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Intonational variation and change in Scottish Gaelic

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2015
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)1-19
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper investigates intonational variation and change in Scottish Gaelic (henceforth ‘Gaelic’), a minority endangered language undergoing revitalisation. In particular I focus on bilingual speakers aged 13-14 who are attending immersion education in the Isle of Lewis, a Gaelic-heartland area, and in the city of Glasgow where Gaelic has no community history. The young people are compared to older Gaelic-dominant speakers in Lewis. Results suggest a substantial difference in Gaelic prosodic structure between the older and younger speakers, with older speakers speaking Gaelic as a language with contrastive word accents (prosodically similar to Swedish), and young people speaking Gaelic as an intonation language (prosodically similar to English). Further analysis of the young people’s intonation suggests cross-language influence from Glaswegian English on the realisation of pitch accents and boundary tones in Glasgow Gaelic. These results are discussed in terms of the impact of language contact and bilingualism on intonational structure, and language change in this context of minority language revitalisation.