What is Scottish Language?

Fiona M. Douglas

in Scottish Newspapers, Language and Identity

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748624379
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671533 | DOI:
What is Scottish Language?

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This chapter gives an overview of the complex linguistic situation in Scotland and links it to discussion of the language of the newspapers. It outlines how the linguistic situation that exists in present-day Scotland arose, and suggests various ways to make sense of the range of Scottish varieties encompassed by the superordinate term Scottish–English. A range of questions surrounds the status of Scottish–English varieties: whether they are best described as discrete languages in their own right or alternatively as dialects of English; the existence or absence of a Scottish standard variety; and status and register constraints. Also under discussion are issues such as how people in Scotland feel about the language they use, focusing particularly on their self-awareness, ambivalent attitudes, and the frequently encountered linguistic insecurity. Finally, the chapter considers the relevance and implications of these factors for an analysis of Scottish newspaper texts.

Keywords: Scotland; language; newspapers; Scottish–English; language variations; linguistic awareness

Chapter.  9405 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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