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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

D, n., letter of alphabet. D is the fourth letter of the Eng. alphabet as also in most of the cognate languages. The symbol comes through Latin and Greek from the Phœnician and Hebrew daleth (lit. = tent door). In Eng. and Sc. it stands gen. for the voiced point plosive or stop. Special Sc. usages: I

1. In Ork., Sh. and in Abd. coast dialects d is a voiced dental plosive, the point of the tongue being advanced to touch the teeth. See P.L.D. §§ 135 and 165.

2. In n.Sc., w. and sm.Sc., final d is dropped after l and n, e.g. aul, caul, faul, han, lan, grun, for Eng. old, cold, fold, hand, land, ground. In I.Sc. and em.Sc. d generally remains, though the usage fluctuates. In s.Sc. final d was dropped from and and certain other monosyllables, and from the pa.t. and pa.p. of verbs with pr.t. ending in -nd, e.g. bun' (bound), wan', wun' (wound). But the tendency is now to replace it except in Liddesdale. Final d from the Sc. pr.p. ending -and is regularly dropped in all dials., e.g. eatin, gaun, hingin, stannin. Medial d in ndl is gen. dropped, exc. in I.Sc. and em.Sc. excluding Strathearn, e.g. cannle, dwinle, hanle, for Eng. candle, dwindle, handle; also in nd-r, in n.Sc., Strathearn and wm.Sc., e.g. hunner, wunner, fooner, Eng. hundred, wonder, founder.

3. The inorganic d of Eng. sound, lend, thunder, gander, spindle, alder is not regularly found in Sc. but occurs sporadically esp. in s.Sc.

4. There has been some interchange between the voiced dental plosive (d) and the voiced dental fricative (ð, written as th). d for th [ð] is regular in I.Sc., e.g. de, du, faeder, midder, wirdy, Eng. the, thou, father, mother, worthy, but obsol. in S. Ork. In ne.Sc. this change takes place where r occurs in the following syllable, e.g. fader, midder, idder, gedder, Eng. father, mother, other, gather. Forms like smiddie, stiddie, widdie, boddom, Eng. smithy, stithy, withy, bottom (Mid.Eng. bothom), are found throughout Scotland. Conversely d becomes th [ð] in s. and m.Sc., e.g. lether, poother, shouther, sowther, Eng. ladder, powder, shoulder, solder.

5. d was unvoiced to t in the pa.p. of weak verbs, -ed becoming -it, early in the Mid.Sc. period and has remained so, e.g. crabbit, happit, wannert, feart, dozent, but prevails in nn.Sc., e.g. chapped, cropped (both dissyllables), mashed, stuffed. In s.Sc. and em.Sc. (a) after l, r, m, n, ng, or a vowel in a monosyllable, d is regularly restored, e.g. telld, belangd, dee'd, Eng. told, belonged, died, though t forms are also found. t also replaces d: (1) in e.g. wurset, cubbert, Eng. worsted, cupboard; (2) in s.Sc. and em.Sc. after n, e.g. ahint, ayont, errant, thoosant, Eng. behind, beyond, errand, thousand.

6. In nn.Sc., d replaces final t: in -et, which becomes -ad, e.g. limpad, limpet; in hid, id, it.

7. In ne.Sc., d is found in metathesis with l, in wardle, feedle, Eng. world, field.

8. In Bch., dy [dj] appears as the result of dissimilation of gy- in gyang (ne.Sc. form of gang, to go).

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"D n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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