The Multiple Modality System in Southern Scotland: Levels of Acceptability of Double and Triple Modals in the 21st century Scottish Borders region

  • Anthony R. Bour Hermann Paul School of Linguistics


This paper mainly aims to describe and analyse the current syntactic and semantic system of Multiple Modality spoken and written in the Scottish Borders region. The task of the questionnaire survey is to get further details as regards this dialectal reality in which hundreds of combinations are possible. In total, 231 informants participated in this field dialectal enquiry from 2010 to 2013. The data analysed in this paper stem from the 2011 survey that mainly took place in Kelso and Jedburgh. 73 informants completed the structured-type questionnaire at this time. How many combinatorial possibilities are allowed in this part of Scotland? What are the possible positions of modal expressions in these combinations? What types of semantic interpretations can these combinations generate in the Borders? What is (un)grammatically possible in the varieties of Scottish English spoken in the region? In contrast to the American South, where a number of projects (both theoretical and field studies-based) have been undertaken since the 1970s, there are, at this point only very few answers to these questions regarding the Scottish Borders region. It is time to reactivate the knowledge in this research field in order to obtain a general syntactic overview of these modal sequences which were born in Northern Europe.

Language and Linguistics: Results