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Local identity and sound change in Glasgow: A pilot study


By: Natalie Braber and Zoe Butternut

This paper outlines a pilot study investigation into the potential link between local identity and language change in Glasgow. Results are presented from part of the pilot study, specifically the variation noted in two phonological variables - the realisation of the alveolar lateral approximant /l/, and the occurrence of so-called T-glottalling - and are discussed in the light of local identity. Glasgow is historically a heavily stigmatised, often stereotyped city and home to an equally stigmatised linguistic variety: Glaswegian.

Recent investigations have highlighted processes of linguistic change occurring in this linguistic variety (most notable Stuart-Smith, 1999a, 2003; Stuart-Smith et al., 2006, 2007), and this study sets out to investigate the potential link between these changes, speaker attitudes to Glasgow and their sense of Glaswegian identity.

The data elicitation method employed is an extended version of that used by Stuart-Smith & Tweedie (2000): semi-structured interviews supplemented by a read word list. Methodological issues and considerations for future investigation are discussed on the basis of the findings of this pilot study.

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