A new study by scientists has revealed that the Scottish accent is starting to die out because Scotland’s inhabitants are dropping their distinctive “r’s” from their speech.
A group of scientists made this discovery while working on the Dynamic Dialects project, which saw them analyze 1,500 accents from 16 countries. Researchers from the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, and Queen Margaret University in London worked together to create the study.
Using young Scots from the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, the linguistic experts used ultrasound to test their voices.
Eleanor Lawson, a professor at the University of Glasgow as well as an expert in English-language dialectology, has now been explaining their findings to Quartz, and she admitted that the “postvocalic R” from Scottish English, which is found in car, farm, sort, share, and so forth is dying out.
“We have been focusing on the postvocalic R in Scottish English, which seems to be weakening and might be in the process of disappearing for some Scottish speakers. We also found that speakers from different social groups were using fundamentally different tongue shapes to produce R.”
Lawson also revealed that Scottish speakers are now “delaying their ‘R’ gesture, so it’s happening in silence afterwards.” Basically, this means that while they’re not “losing it completely,” because they are still producing it, but “you just can’t hear it properly.”
Linguistic experts are blaming the demise of the Scottish accent, which is referred to as postvocalic rhoticity, on the BBC. Michael Hance, the director of the Scots Language centre, explained, via the Daily Mail, “Ninety-nine per cent of Scottish radio and TV is English and American accents, while the BBC in Scotland have this long tradition of sending people off for elocution lessons to soften their accents.”
[Image via the Telegraph]