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The Glesga dialect, aften caud the Glesga patter or Gleswegian, is a form o Anglic at varies frae the local form o West Central Scots at ae end o a bipolar linguistic continuum, an Scottish English on the ither aen. The spaek o a lot o Glesga fowk is saed ti be on a continuum atween ful Scots an standart English. Forby, the Glesga dialect haes influens frae Hieland Inglis an Hiberno-Inglis[1] wi au the fowk frae the Hielands an Irladn at a lot o thaim flittit til Glesga in the 19th an airlie 20t centuries.[2] Autho cryed efter Glesga, fowk frae the hael Graeter Glesga eria aften spaeks the saem dialek & accent. Maist spaekers is wirkin cless fowk, an this can laed ti stigma frae fowk frae ither clesses or ootwi Glesga.

Liyk ither forms o Anglic, it's been affekit bi dialek levelin whaur mair partiecularlie Scots wirds is replaced wi Standart Inglis aens as weel as aens frae colloquial Inglis. Houaniver, Glesga fowk is cuman up wi new euphemisms an tae-naems for weel-kent local figurs an biggins yet.


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Glesga spaek haes lang been estaiblisht in Scots lieteratur. A lot o fowk wriytan in Glesga uises baith tradietional an ee-dialek spellins. Whiyls the spaek is written in a wey at's meint ti mak it seem gey unintellijibel ti fowk frae ither pairts.[3]

J. J. Bell wrat a series beuks in the airlie 1900s set in Glesga caud Wee MacGreegor at follaes the liyfs o the Robison faimilie.

Michael Munro wrat a giyd ti Glesga spaek caud The Patter, first pitten oot in 1985. Wi drauins bi David Neilson, an siyn the Paisley-born airtist an play-wriyter John Byrne, the beuk cam ti be weel-liykit in Glesga. It wis follaed bi The Patter - Another Blast in 1988, wi The Complete Patter, a updaetit collektion o the first an seicont beuks, bean pit oot in 1996.

A lot o James Kelman's 1994 novel How Late It Was, How Late is written in Glegsa spaek frae the puynt o view o Sammy Samuels, a 38-yier-auld ex-convik at waukens up blind efter drinkan a lot an fechtan wi the polis. The novel wan the 1994 Booker Prize.

Jamie Stuart, a Kirk o Scotland elder frae the Hiech Carntyne Kirk, maed "A Glasgow Bible" in 1997, an it haes sum biblical taels in Glesga spaek. In 2014 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland wis translaetit inti Glesga Scots bi Thomas Clark as Alice's Adventirs in Wunnerlaun. A 2020 Graeme Armstrong novel, The Young Team, narraetit bi a gang memmer in the Glesga dialek, focuses on the 'ned culture' o the eria in the airlie 21st centurie (autho it's set in Airdrie, North Lanrikshire a pukkel miyls ti the eist o Glesga an no in the toun itsel).


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Jane Stuart-Smith contriebuetit a chaipter ti the 1999 beuk Urban Voices cryed "Glasgow: accent and voice quality". She defiynt twa varieties for descriptiv etlins:

  • Glesgs Standart Inglis (GSE), the Glesga form o Scots Standart Inglish, spoken bi maist middel-cless spaekers
  • Glesga vernacular (GV), the dialek o a lot o wirkin-cless spaekers, at's historicalie baesed on Wast-Central Scots an shaus strang influenses frae Irish Inglis, its ain distinctiv slang an mair chiynjes in the airt o GSE

Differs atween the twa siestems is maistlie lexical. A lot o wirkin-cless spaekers uises the SSE siestem whan readan lood oot, tho thay hae different qualities for the vowels. The taebel ablo shaus the vowels uised in baith variants, as gien in Taebel 11.1 o Stuart-Smith's wark.

Lexical set GSE GV
KIT ɪ ɪ̈ ~ i
HEAD ɛ i
NEVER ɛ ~ ɛ̈ ɪ̈
LOT ɔ o
STRUT ʌ̈ ʌ̈
FOOT ʉ ɪ̈ ~ ɪ
NURSE ʌ̈ ʌ̈ ~ ɪ
FLEECE ï ~ i̠ i ~ i̠
FACE e e
STAY e e ~ ʌi
GOAT o o
MORE o e
DO ʉ e
PRICE ʌi ʌi
PRIZE ae ae
CHOICE ɔe ɔe
MOUTH ʌʉ ʉ
NEAR i i
SQUARE e ɛ ~ e
BIRTH ɪ ɪ̈ ~ ʌ̈
BERTH ɛ ɛ ~ ɪ
happY e e ~ ɪ̈
lettER ɪ̈ ~ ʌ̈ ʌ̈
horsES ɪ ɪ̈ ~ ʌ̈
commA ʌ̈ ʌ̈

Stuart-Smith gied the follaean summarie o hou consonants in Glesga spaek is different frae ither dialeks an au.

  • T-glottalization is "gey stigmatiyzed yet gey common". P an K gets glottaliyzed tui, tho no sae aften as T dis.
  • d an t can be pronunsed wi dentalisaetion. d is whiyls drappit at the end o a wird in the clusters LD & ND (e.g. auld, staund).
  • Sum yunger spaekers haes TH-frontin.
  • x is uised in wirds lik loch, autho this is deean oot amang yunger spaekers.
  • ʍ is uised in wirds beginnan wi "wh" (e.g. whine), autho this is deean oot amang yunger spaekers.
  • Thaer's nae H-drappan excep in unstresst caeses o him an her.
  • Yod-drappan juist happens efter l or s.
  • Maist Glesga spaek is rhotic, but non-rhoticitie can be fund amang sum yunger wirkin-cless spaekers. The realisaetion o /r/ can be ɹ, ɻ or r.
  • l is a daurk l in gey near au posietions.


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  1. Menzies, Janet (1991), "An Investigation of Attitudes to Scots", Scottish Language, 10, pp. 30–46, archived frae the original on 11 November 2020, retrieved 18 Januar 2022
  2. Fraser, W. Hamish; Thomas Martin Devine; Gordon Jackson; Irene Maver (1997). Glasgow: Volume II: 1830-1912. Manchester University Press. pp. 149–150. ISBN 978-0-7190-3692-7.
  3. Macafee C.I. (1983) ‘Glasgow’ in Varieties of English around the World. Amsterdam: Benjamins p.40


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