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Shetland Dialect


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Should dialect be preserved in our schools?  

103 members have voted

  1. 1. Should dialect be preserved in our schools?

    • I think regional dialects have no place in formal education
      18
    • I think Shetland dialect should be part of formal education in schools
      87


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  • 4 months later...
Much yalliecrag in old Shaetlan from the Scotsman Wed 17 Oct 2007

 

from^^^

"clumbungie (a large, stupid person)"

 

Dat's a new een tae me! :lol:

 

Hoop dat dis "Dialect Ditty Box" maets wi sum success.

Hit is raelly unusual noo tae fin bairns using mony dialect wirds - dey ir certainly da exception redder is da norm. Sic is life, I suppose - aating moves on, bit it wid be fine if fokk kent whar dey cam fae an it wis a ting tae be enjoyed redder as disguised.

 

We wir geen sum lessons in dialect at Primary school in da late seeventies, maistly poetry, bit it wis positively discouraged during da coorse o normal skulewark. I mind dat da broadest spaekers wir ridiculed by wan o wir teachers - an no joost da Shaetlan eens, dey wir a Welsh boy o sum Sullom Voe eens dat got it an aa.

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  • 3 months later...

 

Very interesting! The translation is full of mistakes (as the author admits) and the story takes place in Unst. The Andrew Hey mentioned is possibly this fellow: http://www.bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I6254&tree=bayanne_1

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Well, didn't notice that, it's because Google.books recognized my computer as Russian and automatically changed its default language. The part "ru" in this link witnesses about it. So I've jsut replaced it with "en" and voilà:

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=qaklrCCQQgsC&pg=RA1-PA589&dq=twartree&lr=lang_da&as_brr=1&hl=en#PRA1-PA592,M1

 

(You can also notice that it underlines the word "twartree" just because I was looking for it in the books and don't know how to remove the underlining now).

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  • 2 months later...

I had the privilege of visiting one of the schools on Shetland's outer isles a couple of years ago (not naming any names!). I spent most of the day with the bairns and most of them sounded 'Scottish' despite the fact that they were native Shetlanders.

 

When I asked why, one peerie lass told me it was because she 'felt embarrassed' to speak dialect at school - 'wir teacher is English and so are a lot of the other bairns.' When I mentioned this to their teacher, I was met with a dismissive 'It's dying out anyway, so we don't really bother.' :shock:

 

What hope for Shetland's native tongue if children are made to feel that way by incomers, never mind when they actually leave Shetland? Can you imagine the onkerry if a bunch of Shelties were to descend en-masse on Surrey and dismiss the local dialect there as an irrelevance? :twisted:

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I had the privilege of visiting one of the schools on Shetland's outer isles a couple of years ago (not naming any names!). I spent most of the day with the bairns and most of them sounded 'Scottish' despite the fact that they were native Shetlanders.

 

When I asked why, one peerie lass told me it was because she 'felt embarrassed' to speak dialect at school - 'wir teacher is English and so are a lot of the other bairns.' When I mentioned this to their teacher, I was met with a dismissive 'It's dying out anyway, so we don't really bother.' :shock:

 

What hope for Shetland's native tongue if children are made to feel that way by incomers, never mind when they actually leave Shetland? Can you imagine the onkerry if a bunch of Shelties were to descend en-masse on Surrey and dismiss the local dialect there as an irrelevance? :twisted:

 

There is no hope for Shetland's native tongue.

 

The attitude that 'It's dying out anyway so we don't really bother' is simply one among a whole raft of attitudes, held both by Shetlanders and incomers, all of which tend towards its demise. In the pre-modern world, it survived only by default - because there was no reason why it shouldn't. In the post-modern global world, by contrast, there is no reason why it shouldn't die out.

 

The teacher's statement illustrates at least two such attitudes.

 

Firstly, language (you can justify this further by calling it 'dialect') is almost unique in that, if it is threatened, this is an excuse to do nothing. In other areas, if something is threatened - such as tigers - this is a reason to do something. While our attitudes towards many things have moved on, mainstream attitudes towards language are still like the attitudes we had maybe two hundred years ago towards things like race, gender and wildlife.

 

Secondly, it illustrates the attitude of Shetland as a whole that anything done about 'dialect' must be entirely unofficial - a matter for individual teachers rather than a matter of policy, as in Faroe, Catalonia, Wales, or anywhere else where local languages have been consolidated. Paradoxically, any robust attempt to do something about the Shetland tongue at an official level would be seen as a threat to people who speak only English. Again, this can be justified by classifying it as 'dialect'.

 

Local language death can be averted only in places where there is a strong sense of identity, and where that can be formally expressed by giving the language status. Shetland attitudes are basically mainstream, and there is no place for local language in mainstream thought.

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It's a matter of an attitude. I've heard that Welsh was in a similar endangered state, but then measures were taken (like what's being done to Gaelic nowadays) and voilà, now Welsh has the brightest future of all Celtic languages. So Scottish Gaelic supporters are trying to follow this model too. And then may be Shetlanders will wake up and think, hell, Wales has their language, Scotland does, Cornwall and Manx too, why would we give up our tongue? ;)

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she 'felt embarrassed' to speak dialect at school -

Embarrassment killed the Irish (Gaeilge) language (from its status as the prime language of Ireland) so why shouldn´t it kill a 'small English dialect' like Sheatlan too?

 

DePooperit is right about the 'language status'

 

No official status, no future, if you ask me.

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Official status is a bit too much I think, even if the dialect was spoken by everybody, official documents would still be issued in standard English. But encouraging the dialect by radio broadcasts and local newspapers written in it would be a good compromise and a good measure to maintain the dialect at no cost. But there's no even a page in the dialect except Wirhoose.

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