views updated May 18 2018

GLASGOW The largest city in Scotland and third largest in the UK. Like that of other Scottish regions, Glasgow speech is a continuum from the local accent of SCOTTISH ENGLISH to the working-class VERNACULAR. In origin a dialect of West Central SCOTS, the Glasgow vernacular has been modified by the mixing of population since the early 19c, resulting in particular in the introduction of several features from Ireland. Like other urban Scots dialects, it has suffered some erosion of traditional vocabulary. Partly as a result of this, working-class speech, known variously as Glasgow English, Glasgow Scots, Glaswegian, Glesca, Glasgow, Gutter Glasgow, has since the 19c been the archetypal stigmatized Scots speech, commonly described as ‘debased’, ‘hopelessly corrupt’, or ‘the language of the gutter’. In addition to the more or less localized features below, Glaswegian shares stigmatized features of working-class Scots generally, such as glottal-stop realizations of non-initial voiceless stops, use of past participles of verbs for past tenses and conversely, and multiple NEGATION: see GUTTER SCOTS. For features shared with other Central Scots dialects, see EDINBURGH.


The first three items are well-known SHIBBOLETHS. (1) Some speakers merge /er/ air with /ɛr/ err, as in Merry Mary, ferr fair. (2) Some speakers realize voiced th as /r/, as in ra for the (ra polis the police, ramorra tomorrow), brurra brother, murra mother. (3) In such words as want, water, wash the vowel is /a/, so that patter and water rhyme. (4) The words away, two, who, whose, where have an ‘aw’ sound: awaw, twaw, whaw, whause, whaur. (5) The /u/ of blue, room has a front, lowered realization, sometimes unrounded. (6) Unstressed final /ʌ/ appears in such words as barra barrow, fella fellow, Glesca Glasgow, morra morrow, awfa awful, yisfa useful.(7) As in Edinburgh, the enclitic negative is -nae, -ny, as in cannae can't, dinnae don't, whereas other dialects have -na. (8) /d/ is lost after /I/ and /n/: caul cold, staun stand, roon round, grun ground, win wind. (9) The form wan one, and the adding of a /t/ to once and twice may be from Ireland. (10) Except in shibboleths like It's a braw bricht munelicht nicht traditional Scots forms in /x/ are rare, although the usual ScoE velar fricative prevails in such words as clarsach, loch, pibroch.(11) Intonation is characterized by a predominant pattern of a markedly lowered pitch on the final prominence of the tone group, followed by a low rise, and in this position the final stressed vowel may be prolonged:ahm thaht depehhhhndint
hingoanti ma vowwwwulz
hingoanti ma maaaammi
( Tom Leonard , ‘Tea Time’, Intimate Voices, Newcastle: Galloping Dog Press, 1984)


Well-known Glaswegianisms, some of which are spreading or have spread to Edinburgh, are: (1) See as a topic-defining word, as in See me, see ma man, see kippers, we hate them. (2) Of ULSTER origin, plural-marked forms of the second-person plural pronoun: youse, yese, yiz you, also youse-yins you ones. (3) A stressed form Ah'm ur I am, Ah'm ur gaun I am going, Naw, Ah'm urnae No, I am not. (4) Certain reinforcing sentence tags: Ye're drunk, so ye ur; Ah'm right fed up, so Ah am/so Ah'm ur; Ah felt terrible, so Ah did; Ah didnae touch nuthin, neither Ah did. (5) Other tags: annat, as in Aw thae (all those) punters wi the wings an haloes annat (and that); terminal but, as in Ah dinnae waant it but.


(1) Localisms include: traditional dunny a basement, ginger a soft drink of any kind, sherrickin a public dressing down, stank a grating over a drain, wallie close the tiled entrance hall of a better-class tenement; more recent slang usages bam, bampot, bamstick idiot, boggin,bowfin smelly, heidbanger/heidcase a lunatic, malky a weapon. (2) Glasgow Scots is also receptive to slang expressions of wider currency like chib a weapon, nooky sexual intercourse, stocious drunk.

