Map charts expressions and dialects across Scotland

A new online Scots Syntax Atlas charting expressions used in dialects across Scotland has been launched by the University of Glasgow.

Researchers travelled to almost 150 communities from Shetland to Stranraer listening to people talk to pinpoint language is used.

They charted expressions such as ‘I like they trainers’ and ‘you’re after locking us out’ and how they are built up.

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Researchers travelled to almost 150 communities from Shetland to Stranraer listening to people talk to pinpoint language is used. Picture: Glasgow University
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This involved examining the part of a language called syntax, one of the most creative ways people use language.

The project team recruited local field workers who then interviewed their families and friends.

The team also noted ‘youse’ could be spreading across Scotland and that people use forms of Scots syntax without realising it, such as ‘the car needs washed.’

Professor Jennifer Smith, the principal investigator of the Scots Syntax Atlas said the team wanted to move beyond looking at just Scots words and sounds and instead explore sentence construction across Scotland.

Prof Smith said: “From a linguistic point of view, we wanted to look at the make-up of Scots beyond words and sounds – how sentence structures are the same or different across communities in Scotland, and how we can explain these differences.

“Scots can be viewed as an umbrella term for a collection of quite diverse dialects. A look at the history of these different dialects – where they originated and how they subsequently developed - often provides the key to explaining why they are so diverse. For example, in more rural areas there may be preservation of forms that have long disappeared from elsewhere in Scotland.

“Even if you look at Glasgow and Edinburgh – less than an hour from each other – there are many dialect differences as they draw on different influences from the people who have lived in these cities over the years.

“We also found that spread of language forms isn’t necessarily from south of the border, but instead from within Scotland itself, as demonstrated by the spread of youse and gonnae no from likely Glasgow, outwards.”

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What words say about where you are from

I might can do it if I have the time: some places in the Borders and south-westShe doesn’t like it, and neither div I: north-east, and marginally in the Borders.Are you remembering to get the keys: all over Scotland.I’m never been there: used in Orkney and Shetland.gonnae no: Glasgow and surrounding areas.I didnae put salt on a pie - Mayfield, Edinburgh.There it’s there - Johnstone.