RAPAQ on Scots Orthography

This discussion on Scots orthography started on a thread on Ulster Scots. It switches from English to Scots depending on who is being responded to.

It contains some technical descriptions of sounds and spellings using the following conventions:

< > for spellings - e.g: <ui>
[ ] for sounds in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), e.g: [ø]
/ / for phonemes (sounds that distinguish between the meaning of words), e.g: /ø/

I also use capital letters between slashes - e.g: /UI/ - for the underlying pan-dialectical phonemes, or diaphonemes, of Scots.

Because this started as a discussion on a thread where I did not have IPA immediately available, I also sometimes use capital letters or italics for spellings (e.g: UI) and inverted commas for spellings and non-IPA representation of sounds (e.g: 'ah'). For the purposes of this website, I have often used casual representations in inverted commas as well as IPA for sounds.

 Q. Is gettin fowk tae speak Scots no mair important nor orthography?
The raeson that orthography keeps comin up is the same wey that ye wadna can no speak aboot a elephant if thare wis ane i yer livin room. Tae quote the Wikipedia airticle:

"Elephant in the room" is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.

It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue."

The difference is that this elephant is no completely ignored - it's mair like that the bairns keeps pyntin it oot, whaurbyes the growen-up fowk keeps tellin thaim aff an pittin thaim tae bed wi nae supper.

Tae tak the example o hou tae get fowk tae speak Scots. Inasfaur as fowk is speakin less Scots, thay'r speakin mair English. At the schuil, in the media - aa maistly English.

Ye wad think that ane o the weys that fowk micht speak mair Scots wis if thay heard mair Scots on the TV an that. But Scots on the TV is jist colloquial speak, like the Yorkshire or Cockney or American thay micht hear on onie ither program. Wha's tae say whit's Scots an whit isna?

Mairatower, maist o the ideology lately haes taen the view that nearhaund oniething is Scots, it's jist a continuum, an that makkin ae kynd oot tae be better than anither is wrang. Taen tae a conclusion, this seems tae mean that speakin aboot fowk speakin 'mair' Scots haes nae meanin.

Nou - imagine that insteid o this scenario, the war somethin caad 'Scots' that coud be seen written doun an that broadcasters an siclike coud refer tae, no tae finnd oot whit wis richt an wrang or guid an bad, but jist tae finnd oot whit it wis an whit it wisna. That wad mean writin it doun in a wey that fowk could lift.

If ye'r writin somethin ye hae ta uise some kynd o spellin. The want o a orthography means that this will aye be a problem - whit ae bodie writes doun micht no be whit the ither ane lifts. In ither wirds, ye canna get awa frae the spellin problem wi no speakin aboot orthography - gin ye write ava ye maun spell somewey or ither. Raither, the want o a orthography means that thare will aye be a ongaun spellin problem that means the issue will aye come up.

The'r twa ither aspects. The first is that orthography is jist ae end o the elephant - the'r grammar, vocabulary, an ither things tae - it's jist that orthography is whaur it's stucken - caa it the elephant's erse if ye like! - cause naebodie can get by it tae the ither pairts.

The ither ane is that thare is a orthography - standard English orthography an its representation o standard English as the ae hale an hauden leid - that the hale elephant thing is ettled tae hain alane.

P. Scots Online haes some guid wittins aboot orthography, siclike as the uise o <ui> as a pandialectal spellin.

Scots Online is a wabsteid awned bi Andy Eagle, that wis fankled alang wi mysel in the failed ettlin tae come up wi a Scots orthography ower ten year syne (caad at that time RRSSC, Report and Recommendations of the Scots Spelling Committee). As ye say, it socht tae spell Scots efter a braidly tradietional spellin (for example, <au> initial an medial an <aw> final), wi diaphonological principles (eg: <ui>) tae mak it mair adaptable, an inhaundin baith auld-tradietional (ou) an modern-tradietional (oo) forms. Andy's site is no exactly the same as my spellin, but it comes frae the same schuil o thocht, ye micht say.

