The History of Scottish English and A Brief Description of the Salient Linguistic Features That Characterize The Scots Dialect

Azhar A. Alkazwini


A brief history of the Scots dialect shall be presented, and, the salient Linguistic Features that characterize Scots shall be discussed. Some observers have different views regarding these linguistic features. I shall provide examples of these differences and conclude with the fact that the Great Vowel Shift played a major role in forming Scots and, as a result, Scots has its own characteristics that distinguishes it from other dialects.



English Language, Variation, History of English, Salient Linguistic Features, Scots Dialect

Full Text:



Adams, J. (1799). The pronunciation of the English Language Vindicated from Imputed Anomaly and Caprice. Edinburgh: English Linguistics 1500-1800, 72. R. C. Alston (1968) (Edt.). Menston: Scolar Press.

Aitken, A. J. (1979). Scottish Speech: A historical view with special reference to the standard English of Scotland. A. J. Aitken and T. McArthur (Eds.). Language of Scotland. Edinburgh: Chambers. p.85-118.

Aitken, A. J. (1981). The Scottish vowel-length rule. So Meny People, Longages and Tonges: Philological Essay in Scots ana Medieval English Presented to Angus McIntosh. M. Benskin and M. L. Samuels (Eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Anon. (1796). The Instructor: or An Introduction to reading and Spelling. London.

Baoill, C. (1997). The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language: The Scots- Gaelic Interface. Charles Jones (Ed.). Edinburgh University Press. Chapter 13. p. 551-568.

Baoill, Colm (2010). The Edinburgh Companion to the Gaelic Language: A History of Gaelic to 1800. Watson, M. and Macleod, M. (Eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p.02- p.21.

Beal, J. (1996). The Jocks and the Geordies: Modified Standards in Eighteenth Century Pronouncing Dictionaries. English Historical Linguistics 1994: Papers from the 8th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (8. ICEHL, Edinburgh, 19-23 September 1994). Britton, D. (Ed.). Amsterdam : J. Benjamins.

Beal, J. (1997). The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language: Syntax and Morphology. Charles Jones (Ed.). Edinburgh University Press. Chapter 9, p.335- 377.

Beattie, J (1787). Scoticisms Arranged in Alphabetical Order. Edinburgh.

Crystal, D. (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English language. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Elphinston, J. (1786, 1787). Propriety Ascertained in her picture, or Inglish Speech and Spelling Rendered Mutual Guides, Secure Alike from Distant, and from Domestic, Error. 2 Vols. London.

Glaser, K. (2007). Minority Languages and Cultural Diversity in Europe: Gaelic and Sorbian. Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights, 3. Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto, Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Grant, W. and J. Dixon, M. (1921). Manual of Modern Scots. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jespersen, O. (1949). A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles. Heidelberg: Carl Winters.

Johnston, P. A. (1983). Irregular style variation patterns in Edinburgh speech. Scottish Language, 2. p. 1-19.

Johnston, P. (1997). Regional Variation. In Jones, C. (Ed). The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language. Edinburgh University Press. Chapter 11, p. 433-513.

Jones, C. (1989). A History of English Phonology. London: Longman.

Jones, C. (1997). Phonology. In Jones, C. (Ed). The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language. Edinburgh University Press. Chapter 8, p. 267-334.

Labov, W. (1994). Principles of Linguistic Change: Internal Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.

Lass, R. (1984). Phonology: An introduction to Basic Concepts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lodge, K. R. (1984). Studies in the Phonology of Colloquial English. London: Croom Helm.

Macaulay, R. K. S. and Trevelyan, G. D. (1977). Language, Social Class and Education. A Glasgow Study. Edinburgh: Edinburgh university Press.

Macaulay, R. K. S. (1991). Locating Dialect in Discourse: The Language of Honest Men and Bonny Lasses in Ayr. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

MacKinnon, K (2010). The Gaelic Language-Group: Demography, Language-Usage, Transmission, and Shift. The Edinburgh Companion to the Gaelic Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd. p.128-145.

Macleod, M (2010). Language in Society: 1800 to the Modern Day. The Edinburgh Companion to the Gaelic Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd. p. 22-45.

McClure, J. (1994). The Cambridge History of the English Language. Hogg, R., Blake, N., Burchfield, R., Romaine, S. and Lass, R. (Eds.). English in Britain and overseas: Origins and Development. Vol.V. Bruchfield, R. (Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McClure, J. D. (1994). 'English in Scotland', in R. Burchfield (Ed.) The Cambridge History of the English Language. Vol. 5, English in Britian and Overseas: Origins and Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.23-93

McLennan, G. (1998.) Scots Gaelic: A Brief Introduction. Argyll Publishing: Glasgow.

Miller, J. (1993). The Grammar of Scottish English. J. Milroy and L. Milroy (Eds). Real English: The Grammar of English Dialects in the British Isles. Harlow: Longman. p.99-138.

Millar, R. (2007). Northern and Insular Scots. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd.

Mitchell, H. (1799). Scotticisim, Vulgar Anglicisms and Grammatical Improprieties Corrected. Glasgow.

Murray, J. A. H. (1873). The Dialect of the Southern Countries of Scotland. The Philological Society: London.

Murray, J. and Morrison, C. (1984). Bilingual Primary Education in the Western Isles. Scotland: Report of the Bilingual Education Project 1975-81. Storoway: Acair.

Sinclair, J. (1782). Observation on the Scottish Dialect. Edinburgh.

Tulloch, G. (1980). The Language of Walter Scott: A Study of his Scottish and Period Language. London: Ande Deutsch.

Tulloch, G. (1997). Lexis. In Jones, C. (Ed). The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language. Edinburgh University Press. Chapter 10, p. 378-432.

Waddell, P. H. (1871). The Psalms frae Hebrew intil Scottis. Edinburgh: Menzies.

Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English. Vol.3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wilson, J. (1915). Lowland Scotch, as Spoken in the Lower Strathearn District of Perthshire. London: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, J. (1926). The Dialects of Central Scotland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.