Accommodation or political identity: Scottish members of the UK Parliament
Scobbie, James M.
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Hall-Lew, L., Friskney, R. & Scobbie, J. M. (2017) Accommodation or political identity: Scottish members of the UK Parliament. Language Variation & Change, 29 (3), pp. 341-363.
Phonetic variation among Scottish Members of the UK Parliament may be influenced by convergence to Southern English norms (Carr & Brulard 2006) or political identity (e.g., Hall-Lew, Coppock & Starr 2010). Drawing on a year's worth of political speeches (2011- 2012) from ten Scottish Members of the UK Parliament (MPs), we find no acoustic evidence for the adoption of a Southern English low vowel system; rather, we find that vowel height is significantly correlated with political party: Scottish Labour Party MPs produce a higher 'CAT' vowel (Johnston 1997) than do Scottish National Party MPs. The results contradict claims that Scottish MPs acquire 'Anglo-English' features while at UK Parliament. Rather, we suggest that the variation indexes political meaning, with a subset of individuals drawing on that indexicality in production.