The raeson this failed wisna oniething tae dae wi the richts or wrangs o the principles or recommends in the blad itsel - it set oot principles that coud hae been adaptit different weys - for example, criteria for uisin aither <oo> aawey, or <ou> aawey, or <oo> an <ou> sae as no tae cause raivelment wi ither - an the war recognietion o the fact, for example, that preposietions an pronouns coudna be spelt wi the same criteria as the feck o the vocables. The raeson it failed wis ideological - cause it cam intae conflict wi the prevailin view o Scots as vyces an variation. The hale ettlin - no oniething in o't, but the hale idea o daein the like - wis sayed tae me tae be 'totally irrelevant' bi ane o the maist influential bodies in Scots academia an promotion evenou.

Sae it disna maiter whit airguments ye uise, whit principles ye apply, or whit recommends ye mak. It's richt eneuch that onie threipin aboot orthography is feckless, cause the hale ideology o Scots in Scotland is agin it - except for whit I caa back-passage prescriptionism, that means that the spellins o thaim that's maist ostensibly agin spellin comes tae be recommendit hidlins. The only principle that beirs onie gree is the centrality o standard English as the sun that Scots variations orbits aroond - a principle that wis re-iteratit time an time again in a lot o blads frae the end o the 20th Century. For example, in educational blads ane o the raesons for teachin Scots dialects wis explicitly statit tae be tae emphasise the need for a standard language - English.

Anither pynt is that, in my experience, Scots speakers disna accept spellins like <ui> ava. Maist fowk can only think in terms o the standard English spellins that thay'r acquant wi, an whit thay represent. Faur simpler diaphonological spellins - like the fact that, in Shetland, ye coud hae the same spellin tae represent baith the 'au' an 'aa' variants o the the lang /a:/ phoneme - is taen tae be self-evidently ridieculous (e'en tho ye actually finnd it in writin, whan fowk that speaks a different wey comes tae be mair acquant wi a certain spellin). The likes o thon wad tak education in a normalised orthography - the ae thing that baith the Edinburgh an Lerwick intelligentsia, wi thair thirldom tae standard English as the acrolect, is maist determined tae evite.

Tae howk up the RRSSC wey o thinkin for a wee (like wowfs wis repute tae dae wi corps i the auld days) the thinkin ahint <ui> an <eu> wis steered bi hou thay'r pronunced in different airts.

Whit I sall write as the /UI/ diaphoneme is pronunced [e], [ɪ], [i] or [ø] ('ai', 'i', 'ee' or 'ö') in different airts, like in 'muin', 'puir', etc. But the underlyin diaphoneme gangs a different airt afore velars - whaur it's sayed eg: [u] or [ju] ('oo' or 'yoo') in some pairts, an [ʌ] (like in English 'luck') in ithers. Sae <eu> afore velars in wirds like 'leuk', 'beuk' and 'leuch' - wis tae sinder it frae the different local pronunciations o <ui> but keepin the adaptibielity tae the ither different local pronuncations. Afore /r/, in Scottish Scots oniewey, /UI/ in wirds like <puir> jist follaes the same pattern as in <muin> an siclike, takkin accoont o regular lenthenin efter the Scots Vowel Lenth Rule (SVLR).


muin - pronunced 'min', 'mane', 'meen', 'mön' (aiblins 'mün')
puir - pronunced 'pair', 'peer', 'pör'
eneuch - pronunced 'anyooch', 'anuch' [ə'njux], [ə'nʌx]

Jist tae gang ower hou the <ui> spellin cam aboot:

The <ui>, an aerlier <u-e> spellins, wis weys o pittin ower the Scots phoneme that stertit aff as a lang Auld English [o:] 'oh' soond. This wis written <oo> in aerly modren English. The soond than chynged tae [u] 'oo' in English, an that's whit wey we perceive written <oo> as a 'oo' soond.

In Scots, this soond becam a front soond, [ø~y], like German ö or ü. Soonds like this bade on in sindrie teuchter airts like Shetland, Angus an the Borders, but in the Central belt this soond syne becam [ɪ~e~e:] ('i' tae 'ai') wi [e:] efter the SVLR (Scottish Vowel Lenth Rule) tho some dialects - like I think East Fife - wad hae [e] 'ai' whaur ithers wad hae [ɪ] 'i'. In the North East, this soond chynged tae [i] 'ee'.

(Tae complicate things a bittie mair, in Central Scots dialects, anither phoneme aathegither - the /OU/ ane in wirds like 'blue' an 'toon' - is pronunced [y] - like u in French tu or ü in German - mair like whit the /UI/ phoneme is in some ither dialects. Sae speakers o ither dialects micht perceive the spellin <puir> as this pronunciation - actually the Central Belt pronunciation o the English wird poor, no the Scots wird puir, that's pronunced 'pair' [pe:r] in the Central Belt.)

