Sociolinguistic approaches

Variationist frameworks

Authored by: Jane Stuart-Smith

The Routledge Handbook of Language and Media

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138014176
eBook ISBN: 9781315673134
Adobe ISBN:


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On July 19, 2015, a minor media panic erupted. The Sunday Times, a UK newspaper with national distribution, published an article by Robin Henry entitled, “Media makes Scots throw the R away.” The text begins

Scottish nationalism may be in the ascendant, but the country is beginning to lose one of its most distinctive features: its accent. For centuries, Scots have pronounced the “R” in words such as car, farm, and sort but it is starting to be inaudible for some speakers north of the border, according to research by Scottish linguists. Some blame the Anglicising influence of the media, including BBC broadcasters, who adopt English pronunciations. To use the technical term for the vanishing “R”, it is the battle of postvocalic rhoticity.

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