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On the Tail of the Scottish Vowel Length Rule in Glasgow

Rathcke, Tamara V, Stuart-Smith, Jane (2015) On the Tail of the Scottish Vowel Length Rule in Glasgow. Language and Speech, 59 (3). pp. 404-430. ISSN 0023-8309. (doi:10.1177/0023830915611428) (KAR id:53108)

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One of the most famous sound features of Scottish English is the short/long timing alternation of /i u ai/vowels, which depends on the morpho-phonemic environment, and is known of as the Scottish Vowel Length Rule (SVLR). These alternations make the status of vowel quantity in Scottish English (quasi-)phonemic but are also susceptible to change, particularly in situations of intense sustained dialect contact with Anglo-English. Does the SVLR change in Glasgow where dialect contact at the community level is comparably low? The present study sets out to tackle this question, and tests two hypotheses involving (1) external influences due to dialect-contact and (2) internal, prosodically-induced factors of sound change. Durational analyses of /i u a/ were conducted on a corpus of spontaneous Glaswegian speech from the 1970s and 2000s, and four speaker groups were compared, two of middle-aged men, and two of adolescent boys. Our hypothesis that the development of the SVLR over time may be internally constrained and interact with prosody was largely confirmed. We observed weakening effects in its implementation which were localised in phrase-medial unaccented positions in all speaker groups, and in phrase-final positions in the speakers born after the Second World War. But unlike some other varieties of Scottish or Northern English which show weakening of the Rule under a prolonged contact with Anglo-English, dialect contact seems to be having less impact on the durational patterns in Glaswegian vernacular, probably because of the overall reduced potential for a regular, everyday contact in the West given the different demographies.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0023830915611428
Uncontrolled keywords: the Scottish Vowel Length Rule (SVLR), prosodic timing, sound change, dialect contact, the Voicing Effect, real-time change, Scottish English, Glaswegian Vernacular
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > English Language and Linguistics
Depositing User: Tamara Rathcke
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2015 17:53 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Rathcke, Tamara V:
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