Evidence for sound change from Scottish corpora

Wendy Anderson

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Evidence for sound change from Scottish corpora

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  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Phonetics and Phonology


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Completed in 2007, the Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech (SCOTS, 1945–present) is the main corpus resource for linguistic analysis of present-day Scots and Scottish English. In 2010, the Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing (CMSW, 1700–1945) was introduced as a companion corpus to the SCOTS. Although CMSW is a corpus of written language only, it contains a sizeable component of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century orthoepist works, by writers such as James Beattie, James Elphinston, Alexander Barrie, and Sir John Sinclair. These works provide a rich, complex mine of evidence of changing pronunciation, and offer a glimpse into contemporary attitudes to language which emerge from a blend of prescription, proscription, and description. SCOTS and CMSW provide a diverse range of evidence, and together the two corpora offer a new perspective on sound-change, in the broader context of language variation and change, over 300 years of Scots and Scottish English.

Keywords: Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech; analysis; Scots; English; Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing; written language; pronunciation; corpora; sound-change; variation; linguistics; evidence

Article.  1074 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Phonetics and Phonology

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