of English. The is used before the names of seasons, days of the week, many nouns, diseases, trades and occupations, sciences and academic subjects. Nouns of measure and quantity unchanged in the plural: [72] [73] fower fit four feet , twa mile two miles , five pund five pounds , three hunderwecht three hundredweight.


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Regular plurals include laifs loaves , leafs leaves , shelfs shelves and wifes wives. Thoo is used as the familiar form by parents speaking to children, elders to youngsters, or between friends or equals.

The second person formal singular ye or you is used when speaking to a superior or when a youngster addresses an elder. See T—V distinction. The relative pronoun is that 'at is an alternative form borrowed from Norse but can also be arrived at by contraction for all persons and numbers, but may be left out [72] [78] Thare's no mony fowk that bides in that glen There aren't many people who live in that glen. The anglicised forms wha , wham , whase 'who, whom, whose', and the older whilk 'which' are literary affectations; [72] whilk is only used after a statement [72] He said he'd tint it, whilk wis no whit we wantit tae hear he said he'd lost it, which is not what we wanted to hear.

The possessive is formed by adding ' s or by using an appropriate pronoun [72] The wifie that's hoose gat burnt the woman whose house was burnt , the wumman that her dochter gat mairit the woman whose daughter got married ; the men that thair boat wis tint the men whose boat was lost. Also thae those and thir these , the plurals of that and this respectively.

In Northern Scots this and that are also used where "these" and "those" would be in Standard English. Scots employs double modal constructions [72] He'll no can come the day He won't be able to come today , A micht coud come the morn I may be able to come tomorrow , A uised tae coud dae it, but no nou I used to be able to do it, but not now. The present tense of verbs adhere to the Northern subject rule whereby verbs end in - s in all persons and numbers except when a single personal pronoun is next to the verb, [72] [81] Thay say he's ower wee , Thaim that says he's ower wee , Thir lassies says he's ower wee They say he's too small , etc.

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Thay're comin an aw but Five o thaim's comin , The lassies? Thay'v went but Ma brakes haes went. Thaim that comes first is serred first Those who come first are served first. The trees growes green in the simmer The trees grow green in summer. The regular past form of the weak or regular verbs is -it , -t or -ed , according to the preceding consonant or vowel: [72] [82] The -ed ending may be written -'d if the e is 'silent'.

Adverbs are usually of the same form as the verb root or adjective especially after verbs. Haein a real guid day Having a really good day. She's awfu fauchelt She's awfully tired. Adverbs are also formed with - s , [72] - lies , lins , gate s and wey s - wey , whiles at times , mebbes perhaps , brawlies splendidly , geylies pretty well , aiblins perhaps , airselins backwards , hauflins partly , hidlins secretly , maistlins almost , awgates always, everywhere , ilkagate everywhere , onygate anyhow , ilkawey everywhere , onywey anyhow, anywhere , endweys straight ahead , whit wey how, why.

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Scots prefers the word order [87] He turnt oot the licht to 'He turned the light out' and Gie's it Give us it to 'Give it to me'. Certain verbs are often used progressively [72] He wis thinkin he wad tell her , He wis wantin tae tell her. Verbs of motion may be dropped before an adverb or adverbial phrase of motion [87] A'm awa tae ma bed , That's me awa hame , A'll intae the hoose an see him.

Verbless subordinate clauses introduced by an and express surprise or indignation. He telt me tae rin an me wi ma sair leg and me with my sore leg. Ordinal numbers end mostly in t : [72] [89] seicont , fowert , fift , saxt — second, fourth, fifth, sixth etc. The impersonal form of 'one' is a body as in A body can niver bide wi a body's sel One can never live by oneself. We can notify you when this item is back in stock.

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North-East Scots (Doric): Episode 1: The History

Notify me. Description The dialect of North-East Scotland, one of the most distinctive and best preserved in the country, survives as both a proudly maintained mark of local identity and the vehicle for a remarkable regional literature.

The present study, after placing the dialect in its historical, geographical and social context, discusses in some detail a selection of previous accounts of its distinctive characteristics of phonology and grammar, showing that its shibboleths have been well recognised, and have remained consistent, over a long period.

Passages of recorded speech are then examined, with extensive use of phonetic transcription. Finally, a representative selection of written texts, dating from the eighteenth century to the present and illustrating a wide variety of styles and genres, are presented with detailed annotations. A full glossary is also included.