Robert McColl Millar

in Northern and Insular Scots

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623167
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651528 | DOI:

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This chapter focuses on those features of Northern and Insular Scots grammar which are either generally Scots, but not colloquial English, or, in particular, are distinctive for the region. What separates Northern and Insular Scots from Standard English in morphosyntactic terms is significantly less than is the case for either phonology or lexis. What divergence there is can be analysed in three ways. In the first place, as an area relatively distant from major population centres, associated until recently with traditional employment patterns, many grammatical features not shared with the Standard are relicts of earlier usage. Moreover, there are occasions where Scots as a whole employs a separate pattern to that found in southern dialects. Finally, there are those occasions where innovation appears to have been triggered in these areas, sometimes, it could be argued, because of substrate influences from languages previously spoken in the area. It might even be the case, as with the retention of a discrete second-person singular pronoun, or the lack of overt plural marking for this and that, that a combination of all these processes is present.

Keywords: Scots dialects; Northern Scots; Insular Scots; grammar

Chapter.  5512 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics

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