“A Significant Part of an Insignificant Identity”: the Re-Articulation of North-East Scots between Tradition and Globalization

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In Britain the conflict between the national standard and regional languages and varieties, or rather those perceived to be ‘only’ a dialect, is still going strong and Scots plays a peculiar role in it. It is recognised and afforded a certain level of protection and promotion under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (ECRML). While related to English, Scots has a number of regional varieties and it stands in competition with other varieties of English within Scotland. North-East Scots (NE Scots), also known as ‘the Doric’, in particular occupies a rather special place within the sphere of Scots. While research has often focused on the perceived status of urban versus rural Scots, this paper examines the attitudes towards NE Scots with regard to identity construction as displayed by its speakers in rural areas and small towns in the North-East. Another focal point is the use of the regional variety as a perceived act of resistance against the ostensible dominance of English. Within the mind of its speakers what kind of identity do they feel they have - a largely local/regional, a national Scottish, a British one or something entirely different? The analysis of interview data highlights that respondents’ statements and their actual linguistic behaviour reinforce the affirmation of their regional identity; the extent to which this occurs will also be investigated.

About the authors

Barbara Loester

University of Winchester

Author for correspondence.
Email: barbara.loester@winchester.ac.uk
Sparkford Road, Winchester, SO22 4NR, United Kingdom


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