Scottish slang

Scott, MR ORCID: 2014, 'Scottish slang' , in: Global English Slang : Methodologies and Perspectives , Routledge, London, pp. 107-115.

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As Görlach has observed, ‘There is no dictionary or comprehensive monograph devoted to Scottish slang’ (2002: 119). This lacuna can be partially explained by the history of attitudes to the two language varieties known as Scots and Scottish English, neither of which is fully codified. In popular discourse, the term slang is often pejorative. It is associated with lexis that exists primarily in informal, verbal contexts. Much Scottish vocabulary functions in exactly this way. The confusion that enables Scottish lexis to be dismissed as slang is understandable, yet it can pose a cultural threat. Those who seek to improve perceptions of regional language varieties often strive to avoid the negative implications of the slang label. Furthermore, the identification of Scottish slang is complicated by the pragmatics of the Scots-Scottish English continuum. In different situations, the relative status of Scots and Scottish English differs; many speakers will code-switch between the two. However, in a formal context, the use of Scots may be viewed as a highly informal deviation from the ‘respectable’ communicative norm, Scottish English. To an extent, then, Scots words and phrases can perform similar pragmatic functions as slang, in a formal, Scottish English context. More clearly demarcated is Scottish rhyming slang, often separable from other forms of rhyming slang by its distinctive pronunciations. This chapter seeks to demonstrate that Scottish slang, a neglected dimension of the lexicon, deserves further investigation and raises questions relevant to wider issues of cultural taxonomy and perception.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Coleman, J
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Publisher: Routledge
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 9780415842686 (paperback); 9781315857787 (ebook)
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr Maggie Scott
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2015 17:16
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 19:25

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