This byles doun tae the fact that wirds wi the orieginal /UI/ phoneme is sayed different weys in different Scots-speakin pairts, eg (wi nae IPA):

muin - 'mün', 'min', 'meen'
puir - 'pür', 'pair', 'peer'

In a kintra whaur thay war a concept o a 'language' caad 'Scots', it coud be written <ui> in aa thae wirds, an bairns wad be telt that it wis pronunced 'i' or 'ai' in the Central Belt, 'ee' in the NE, an 'ü' or siclike in the Borders - etc. This wad be a bittie like Welsh bairns kennin that written w, y an ai is pronunced like English 'oo', 'u' an 'y' in wirds like cwrdd, dyma an gair. Thay'r lairned it whan thay lairn tae read an write the language, an naebodie girns that it's silly, ridiculous, or impossible or whitivver jist cause it happens tae be different frae English. Spellin is jist a convention, an Welsh an English haes different anes.

But, sin the'r nae education in Scots, an sin Scots speakers canna forordinar thole the thocht o lairnin oniething ither nor whit thay areddies lairnt whan thay war lairnin tae read an write English, the meanin o the <ui> spellin is indeterminate. In the Central Belt it's maistly uised for the short 'i' [ɪ] soond in wirds like 'guid' but no for the lang 'ai' ane in anes like 'puir' [e:] - sae the recommendit spellins for Scots increasingly haes Anglophonetic spellins like 'yaise' an 'shair'. In Shetland - whaur the actual /UI/ phoneme is forordinar spelt <ö> - it's aften uised in wirds pronunced [ju], 'yoo', that I wad spell <eu>, like 'heuk an 'neuk'. An i the NE - as weel as bein uised whiles in wirds like 'neuk' - it's whiles pickit up as meant tae shaw the 'Glesga' (actually pan-Central) close front [y] 'oo' soond that's a different phoneme aathegither. Cause whan Central Belt fowk says [myn] an [py:r] thay'r actually jist pronuncin the English congnates 'moon' an 'poor' wi thair accent. The Scots maks in thair accents wad be sayed 'min' [mɪn] an 'pair' [pe:r].

Say naebodie kens whit the <ui> spellin means, or whit it's supposed tae soond like - no cause it wadna be easy tae lairn (a generation o bairns wad lairn it nae bather) but cause o the determined ideology tae keep 'Scots' as a unlairned an basically unlairnable bourach o variations frae standard English, wi aathing expressed in terms o standard English, contrastit wi standard English an referred back tae standard English.

Sae speakin aboot orthography for Scots in Scotland is feckless, cause oniething ettled tae represent onie strynd o Scots as a hale will be shuiled oot the byre - only Anglophonetic representations o dialects is alloued. The result is that the Anglophonetic representation o Central Belt dialect bi fowk that haes opprobriumatit onie suggestion o orthography is whit is representit as 'Scots'.

The ideology ahint this wis expressed bi the bodie that haed the owerance for Scots whan the SNP first got in. She sayed that oniething duin aboot Scots wad need tae be boddom-up raither not tap-doun. Of coorse, nae written language wis ivver cleckit boddom-up - the incentive aye comes frae educate an influential fowk - an sae whitivver the 'boddom' here wis supposed tae be, it could only hae come frae tap-doun first, frae education in written English, an the only fowk that could implement it wadna be fowk at onie rael 'boddom', but the anes that wants tae keep it thair. In onie rael language effort education wad meet naitural speak an cross ither tae gang baith weys. In Scotland, thay collide an stop deid, in a process that I'v caad ithergaits 'Glenalmond meets the schemies.' An the only 'boddom up' that results is in the shippin sense.

Aa the problems wi this is awin tae a boddom-up approach, whaur aabodie dis things thair ain wey efter English analogies. In a tap-doun approach, whaur a orthography wis biggit on diaphonological principles an than teached, it wad aa be as easy tae yer ilkaday Scots speaker as makkin instant coffee. It's the boddom-up approach says ye'v tae stert wi growin the coffee beans in yer tenement windae-box yersel.

Q. Is no bein phonetic mibbie a rael advantage? A Ulsterman can pronoonce 'aboon' ae way, A Doric lass anither and a Fife bairn yet anither.

