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The Pronunciation of English in Scotland
By William Grant, M.A.

The Pronunciation of English in Scotland. By William Grant, M.A., (1913) Lecturer on Phonetics to the Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers, Aberdeen.

This manual, which appears under the auspices of the Cambridge University Press, may be said to break new ground. The late Dr. Sweet, Professor Wyld, Mr. Jones, and other well-known phoneticians have expounded the phonetics of Southern English; the late Dr. Lloyd has done the same for Northern English; but it has been reserved for Mr. Grant to deal in a scientific and systematic manner with the Scottish variety of Standard English. The author is to be heartily congratulated on the success he has achieved.

The book falls into three parts. Part I deals in a simple, clear, and comprehensive manner with the analysis and synthesis of speech sounds as found in the pronunciation of Standard English and Scottish, with interesting and instructive side glances at dialectal variants; Part II gives phonetic transcriptions of texts as they would be spoken by the educated middle classes of Scotland; Part III contains a series of questions and exercises on the subject-matter of Part I. Finally, in the second of two appendices will be found a careful and useful summary of the main differences between Southern English and Standard Scottish set down in parallel columns.

Altogether the book is one that cannot fail to do much to advance that branch of the study of English which up to the present time has been far too much neglected in most of our schools. We mean the study of the spoken as contrasted with the written word. The hope expressed by the author in his modestly worded preface that his book will prove useful to teachers of English of all grades in our Scottish schools, to lawyers and ministers and all those who, in the course of their calling, have to engage in public speaking, will no doubt be fulfilled so far as the first-mentioned class is concerned. It will, we fear, take some time before the lawyers and the ministers are reached.

George Smith

The Pronunciation of English in Scotland (pdf)


THIS book is intended primarily as a Phonetic Manual for the use of students in Scottish Training Colleges and Junior Student Centres, but it is hoped that it may prove useful to teachers of English of all grades in our Scottish schools, to lawyers and ministers and all those who, in the course of their calling, have to engage in public speaking. Foreigners, too, may find that the more conservative pronunciation of educated Scotland as depicted in this volume, is easier to acquire than the Southern type of English, and all students of language should be interested in the study of the Scottish variety of Standard English.

As the Scotch Education Department has recommended the study of Phonetics in its Memorandum on the teaching of Modern Languages (p. 5) and in its Memorandum on the teaching of English in Primary Schools (p. 8), and as our Training Centres have incorporated the subject in their time-tables, it has become practically obligatory for all teachers of language. Phonetics as the best basis for Modern Language study, is now generally admitted except in quarters “hopelessly obscurantist.” We are also firmly convinced that some phonetic training in the early stages of the school curriculum is a desirable thing because it cultivates the observing faculties of the child, appeals to an intelligent interest in facts, and has an important bearing on clear, distinct enunciation, correct pronunciation and expressive reading. Further it is a preparation for the work of the Modern Language Department and for the study in the higher English Classes of the development of English Speech.

A special book for Scottish Students is rendered necessary because the phonetic basis of educated Scottish speakers differs in many respects from that of Southern English, and further because our teachers have peculiar difficulties to overcome in dealing with pupils whose everyday speech is Scottish Dialect or Gaelic. Such difficulties cannot be successfully tackled without some definite phonetic knowledge and practice such as we have set forth in this work.

The book is divided into three parts with an Appendix. Part I deals with the manner and place of formation of the various sounds and the changes they undergo in combination with each other. The general plan follows the lines of Mr Daniel Jones’s Pronunciation of English and the corresponding definitions and descriptions in the two volumes are made to agree as far as possible. Part I also enumerates the variations from Standard speech and gives suggestions for the correction of errors of pronunciation.

Part II consists of a series of texts written in the speech of the educated middle classes of Scotland (see p. 4). The alphabet used is that of the International Phonetic Association. The student who can use this alphabet easily for reading and writing may be regarded as possessing a fair knowledge of elementary phonetics.

Part III contains a series of questions on the subjectmatter of Part I which will be found useful for students who wish to test their own knowledge and for teachers I who desire to test the results of their instruction.

The Appendix contains (1) the ordinary English spelling of the phonetic texts in Part II, (2) an account of the chief differences between Scottish and Southern English, (3) advice to teachers on the subject of the teaching of reading.

I have to express my obligation to the following authors and publishers for kindly allowing me to reproduce copyright matter: Messrs Sampson Low, Marston and Co., for the illustrations of the Larynx (fig. 2) which are taken from Voice, Song and Speech by Browne and Behnke, Messrs George Bell and Sons for the poem of Calverley (No. 8), Mr E. F. Benson and his publishers Messrs Methuen for the passage from Dodo (No. 20), Mr Austin Dobson and his publishers Messrs Kegan Paul, Trench, Triibner and Co. for the poem entitled The Cures Progress (No. 18) Mr Wilfrid Meynell (Francis Thompson’s literary executor) and Messrs Burns and Oates for Thompson’s poem Daisy (No. 11), The Walter Scott Publishing Company for the passage from Lowell’s My Garden Acquaintance (No 16).

I desire to acknowledge the kindness of Mr Gavin I Greig in permitting me to use a scene from Mains Wooing and to record his dialect pronunciation and intonation (No. 21). I take this opportunity also of thanking Dr Smith, Director of Studies, Aberdeen, and Mr Jackson, Lecturer on Phonetics, Dundee, for their interest in this work and their many useful suggestions.

Very special thanks are due to Mr Jones, the general editor of this series of Phonetic Texts, for many helpful suggestions and criticisms. I am indebted to him also for most of the matter in the following paragraphs 14, 17—21 with notes, 35, 185—188, 194—202, 216—221, for help in connection with the intonation curves in Dodo (No. 20), and the Southern English rendering of the passage from The Mill on the Floss (No. 19).

W. G.
December, 1912.

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