Second McIntosh-Patterson Studentship awarded to Sarah van Eyndhoven


Sarah van Eyndhoven, the second McIntosh-Patterson PhD recipient

The Angus McIntosh Centre is delighted to announce the beneficiary of the second McIntosh-Patterson Doctoral Studentship, Sarah van Eyndhoven.

Sarah is currently completing a Master of Arts in Linguistics at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where she also did her BA degree, majoring in both Linguistics and History.  She will be joining us in Edinburgh in January 2019 to begin a project that looks into the effect of political change on written language developments in historical Scots, focusing on the eighteenth century.

Congratulations, Sarah!

Here is a bit more on Sarah’s project, in her own words:

The relationship between language use and politics has been attested in a number of studies (Hall-Lew et al., 2017, Kirkham and Moore, 2016), but there is comparatively less research examining this relationship in historical settings. During the latter half of the eighteenth century Scotland saw increasing political unrest, generating radical activity and discussions concerning nationality, independence and identity (Bono, 1989; Pentland, 2004). Yet it is unclear what effect this had on use of written Scots. Whilst the anglicisation of historical Scots following the Union of Crowns has been relatively well documented (Aitken, 1979; Devitt, 1989a; Meurman-Solin, 1989a, 1992, 1993a, 1997a, 2000b; Romaine, 1989) there are few quantitative studies focusing on eighteenth century Scots. The only ‘political’ research has focused on the vernacular revival of Scots poetry during the late eighteenth century (Robinson, 1973; McClure, 1980; Jones, 1997; Smith, 2007; Corbett, 2013). These studies do not address whether particular political or patriotic sentiments affected people’s use of Scots outside the creative sphere, in other textual domains.

Advances in software aimed at corpus investigation and quantitative analysis, as well as the increasing amount of digitised historical material available, provide the opportunity to create a customised corpus built to explore this very question. This project seeks to compile and examine a large amount of textual material from the eighteenth century, to determine whether political affiliation affected use of Scots. I will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine various text types and the correspondence of key political players from both sides of the political fence. The overall frequency of Scots spellings and grammar across texts will be empirically investigated, comparing the use of Scots across text type and author. This will be followed by a qualitative discourse analysis to explore how questions of identity and nationalism were realised in the linguistic practices of these political figures.


Aitken, Adam Jack. (1979). Scottish Speech: a historical view with special reference to the Standard English of Scotland. In A. J. Aitken & Tom McArthur (Eds.), Languages of Scotland, 85-120. Edinburgh: W&R Chambers.

Bono, P. (1989). Scottish Studies: Radicals and Reformers in Late Eighteenth Century Scotland. In H.W. Drescher (Ed.), Radicals and Reformers in Late Eighteenth Century Scotland: an annotated checklist of books, pamphlets, and documents printed in Scotland 1775-1800, 9-31. Peter Lang: Frankfurt am Main.

Corbett, J. J. (2013). The Spelling Practices of Allan Ramsay and Robert Burns. In W. Anderson (Ed.), Language in Scotland: Corpus Based Studies, 65-90. New York: Rodopi.

Devitt, Amy. 1989a. Standardising written English: Diffusion in the case of Scotland, 1520-1659. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Hall-Lew, L., R. Friskney & J. M. Scobbie. (2017). Accommodation or political identity: Scottish members of the UK Parliament. Language Variation and Change, 29(3), 341-363.

Jones, C. (1997). Introduction. In C. Jones (Ed.), The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, 1-5. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Kirkham, S. & E. Moore. (2016). Constructing social meaning in political discourse: Phonetic variation and verb processes in Ed Miliband’s speeches. Language in Society, 45(1), 87-111.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 1989a. The Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots. Reprinted in Variation and Change in Early Scottish Prose: Studies Based on the Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 1992. On the morphology of verbs in Middle Scots: present and present perfect indicative. In Matti Rissanen, Ossi Ihalainen, Terttu Nevalainen & Irma Taavitsainen (Eds.). History of Englishes. New Methods and Interpretations in Historical Linguistics, 611-23. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 1993a. Variation and Change in Early Scottish Prose: Studies Based on the Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 1997a. Differentiation and Standardisation in Early Scots. In Charles Jones (Ed.), The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, 335-377. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 2000b. On the conditioning of geographical and social distance in language variation and change in Renaissance Scots. In Dieter Kastovsky & Arthur Mettinger (Eds.), The History of English in a Social Context. A Contribution to Historical Sociolinguistics (Trends in Linguistics, Studies and Monographs 129), 227-255). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

McClure, J.D. (1980). Developing Scots as a National Language. In J.D. McClure (Ed.), The Scots Language: Planning for Modern Usage, 11-41. Edinburgh: Ramsay Head Press.

Pentland, G. (2008). Radicalism, Reform and National Identity in Scotland, 1820-1833, 65. Edinburgh: Royal Historical Society.

Robinson, M. (1973). Modern Literary Scots: Fergusson and after. In. A. J. Aitken (Ed.). Lowland Scots: Papers Presented to an Edinburgh Conference [held on 12-13th May 1972] by The Association for Scottish Literary Studies Occasional Papers No. 2 (38-49). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Romaine, Suzanne. 1982. Socio-Historical Linguistics: its status and methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smith, J. J. (2007). Copia verborum: The linguistic choices of Robert Burns. The Review of English Studies, 58(233), 73-88.

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