No phonetic, aye; but the spellins wad hae tae be waled sae as tae sinder underlyin phonemes. If ye spelt thon wird wi <oo> thare wad be nae logical wey tae sinder it frae the <oo> in wirds like 'oot' that's no pronunced wi thon variants, unless ye aither (a) lairnt a hale lot o exceptions tae the 'normal' pronunciation o <oo> as [u], or (b) spelt the [u] soond as <ou> aawey, leadin tae maks like 'out' that wad tend tae be pronunced the Engish wey.

On the ither haund, if aa thon class o wirds wis spelt <ui> - muin, abuin, fluir, shuir, etc - thare wad nivver be onie dout - ance the convention wis lairnt, an thare's the proverbial rub - that thay war supposed tae be pronunced the regional wey [ɪ~e], ('i~ai') [i] ('ee') or [ø~y] ('ü~ö') an no [u] ('oo') like in 'oot'.

On phonetic spellin, of coorse, onie phonetic spellin that disna uise the Deuchars (India Pale Ale, IPA, bad pun alert) maun be 'phonetic' efter some convention - an for Scots, that means English. It means an aa that ye can only spell ae dialect that wey - ye canna represent dialect variation in the same spellin - sae ae dialect maun beir the gree - come tae be a defaut standard. This is whit wey rejectin a tap-doun, diaphonological orthography means that Anglophonetic spellins o Central Belt dialects is comin tae be representit as 'Scots', in the process I keep caain back passage prescriptionism.

I wad say that <ui> is ae tradietional wey o representin the /UI/ phoneme, the ither ane bein <u-e> like in 'mune', etc. Houanivver, atween conflict spellins (eg: 'cute' insteid o 'cuit' for English 'ankle') an the fankle o pittin on endins tae wirds areddies endin in <e>, <ui> is mair practical.

Q. Is the rael elephant i the room no the fact that Scots dis hae a modren spellin tradietion - the ane set oot bi Dudley D. Watkins at DC Thomson in Oor Wullie an the Broons an that's reflectit in the wee SLD dictionaries?

Did Oor Wullie an the Broons no faa back on English forms a lot o the time? (No tae mention apostrophes.) Dinna ken aboot the different eras an the like, but it wad be interestin tae see hou thay spell UI wirds - UI/U-E, Central I/AI, or English maks like 'use' , 'sure' an the like. Than thare's, for example, whit tae dae wi the maks that haes apostrophes - gin ye dinna hae "a'", "fa'" an siclike - an the wee SLD dictionaries jist keepit the apostrophe in some o that wirds as faur's I can mynd - than hou div ye spell thaim? The fact is that only the apostrophied spellins is tradietional for thae wirds, an oniething ither - whither it's -aa, -a, or -aw - haes tae be introduced. I wad jalouse that the same micht be the case for wirds like 'shuir' an 'uise', whaur the only famieliar spellins is the English anes. I wadna be surprised tae finnd that thare's whiles Scots forms - likely no aye the same anes aither - an whiles Engish anes.

In ither wirds, it's the 95% rule again. This kynd o tradietion can tak ye maist o the wey. It's the final reddin up - the ane that wad mak Scots suitit for things ither nor cartoons - that's the step ower faur.

Q. Is it no feckless tae let the last 5% be a haudback?

Sae whaur div ye gang? The Willie Winkie sang - tae tak jist twa examples - haes some wirds spelt wi 'oo' an some wi 'ou'. Hou div ye chuise whit anes tae spell whit wey? If ye say it disna maiter - lat aabodie dae it thair ain wey - than whit % o wirds is that gaun tae leave wi'oot a reference? The Scots School Dictionary haes jist 'toon' an 'goon' for wirds spelt 'goun' an 'toun' in the poiem. Sae whit tradietion div we follae?

Waur still wi the anes I mentioned afore wi apostrophes. fa', fa, faa, faw - fower wyes - wha's gaun tae decide? On whit foond? Tradietion, regional pronunciation, whit? For want o a acceptit spellin, fowk that sees 'faw' is gaun tae think 'Glesga', 'faa' or 'fa', 'Doric' an fa' as a 'apologetic apostrophe'. Aathing that's written haes regionality or ideology aa ower it afore ye even read whit it means.

