What is she on about now? I hear you say. This is actually a post about the rigours of high school, which I am re-experiencing through the Dafter. Because our son was at a specialist residential school at her age this is a first for all of us. (High school in Scotland is for six years, beginning at age 11 or 12 and ending at age 17 or 18. The Dafter began back in August.)
But to begin at the beginning. A glottal stop, as you may never have needed to know, is the linguistic term for when we stop our vocal cords in the middle of saying a word. When you say “Uh-oh!” the glottal stop is where the hyphen is.
American speech doesn’t, as far as I know, tend to use a lot of glottal stops. This might be why some people here say that I have a “soft” accent. In American, butter is actually “budder” and so everything gets a bit smoothed over. Aberdonian speech, like a lot of British regional accents, tends towards the choppier use of the glottal stop. I recall a friend telling her 5-year-old son off for using the local dialect: “It’s parTy, not par-ee! Pronounce the T!”
In Aberdeen, that T disappears a lot. You write a “le-er” [letter] on a “compu-er”. The Dafter, having grown up here and gone to school with a variety of people including many Aberdonians, often uses the glottal (or is that glo-al) stop in her speech and I don’t bother to correct her because I understand why. We all develop slightly different ways of speaking depending on who we’re speaking to. There are many children born here whose parents are from elsewhere; some of them master the local dialect perfectly, and why shouldn’t they?
However, evidently she has not adequately camouflaged herself, because she has been severely scolded by the Pronunciation Police at her high school. “It’s Ka-ee, not KaTie!!!” But the Dafter said to me, “I’m not going to change how I say KaTie just to suit them!”
It really does bring it all back – being teased for using “long words” and so forth. Who would ever want to be in high school again? I remember being told at the time that high school would be the best years of my life, and I sincerely hoped they were wrong. And thankfully, how very, very wrong they were!
S’la-er, as we say in Aberdeen [= see you later]!