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Derhoticisation in Scottish English

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Abstract

This paper presents the rewards of a sociophonetic journey by focusing on fine-grained variation in Scottish English coda /r/. We synthesize the results of some 15 years of research and provide a sociophonological account of variation and change in this feature. We summarize observations on coda /r/ in Scottish English across the twentieth century, which reveal a socially-constrained, long-term process of derhoticisation in working-class speech, alongside strengthening of /r/ in middle-class speakers. We then consider the linguistic and social factors involved, information from studies based on listener responses, the acoustics of derhoticisation, and insights gained from a socio-articulatory ultrasound corpus collected. These different views of coda /r/ force us to consider carefully the complex relationships between auditory, acoustic, and articulatory descriptions of (socially structured) speech. We conclude by discussing the implications of our results for mental representations of speech and social information for speaker-hearers in this community.

References

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