I dinna think it's a case o lattin the 5% (for the sake o argument) be a haudback. It is a haudback. The wey that written language wirks is that fowk - I mean, ordinar fowk - wants tae hae a famieliar-like written language. Thay - that is, some fowk, no ithers - micht persist a bittie wi dialogue, verse an cartoons written in this or that, but no consecutive prose writin. I ken fowk that winna even read dialogue in 'dialect'. It's the feck o fowk, no literary types an linguists, that a written leid maun suit. An maist fowk wants tae ken exactly the kynd o things - like hou a wird is spelt - that we'r telt aither disna maiter or wad be detrimental if it wis sortit. The haudback is in the naitur o things - the naitur o human perception.

Q. Why would Scots speakers use general spellings like UI for words - like Central 'min' (moon) and 'pair' (poor) and Ulster 'gid' (good) and 'abain' (above) - which don't all have the same sound?

The essence of the problem is contained in the word 'sound.' The only perception of Scots 'sounds' that Scots dialect speakers have is the sound of their own dialect, and the only way they have of representing that is by spellings handed down from English. The difference in vowel sound between, let's say, [gɪd] and [men] is perceived as a different 'sound' because [ɪ] and [e] are different phonemes IN ENGLISH (pardon me shouting!) - eg: 'pin' v 'pain' - the orthography of which is designed/evolved to distinguish phonemes (albeit inconsistently) in standard English, and which is the only reference which Scots dialect speakers are either familiar with or will tolerate. But seen in terms of Scots as a whole, the vowels in [gɪd] and [men] are realisations of the same underlying phoneme.

Sounds which have phonemic (meaning-carrying) significance in some languages can, in others, be simply different ways of pronouncing the same phoneme (allophones.) So in Engish, [ð] and [d] are different phonemes, but in Spanish, [ð] is just how you pronounce /d/ in an intervocalic position. English speakers hear then as different sounds, but to Spaniards, they are essentially the same sound. Scots dialect speakers tend to represent sounds which are essentially the same in Scots as a whole as different because they are different in English, and to represent sounds which are different in Scots as a whole as the same because they are the same in English. The only two reference points are English as a whole, and dialect speech represented in terms of that.

This is further complicated by the fact that, in Central Scots dialects (of which Ulster Scots is a form) the UI phoneme has actually disappeared as a distinct 'sound'. It has merged with /ɪ/ or /e/. Written as dialect, then, there is actually no need for the <ui> spelling in Central Scots at all - it survives only because of the familiarity of certain traditional Scots spellings, like <guid>, where it is then perceived as just another way to spell the [ɪ] sound. Central Scots dialects, in fact, have typically only 9 vowel phonemes as opposed to the 12 of Scots as a whole, which are preserved in 'lagging behind' dialects such as Shetland. In addition to the above, /ɪ/ often merges with /ʌ/ and /o/ with /o:/. This is why Central Scots tend to write eg: 'tull' instead of 'till' and 'shoap' instead of 'shop'. Again, this is owing to English being the only reference with which to represent the perception of dialect sounds, and the reason why spellings like this are increasingly recommended as 'Scots' owing to back-passage prescriptionism.

Insofar as only English sound perception is used in representing dialect sounds, these dialects are being represented as dialects of English; and that the result is that a particular dialect presented using largely English-based sound perception is ultimately represented as 'Scots'. This is the result of the successful effort in Scotland - I don't know about Ulster - to prevent Scots as a whole from having a specific identity.

The small dictionaries show a general tendency to spell words according to Anglophone perception. One example (in the Scots School Dictionary) is the headword spelling <deef> for deaf, which is (rather obviously) a BEAT word, and, like most words of that type, has regional variants in [i] and [e], like 'breid', 'deid', etc. The <ee> spelling emphasises the most common pronunciation at the expense of the adaptability which would have come from grouping it with other words with the same diaphoneme, and spelling it <deif> (which I would have thought was the most common spelling anyway...) Off-the-cuffism seems to be the guiding principle in some of these cases.

In RRSSC, the idea was to recognise that the 'classic' Scots <ei> spelling - often insisted upon as the default Scots spelling of the [i] sound in other spelling propositions - has in modern usage come to be more common in BEAT words, like 'heid', 'breid', etc - which have the [e/i] dialect variation - and where it would make sense to extend it to other words in this category, leaving the <ee> spelling for words which are pronounced [i] in all dialects, such as 'neep'. Again, the diaphonological principle, allowing one spelling to serve variants.

