Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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The spread of the glottal stop as a variant of /t/ in British English has been well documented in the recent literature (Macafee 1994; Macaulay and Trevelyan 1973; Stuart-Smith 1999; Kerswill and Williams 2000; Fabricius 2002). The origins of this feature are not easy to pinpoint, and some theories (Macafee 1997, for example) even point to Glasgow, though not without controversy. It is, nevertheless, spreading rapidly throughout Scotland in predictable patterns along the lines of social class, age and sex (Macaulay 1991; Stuart-Smith 1999; Romaine 1982). This paper presents some of the findings from a recent study of pronunciation changes in rural Aberdeenshire (north-east Scotland). The data confirm the spread of the glottal stop in this area in apparent time. In addition to this, there is an interesting pattern visible. While all of the other phonetic variables in this study show remarkable similarity of patterning across age, the glottal stop shows a different distribution. I argue that the reason for this has to do with its status as an incoming variant which is not a Scottish Standard English form, and that the groups which resist it and those which adopt it are predictable from the results of sociolinguistic research elsewhere in Britain.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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