8. “But that’s dialect, isn’t it?”

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This paper considers the ways in which geographical variation can be explored both quantitatively and qualitatively using the Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech (SCOTS). The resource is a freely accessible online corpus of written and spoken texts in the Germanic languages of Scotland (Scottish English and Scots), which can offer an insight into current Scots usage and speaker attitudes towards language. The paper introduces the corpus, giving an overview of the geographically-defined varieties of Scots represented in it, and demonstrates how the complex web of variation can be analysed quantitatively using integrated corpus tools. It then begins to explore qualitatively the ways in which participants in spoken documents talk about geographical, and closely related social, language variation in Scotland.


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