On days two and three of the BAAP colloquium last week there was quite a lot about the phonetics of Scottish English.
• Dominic Watt et al have been studying the surprisingly sharp accent border between England and Scotland. People in Carlisle (west coast) and Berwick (east coast) sound English; those in Gretna and Eyemouth, just a few miles to the north in each case, sound Scottish. However, judged by the (non)application of the Scottish Vowel Length Rule and the degree of VOT, the linguistic border is somewhat blurred in the west, less so in the east.
• Eleanor Lawson et al showed that many cases of /r/ that would be classed auditorily as ‘postalveolar’ are actually “bunched”, not involving a retroflex lingual configuration, not even with tongue raising. (See my blog for 8 Feb 2010.) They also confirmed that middle-class speakers in the Scottish Central Belt (Glasgow–Edinburgh) have stronger realizations of /r/ than working-class speakers, for whom “an audible /r/ articulation seems almost absent”. So the middle class are bunched, the working class are on the way to nonrhoticity.
• Glasgow Asian is by now a distinct recognized accent (used by locally-born people of Indian origin). Jane Stuart-Smith et al found that the resonance of syllable-initial l was less dark in speakers of Glasgow Asian than in those of non-Asian Glaswegian. There was less difference for those with a network of non-Asian friends and those whose religious/cultural practices were ‘modern’ rather than ‘traditional’.