Scottish English (was: LANGUAGE SUBTAG REGISTRATION FORM)
Caoimhin O Donnaile
caoimhin at smo.uhi.ac.uk
Wed Aug 22 02:39:13 CEST 2007
> >But Scottish English is clear and well-defined enough as a variety
> >to be worth registering.
> Where and how is it defined?
I don't know. Since everything is a continuum between "English",
"Scottish English" and "Scots", not to mention the regional
variations, any definition would have to be somewhat arbitrary.
I am sure, though, that if you did a cluster analysis of English speech
throughout Great Britain (having first eliminated anything which you
wished to classify as "Scots"), English speech in Scotland would
form a distinctive enough cluster to be worth giving a name to.
And indeed if you search with Google for "Scottish-English Scots"
you get 220,000 hits, showing that "Scottish English" is very
often used as a linguistic term. I expect the same kind of problem
would arise with most variant tags which people wish to register, apart
from those relating to orthographic standards and suchlike.
If we wanted to attempt to pin down some kind of demarcation lines
at this stage, Derrick McLure at Aberdeen University would be a
> Does "Scottish English" include Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and
> Inverness equally?
It would certainly include Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. I have
never been to Aberdeen, but I expect that a fair bit of the speech
on the streets o Aiberdeen would be classed as Scots - more so than
in the other Scottish cities.
After thinking about it, I share Michael's view that "en-scottish"
would be better than an obscure M.49 code, even if one were possible.
There was some talk of defining "en-scottish" to be "Standard
Scottish English" rather than "Scottish English". I think that
would be a bad idea. If I understand things, the archetype of
Standard Scottish English would be the English which educated
Scottish businessmen would aspire to use among themselves, which
would probably exclude a lot of the language in the Glasgow films
which Karen needs to catalogue.
There is a fair difference between the language in each, I think.
Part of it may be that when confronted with a reporter from
BBC Scotland speaking something like Scottish Standard English,
John Smeaton attempts to match his language to hers.
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