I think that it is above all the small dictionaries which should take these things into account because - in spite of assertions to the contrary - they are in fact more prescriptive than descriptive. However - as is shown by the Scots School Dictionary not recommending <ui> for the Doric 'ee' sound in words like 'puir', but rather citing Doric as an exception - it is essentially a dialect dictionary.

For example, the pronunciation guide explains that in some dialects the <ui> spelling is pronounced with a vowel similar to that in French 'peu' or German 'schön', but in others like 'ai' or 'i'. Then it says that 'In the Northern mainland dialects this sound does not occur: <ee> is used instead, as in <beet> for 'boot'.'

However, strictly speaking no 'sound' corresponding to <ui> occurs in Central Scots dialects either. It merges with /ɪ/ and /e/ just as, in Northern dialects, it merges with /i/. To say that it is 'pronounced' a certain way in Central dialects but 'does not occur' in Northern ones makes no sense except on a purely graphemic level which accepts the existing dialect spelliings as vario-normative, and by implication designates Central Scots as 'Scots' and Northern Scots as 'dialect'. As Iseabail MacLeod explained in 'The Scots Language, its place in education' the decision to spell Scots with forms which 'best reflect modern pronunciation' (ie, as a bottom-up reflux of top-down English conventions) was done in spite of 'constant conflict with the purists.' (P. 127).

The type of spelling used depends on the intention, and it is possible to think of Ulster Scots - or Shetland - or Doric - as a different entity requiring a different spelling. But these approaches to spelling are not confined to peripheral varieties, and are underwritten by the general ideological approach to Scots as a whole. If a diaphonological spelling for Scots were the norm, and people were familiar with it, they would be more aware of where their own form was both similar to and different from that norm. As it is, perceptions of similarities and differences are likely to be based on a combination of misapprehensions of existing spellings, phonetic hyperlocalisations and graphemic idiosyncracies - the fact that nobody knows what the <ui> spelling stands for being only one of many examples.

The level of Scots spelling can be illustrated by an analogy from English. If the word 'lane' were to be spelt according to Scots 'what it sounds like' principles by a Scot, an RP speaker and a Cockney, the results might be something like 'lain', 'leyn' and 'line'. Yet all can read written English with their own accents. It is this common literacy which Scots is denied, ideologically and with considerable determination, for ever and ever, Amen.

Regarding the fact that writers often use dialect and pan-dialect spelling inconsistently, here's a comment from a paper on my old website:

"Like that of many Doric writers, the spelling of Sheena Blackhall (who regards Scots as an oral language and professes a total disinterest in spelling) contains many spellings which are classic Scots rather than quasi-phonetic dialect spellings, such as 'toun', 'mou', 'heid', 'frae', and even 'bluid'. Elsewhere, she writes 'abune' (Doric 'abeen')."

It's often the case that more habitual writers will use less phonetic spellings, whereas people who aren't accustomed to writing anything other than standard English will simply express what they perceive as the sound of their own speech using English conventions. This can be seen at a micro level in Shetland, where more habitual writers tend to use spellings more like those in the Shetland Dictionary.

If Scots were a language where the intention was to achieve a high level of literacy, the former tendency would be developed. However, as Scots is a language where the intention is to prevent effective literacy other than in standard English, the latter tendency is normalised. (As always, excepting the increasing tendency for one version of that tendency to be recommended, in the process I call back passage prescriptionism, as 'Scots' leaving all other varieties as 'dialect'.)

Note on Northern dialects.

The correspondences between the Shetland dialects and Mainland Scots are sometimes not so regular as one would expect. There are a lot of weirdities in, for example, words pronounced with the /AE/ (beat) phoneme - eg: 'laek' (like), 'daek' (dyke) which, although they don't seem great in any one area, tend to pile up when you're looking at the thing as a whole. I suspect this might be the case, to a lesser extent, of dialects north of, say, Inverness. Correspondences in Doric, on the other hand, are much more regular - but any incorporation of Doric in a single orthography would not only require Doric to be written more like Scots, it would require Scots as a whole to be written in a way - such as the regular distribution of the <ui> spelling - which would incorporate the correspondences. This, again, has never been forthcoming in the influential recommendations. Again, such an undertaking would need to fall into the opprobriumated 'top down' area, and spoil the current system where top-down is reserved for standard English and everything else goes bottom-up.