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Accent variation in Scotland

Please take in mind that accents do not just differ from region to region, but also from younger to older people, but here are some general accent variation in Scotland.

The vowel /ʌ/ in but and putt is pretty much the same, since in both accents the words are pronounced /bʌt/ and /pʌt/, but there are also regional differences in Scotland, where they pronounce but like /bƱt/.

The words grass and grant are pronounced the same in Scottish English. The southern variation is /grα:s/ and /grα:nt/, the northern one is /græs/ and /grænt/, because there is no /α:/ vowel sound in Scotland and there is no distinction between /æ/ and /a:/, and /ɒ/ and /ɔ:/. The sound /æ/ may be pronounced [æ], [a] or [α].

There is also a pronunciation distinction in the word city. In the north they say /s’ıtı/, in the south /s’ıti:/. But the Scottish pronunciation is the only major feature in which RP (Received Pronunciation) agrees with northern English regional accents. In general, Scottish accents typically have the same vowel in this final position: hazy [h’eze], gate [g’ete].

Unlike RP, Scottish accents have the “post-vocalic” /r/ sound, e.g. the word bark in RP is pronounced /bα:k/, but in Scots /bα:rk/. Thus there is no /ıə/ and /ɜ:/ sound in Scots, e.g. beer /bi:r/.

Scottish accents have no distinction between /Ʊ/ and /u:/, and /ɒ/ and /ɔ:/. So there is no phonetic distinction between pairs of words such as Pam and palm, pull and pool, and cot and caught.
While speaking, most non-RP speakers replace /ŋ/ with /n/ in the gerund form, the suffix –ing: singing /s’ıŋın/ or walking /w’ɔ:kın/.

The sound /j/ is used to follow a consonant sound, but this sound combination vanished in some parts of Britain. In the Scottish accent some forms still remain: ill/j/umine.

The more southerly the accent the wider get the diphthongs. In Scotland there are more short mid diphthongs like gate [ge:t] and boat [bo:t] but the length is not generally a distinctive feature of Scottish vowels.

A distinction is made between pairs of words like which /hwıč/ and witch /wıč/. The sound /hw/ is usually a single sound [ʍ], a voiceless [w].

The special term called hypercorrection is the usage of pronunciation that many informed users of a language consider incorrect, but that the speaker uses through misunderstanding of prescriptive rules. It occurs when a real or imagined grammatical or phonetical rule is applied in a mistaken or non-standard context. But the desire to be "correct" leads to an incorrect result, so the word cushion /kʊņ/ is now pronounced /kʌņ/ even in RP.

Other accent varieties in Scotland:
  • /ı/ and /u/ may be central [ə] and [ʉ]
  • RP’s diphthong /au/ may often be replaced by /u/, e.g. house /hus/, out /ut/
  • RP: coat /kot/ & cot/caught /kɔt/; Scots: coat/cot /kot/ & caught /kɔt/
  • Words like home, bone, stone, no, do and to have /e/ in very many regional Scottish accents: stones /stenz/
  • Words such as arm, after or grass may have /ɛ/ rather than /a/
  • The glottal stop is a frequent realization of /t/
  • /h/ sound is present