Written dialect

From the 1960s writings in and about Glaswegian have included, as well as caricature by stage comics and by authors of joke and cartoon collections, much poetry, drama, and prose fiction that treats the variety seriously and with concern or indignation at its status. Part of this writing, in poetry or prose, consists of representations of local speech, some of this in an ostentatiously untraditional ‘phonetic’ and quasi-illiterate orthography, intended to emphasize the demotic character of the speech. An exaggerated variant of this orthography has been favoured by or for the comedians Stanley Baxter and Billy Connolly. Both variants sometimes run words together to achieve an exotic or comically grotesque effect. In Scottish writing, this style, which apparently originated c.1960, is all but unique to Glasgow:
Another interesting word heard in the discotheque is jiwanni. To a young lady a gentleman will make the request—Jiwanni dance? Should she find that he is over-anxious to ply her with refreshments she will regard him with suspicion and inquire —Jiwanniget mebevvid? (

Stanley Baxter

, Parliamo Glasgow, 1982).[Jiwanni Do you want to get, mebevvid me bevvied (me drunk: from bevvy, a clipping of beverage)]ach sun
jiss keepyir chin up
dizny day gonabootlika hawf shut knife
inaw jiss cozzy a burd.
( Tom Leonard , from ‘The Miracle of the Burd and the Fishes’, Poems, 1973,Dublin: O'Brien)

[Ah, son. / Just keep your chin up. / Doesn't do going aboot like a half-shut knife. / And all just because of a bird (girl)]



views updated May 18 2018


GLASGOW , city in S.W. Scotland. The first Jew to settle in the city was Isaac Cohen in 1812; however there was no sizable community or synagogue until 1833, when services were held in the house of the shoḥet, Moses Lisenheim. By 1831, 47 Jews lived in the city, most of them originating from Eastern Europe, though six had already been born in Glasgow. Four years later the community acquired its first burial ground, which was used until 1851. There was a split in the congregation in 1842 when a hall attached to Anderson College was leased for religious services; a minority of community members objected, arguing that since human bodies were dissected at the college, it was an unfit place for a synagogue. Subsequent bitterness between the two groups led to court proceedings over the right to use the cemetery; the majority won the case. However, at the election of Nathan Marcus *Adler as chief rabbi of Great Britain in 1844, both parties exercised a vote. By 1850 there were 200 Jews in the city and eight years later they consecrated a new synagogue, known as the Glasgow Hebrew Congregation. In 1879 a synagogue was built for the community at Garnethill, with E.P. Phillips as minister; it was soon followed by two others in the South Side. (In 1979 the Garnethill Synagogue celebrated its centenary.) As elsewhere in Britain, an influx of immigrants followed the Russian persecutions of 1881; in 1897 there were 4,000 Jews in the city and in 1902, 6,500. Many of the newcomers, who settled in the Gorbals district, were tailors or furriers.

The community was always active in Zionism, supporting Ḥovevei *Ẓion in the 19th century and Zionist associations in modern times. Mainly because of the stimulus of the *Habonim movement, a large number of young Glasgow Jews settled on kibbutzim in Israel. A charity board originally known as the Glasgow Hebrew Philanthropic Society (1858) and later called the Glasgow Jewish Board of Guardians also helped in the organization of the Jewish Old Age Home for Scotland, situated in the south of the city. The Glasgow talmud torah and Board of Jewish Religious Education organized classes for children (as do the individual synagogues), directed the Hebrew College (for post-bar mitzvah Jewish education), and assisted in running the yeshivah. In 1970 there was a Jewish day school at the primary level and Hebrew was taught in two municipal secondary schools; Glasgow University taught both biblical and modern Hebrew.

The Jewish Echo (weekly, established in 1928) was Scotland's only Jewish newspaper until 1965, when The Jewish Times (later renamed Israel Today) was established. The community had many organizations of Jewish interest, e.g., Bnei Akiva, ort, and the Jewish Lad's Brigade (which claimed the world's only Jewish bagpipe band). Ten Orthodox and one Reform synagogue served the community. Religious leaders of note included Samuel I. *Hillman, Kopul Rosen, I.K. Cosgrove (1903–1973), and Wolf Gottlieb (b. 1910). Among the community's outstanding members were Sir Maurice *Bloch, Sir Isaac *Wolfson, Sir Ian M. *Heilbron, Sir Myer Galpern (b. 1903, lord provost and lord lieutenant of Scotland (1958–60) and Labor m.p. (1959)), Samuel Krantz (b. 1901) and L.H. *Daiches. Notable in the university as well as in the community were Noah Morris (professor of medicine), Michael Samuel (professor of English language), and David Daiches Raphael (professor of political and social theory).

