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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 10:53 GMT
Glasgow patter goes east
Ashton Lane, Glasgow
Glasgow's west end, where many accents are heard
The Glaswegian dialect is becoming the dominant accent across the south of Scotland, according to a new book.

Greetings like "howzitgaun?" are spreading 45 miles across the central belt to Edinburgh and the Borders, says Professor Charles Jones, of Edinburgh University.

West and east have become so merged, that children's accents were "not readily distinguishable" at the moment.

Professor Jones believes the movement of people around Scotland is part of the reason for the hybrid accent.

These are some examples of Glaswegian pronounciations now commonly heard elsewhere:

  • Sit becomes si'
  • Hit becomes hi'
  • Something becomes sumhin'
  • Nothing becomes nuhin'
  • Butter becomes bu'er
  • Water becomes wa'er

Other grammatical constructions now woven into everyday conversations include Glaswegians' habit of adding "well", "but" or "by the way" at the end of a sentence, Professor Jones says.

Working class adolescents are the main source of what he describes as "a levelling out" of accents.

"It's their speech that's almost targeted as the 'prestige norm' for the whole of the central belt," he told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme.

Alex Mosson, Lord Provost of Glasgow
It is the sincerest form of flattery

Alex Mosson
Glasgow Lord Provost
In the east and south east of England, people speak with an "estuary English", he went on.

This made it difficult to tell a 16-year-old from Norwich apart from an equivalent in Portsmouth.

Professor Jones said television did not appear to have a major influence on pronounciation and dialect.

While writing his book, The English Language in Scotland: An Introduction to Scots, he spoke to young people in Livingston and found that their favourite soap was the hit US sit-com Friends.

He pointed out that the programme's viewers did not appear to speak with an American accent.

City rivalries

Professor Jones's views are likely to prompt scorn from those who live in Glasgow and Edinburgh, who take good-natured pleasure in needling each other.

The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Alex Mosson, told The Herald: "If the people of Edinburgh want to imitate Glaswegian, then obviously it is the sincerest form of flattery."

Not quite the perspective of his counterpart in the capital, Eric Milligan, who said people would be "very surprised" to hear they sounded Glaswegian.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Rab C Nesbitt
Demonstrates the Glasgow accent
  BBC Scotland's Fiona Walker
"Are the people of Edinburgh ready to take up the Glasgow patter?"
See also:

29 Nov 01 | Scotland
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