History of Scots to 1700
Abbreviations and conventions
References to counties in Scotland and England are to the pre-1974 counties.
The following conventions are used in discussing sounds and spellings:
< > brackets enclose graphemes (letters and combinations of letters, the latter often digraphs, i.e. combinations of two letters, such as <ch>) and spellings of words;
/ / brackets enclose phonemes (crudely, the sounds corresponding to graphemes, see below);
[ ] brackets enclose phonetic realisations (the fine details of pronunciation not usually relevant to spelling).
C stands for ‘any consonant’.
V stands for ‘any vowel’.
The symbols used are those specified by the International Phonetic Association (IPA). See Figures i-iii. In addition to those in the figures, the following symbols are used:
ʍa consonant, a voiceless labio-velar fricative, as at the beginning of where
wa consonant, a voiced labio-velar approximant, as at the beginning of wear
ʧa consonant, a voiceless affricate, as at the beginning of char
ʤa consonant, a voiced affricate, as at the beginning of jar
and the following diacritics:
n̩the consonant is syllabic, as /n/ in heaven
d̪the consonant is dental
d̥the normally voiced consonant is devoiced
e̝the vowel is raised
e̞the vowel is lowered
ε̈the vowel is centralised (i.e. backed in the case of a front vowel, fronted in the case of a back vowel)
i:the vowel is long
a̫the normally non-rounded vowel is partly rounded.
A vowel or /j/ written as a superscript after a vowel is an off-glide from that vowel, i.e. a sound that the vowel shades into towards the end of its duration.
A stressed syllable can be indicated thus: contents /’kɔntεnts/ n.pl., /kən’tεnts/ v. The stressed element of a diphthong can be indicated thus: [íu].
The following symbols are traditionally used with PreSc/ME spellings to indicate pronunciation:
ăthe vowel is short
āthe vowel is long (OE)
áthe vowel is long (ON)
ọthe vowel is raised
ęthe vowel is lowered.
Figure i: Consonants
Figure ii: Non-rounded vowels
Figure iii: Rounded vowels
|EModE||Early Modern English|
|GVS||Great Vowel Shift|
|HOCL||Homorganic Cluster Lengthening|
|MLG||Middle Low German|
|ModStE||Modern Standard English|
|nEC||northern East Central|
|nME||northern Middle English|
|OSL||Open Syllable Lengthening|
|OWScand||Old West Scandinavian|
|ScStE||Scottish Standard English|
|sEC||southern East Central|
|sME||southern Middle English|
|SVLR||Scottish Vowel-Length Rule|
Macafee, Caroline and †Aitken, A. J. (2002) ‘A history of Scots to 1700’ in A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue vol. XII, xxix-clvii. Online https://dsl.ac.uk/about-scots/history-of-scots/abbreviations/