Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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The present study investigates rhotics in Standard Scottish English (SSE). Drawing on an auditory analysis of formal speeches given in the Scottish parliament by 49 speakers (members of parliament and the general public), it examines whether an underlying rhotic standard exists for SSE speakers from all over Scotland, whether and where rhotics are realized as trills/taps or approximants, and what factors influence variation in the realization and distribution of rhotics. The results show that SSE is variably rhotic, with 54% of all non-linking coda /r/ realized, and that trills/taps are more frequent in intervocalic (onset and linking coda) position. The findings contradict the idea of SSE being generally rhotic but rather confirm previous reports of increasing occurrence of non-rhoticity, not just by specific speaker groups, but also in a formal context. They further show that variation in rhotics in SSE foremost tends to be affected by language-internal than language-external factors.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): rhoticity; rhotics; sociophonetics; sound change; Standard Scottish English
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