Aye ay

Frae FB: advice please… the use of AYE… I always read it as YES, but now see it used as ALWAYS… does that not have a different spelling? The SRC posted recently (for instance) about a campaign with a button/badge (refugees) AYE welcome.

Tae me ‘Aye’ aye means ‘always’. But ay, some writers aye use the form ‘ay’ to mean ‘yes’. The DSL seems tae prefer the latter.

Allan Connochie: Same spelling can be used but pronunciation is quite different – at least certainly here in the Borders. (others agree)
Fiona Gourlay: “Aye”, meaning always, is pronounced differently from “aye”, meaning yes. I’ve aye seen both words spelt the same way. “Aye” (always) is pronounced fast, like “night” with a Scottish accent but faster, or like some people say “gey”.
“Aye” can also mean “still”, as in “Are you aye working at the factory?”…in this case “aye” is pronounced like the ‘always’ “aye”.
Angela Bell In all my life I never heard aye=yes and aye=always/still pronounced at all differently. But maybe that’s just Aberdeen. (others agree)
John McNairn: They’re two different short words with a different sound and completely unconnected meanings which have unfortunately ended up being spelled the same. The one which means yes rhymes with pie and the one which means always or forever rhymes with gey. But it is quite a subtle difference in pronunciation and not always obvious.
W Gordon Reid: The sound of “aye”meaning “always” is pronounced (in the Borders) like “like”!
Derrick McClure: AYE = “yes” is pronounced with the open diphthong as in SIZE, AYE = “always” with the close one as in NICE – so in Ayrshire, anyway, and as far as I know most other Scots-speaking areas. It’s not a recent development: they are actually two unrelated words with different etymologies. In English, AYE = “always” was used until well into the modern period (in poetry at least) and was pronounced to rhyme with DAY – think of “Ye gates, lift up your heads on high… [etc.]”.

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