In 1969 the Jewish population numbered about 13,400 (out of a total of 1,045,000). In the mid-1990s the Jewish population dropped to approximately 6,700. In 2001 the British census recorded a Jewish population of 4,224. Dr. Kenneth E. Collins has written a number of important studies of Glasgow Jewry, including Second City Jewry (1990). At the beginning of the 21st century, six synagogues functioned in Glasgow, which also had a range of Jewish institutions, mainly in the city's southern suburbs. (See also Oscar *Slater.)


A. Levy, Origins of Glasgow Jewry, 1812–1895 (1949); idem, Origins of Scottish Jewry (1959), 27–29; idem, in: jhset, 19 (1960), 146–56; C. Roth, Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950), index; J. Gould and S. Esh (eds.), Jewish Life in Modern Britain (1964), index; C. Bermant, Troubled Eden (1969), index; idem, in: Explorations, 1 (1967), 99–106. add. bibliography: K.E. Collins, Be Well! Jewish Health and Welfare in Glasgow, 1860–1914 (2001); idem., Glasgow Jewry: A Guide to the History and Community of the Jews (1993).


views updated May 18 2018

Glasgow, an ancient burgh (1175–8), first developed as an ecclesiastical centre on a hill near the cathedral. Having a grammar school from the early 14th cent., in 1451 the burgh acquired its university by papal bull and became an archbishopric in 1492. An attractive residential market town with its annual summer fair, Glasgow, little affected by the Reformation, was remarkable for its amenities.

From the mid-17th cent. Glasgow began to develop its overseas trade with Europe and the American colonies. By 1668 Port Glasgow had been established by Glasgow merchants. After the Union of 1707 Glasgow dominated the tobacco trade because of natural advantages reinforced by superior organization, and the city with about 12,000 inhabitants in 1700 began to grow as a manufacturing centre with its merchants controlling fine linen production over a wide area and developing other industries.

By 1776 Glasgow merchants imported more than half of Britain's tobacco and had lucrative re-export markets in Europe. The improvement of Glasgow harbour and the development of a diversified industrial economy had also progressed; the problems posed by the American War led to the formation of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (1783) and the growth of the West Indies trade. Cotton imports became significant, and Glasgow by 1850 had become a manufacturing city with a population of 345,000.

The importance of cotton diminished in the late 19th cent., but this was offset by the rise of heavy industry. Situated in a region rich in coal and iron, Glasgow became a major shipbuilding and engineering centre, the Clyde leading the world for tonnage launched and railway rolling stock and machinery produced. These industries were supplied by engineering firms which competed in world markets. By 1911 Glasgow had become the second city of the empire with a population of just over 1 million. A city with massive housing and other social problems, Glasgow was economically successful up to 1920.

The 20th cent. witnessed the decline of heavy industries. They were vulnerable to the vagaries of world markets, lacked adequate capital investment, and their record in labour relations was poor. Glasgow acquired the reputation of a politically radical city, Labour taking more and more political control, and the corporation embarking upon a public housing programme from the 1920s. Service industries gradually provided more employment, and consumer industries became more significant. Glasgow has gone full circle, important for its amenities—education, leisure, entertainment—and white-collar employment.

John Butt


views updated May 29 2018

Glasgow Largest city and port in Scotland on the River Clyde, Strathclyde Region. Founded in the 6th century, it developed commercially with the American tobacco trade in the 18th century and the cotton trade in the 19th century. Nearby coalfields and the Clyde estuary promoted the growth of heavy industry, chiefly iron, steel and shipbuilding. Glasgow is a cultural centre, with three universities, the Glasgow School of Art, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Industries: shipbuilding, heavy engineering, flour milling, brewing, textiles, tobacco, chemicals, textiles, printing. Pop. (2000) 609,370.