‘URBAN’ Scots may no longer be spoken in 50 years’ time – but independence could save the language, according to a study.

According to the report, schoolchildren “aren’t familiar” with commonly used terms including bampot, glaikit and stooshie and changes to pronunciation will see the hard “r” sound after vowels disappear from “working-class” speech, with the letter “l” left off the end of words.

The claims are based on analysis of Scots used in Glasgow by an academic from York University and a dialect coach who has worked with a number of Hollywood actors.

In the findings, the pair also claim the picture could be “very different” – but only if “a second independence referendum were to go in favour of Scotland’s separation from the UK”.

In this scenario, the authors say, “it might be that the Scots language lobby would step their efforts up a few gears, as a way of highlighting the separateness of Scotland’s culture and heritage”.

They went on: “Making the language of the new state seem as distinctive as possible is exactly what the Norwegians did when they split from Denmark a hundred or so years ago.

“One of the big unknowns when trying to map out how languages will develop in the future is the effect of political upheavals. The history of English is full of these: think of the arrival of the Vikings, or the Norman Conquest.”

Describing the language used in Scotland’s biggest city, the report states: “In Glasgow, and lowland Scotland generally, English sits at one end of a language spectrum.

“At the far end is the Scots dialect, which is so different from most sorts of English that some call Scots a full-blown language in its own right. It seems clear, though, that the urban Scots spoken in Glasgow is on the wane.”

Responding to the findings, Michael Hance, director of the Scots Language Centre in Perth, hit out at “ignorance” about the use and status of Scots.

He told The National the comparison with Norway did not stand and claimed the end of Scots has been forecast “for at least 200 years”.

Hance, from Bo’ness in West Lothian, said: “There is nothing more predictable than people predicting the death of Scots.

“There’s no point disputing Scots is a language. The people who call it that are the UK Government, who signed up to the European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages – they gave it a status. The other people who call it a language are linguists.”

Hance said the claims about younger people may not bear weight because it may be an issue of “fashion”, adding: “Teenagers speak one way at school, but another when they leave, when they start to speak like everybody else”.

Turning to the political element, he said the comparison with Norway, which gained independence in 1905, does not stand up because of the different cultural backgrounds and access to external media.

Hance said: “This situation isn’t the same. For a start, there are two versions of Norwegian, one which was created by nationalists. Also, there wasn’t much outside linguistic influence because Norwegian people weren’t bombarded every day by Danish movies, TV and radio.

“It was far easier to remove yourself from the influence of another language.”

He continued: “The ‘Scots language lobby’ is not political – we are not out to convince more people to speak it. What we really want is for the people who do speak Scots to be given respect.”

The Sound of 2066 paper, which also took in Newcastle, Manchester and London, was commissioned by HSBC bank in response to the growing use of voice-activated technology.

Written by Dr Dominic Watt of York University and Brendan Gunn, whose clients include Robert De Niro, it predicts a general contraction of words and simplified pronunciations as people try to make talking “as easy as possible”, with the “t” disappearing from the end of the word “text”, for example.

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