Vol. 41 No. 4 (1993)
Research Article

Scottish Place Names as Evidence for Language Change

Published 1993-12-01



This paper traces several changes in the pronunciation of unaccented final syllables in Scottish place names. It claims that place names which are lexically opaque are more likely to reflect changes in pronunciation earlier than words the lexical meaning of which is well known. As a parallel, the loss of -l in words like ball, wall and fall is illustrated by the appearance of continuing usage of Fal- spellings in the name Falkirk (earlier Fawkirk). Even place name spellings tend to be delayed as reflexes of changes in pronunciation; they nev.ertheless are invaluable evidence for change.


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