Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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As a relatively new phenomenon in the phonology of Scottish English, TH-fronting has surprised sociolinguists by its rapid spread in the urban heartlands of Scotland. While attempts have been made to understand and model the influence of lexical effects, media effects and frequency effects, far less understood is the role of social identity. Using data collected as part of an ethnographic study of a high school in the south side of Glasgow, Scotland, this article addresses this gap in the literature by considering how TH-fronting is patterned across three all-male, working-class, adolescent Communities of Practice, and how this innovative variant is integrated within a system of the more established variants [θ] and [h]. Drawing on recent work on linguistic variation and social meaning, the article also explores some of the social meanings of (θ), particularly those variants which previous research has reported as being associated with ‘toughness’, and suggests how these meanings are utilised in speakers’ construction of social identity.


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