Lulu’s look on the BBC throughout protection of the Queen’s passing sparked confusion with viewers throughout the nation on the weekend.
Talking to Huw Edwards, the Glasgow-born singer, 73, left viewers baffled – not for the primary time – by her obvious swing from a broad Scottish brogue to a ‘transatlantic’ accent.
A lot took to social media to supply their response, whereas others, unable to carry themselves to observe a viral clip of her interview questioned if she ‘lapsed into colloquial Govan’.
Sympathetic ears held Lulu up as a ‘a sufferer of the Sixties bigotry round language, accent, and the British class/caste system imposed on Scots and others who wished to realize one thing’ whereas others prompt she was merely ‘channelling her internal Sheena Easton’.
Professor Jennifer Smith, Professor of Sociolinguistics on the College of Glasgow, instructed the Herald that Lulu’s use of ‘styleshifting’, fairly than be a tactic utilized by a minority, is one thing “all of us do”.
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She mentioned: “We gown in a different way relying on the place we’re going – a swimsuit to work or a maxi gown to a marriage.
“We additionally communicate in a different way relying on the place we’re or who we’re speaking to – the way you communicate to a trainer would possibly differ from the way you communicate to pals. Linguists name this styleshifting, and it’s one thing all of us do.
“A few of us styleshift just a bit – altering a couple of phrases right here and there. Others would possibly styledshift lots, altering the phrases, sounds and sentences of their speech.
“In circumstances the place a speaker has moved from one space/nation to a different, they may fashion shift lots. A part of the rationale for it’s because they need to sound nearer to the audio system within the new place.
“This sort of adaptation known as lodging – we accommodate to the audio system spherical about us. So, for instance, Lulu says ‘beauriful’ as that is how audio system within the States would say it. If she was speaking to her household, she would possibly say ‘beau’iful’”.
Reasonably than ‘sliding from one accent to a different’ within the eyes of some Scots viewers, Lulu was sliding from one finish of the Scots Linguistic Continuum to a different, Professor Jennifer Smith famous.
She added: “Linguists speak about a Scots Linguistic Continuum – at one facet of this continuum you’ve what we name Scottish Customary English. That is how Ewan MacGregor sounds and to simplify, that is English with a Scottish accent .
“On the different finish is Broad Scots. Kevin Bridges may be on the Broad Scots finish of the continuum, the place distinctly Scottish phrases (aye, wean and many others), sounds (hame, baw and many others) and sentences (gonnae you assist me) are used.
“Some people can slide up and down this continuum from Scottish Customary English to Broad Scots.
“That is maybe what Lulu does – within the interview she slides as much as the Scottish Customary English finish, however when she’s speaking to her household, she could also be far more on the Broad Scots finish.”
Professor Smith additionally confirmed that audio system like Lulu who slide from one finish of the continuum to the opposite could be thought-about bidialectal – proficient in or utilizing two dialects of the identical language.
Curiously, a 2017 examine by the College of Abertay, concluded that the mind treats a dialect and a language in the identical approach, with biadialectals displaying the identical ‘swap value’ sample as bilingual audio system do and completely different dialects (or intently associated language varieties) are saved within the mind in comparable methods as completely different languages.
So perhaps it’s Lulu who has the final giggle over her sceptics.