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  1. 'Vod' is surely an old Old English or Saxon word (a dozen of words in Shetland lexicon are traceable to the old Saxon language). Obviously the same word as English obsolete wood, Sax. wod, ON óðr. The last word is related to 'ød', Sand/Wests 'yd' (to long for, to wish impatiently and anxiously; esp. of cattle), as given by Jakobsen. It a question whether JJ disregarded 'vod' as being Anglo-Saxon or just didn't catch it at all. It's certainly cognate with the Scots 'wod' or 'wud' with the meaning of 'mad', 'demented'. The 'vod' pronunciation doesn't suggest at first sight that it came by this route, or that it's derived directly from the Norse form. But old Scots had it written with 'v' as well as 'w', although again 'v' and 'w' were sometimes conflated in old texts. I'm not sure if its the same word as 'vod' meaning 'empty' in the expression 'vod hoose', which I can't find in Jakobsen either. The salient point here, though, is that although this is a familiar word to me in the sense of 'mad' or 'crazy, this sense doesn't seem to be well known in other parts of Shetland. Thus, whereas I would have introduced it into the Alice text in order to spread the usage of a traditional Shetland word, this would be repudiated by all the approaches to 'dialect'. The Lowest Common Dialect approach apparently prefers not to introduce words which will not be understood off the cuff by young Toonies or even recent incomers. One of the reasons I gave up writing was that words which are natural to me - such as 'laalie' meaning 'toy' - were being questioned, and I was given to understand that, if teachers read out my childrens' verses in school, they would simply substitute easily understood words - such as 'toy' presumably. I couldn't see the point in writing at all in that case. The use of 'mad' in the British English sense reflects another tendency of the Lowest Common Dialect approach - of excluding any usage which conflicts with 'proper' English meanings. I was told by some dialect promoters that, although the Shetland word for 'tooth' is 'teeth', they had gone through a text deliberately making sure that all references to teeth were in the plural, so that the singular 'teeth', which they fully realised was the natural Shetland form but appeared to be 'wrong' from a standard English perspective, would not appear. Similarly, to me, to 'lock' a door means simply to shut it (another genuine Norse usage). To lock it in the English sense, you have to 'key' it. I was told by dialect promoters that this usage had 'gone'. Yet my sister, who is ten years younger than I am and lives on mainland Scotland, uses this naturally and confuses her children. 'Gone' not from natural usage, but from the acceptability index of the Lowest Common Dialect approach. Similarly, the Variationist approach would reject any words which happen to have survived in my area but not in their's as 'Burra' or 'obsolete' or whatever, much as Ghostrider rejects 'bruck' in spite of it being in general use in many parts of Shetland. Finally, the Nornomaniac approach wouldn't be interested in 'vod' because it appears in Scots dictionaries but not in Jakobsen. Game, set and match to the Anglophonograph hegemony.
  2. Back to this one now: The reason I gave up writing the Shetland tongue was simply because there was no longer any point. Whatever you might say about the opinions or knowledge of the Shetland intelligentia and media, the fact is that they hold the knobs (can I say that?) that determine (or reflect, depending on your point of view) public opinion. Any form of Shetland writing that threatened to take on the characteristics of language rather than dialect must be seen as a threat, and come to be increasingly cited as a bad example. Anyway, my learning - if you mean academic learning - comes from outside of Shetland anyway, and I've lived outside Shetland most of my life, so I wouldn't meet your requirements either. The marrying of academic linguistic knowledge with the instinct of a native speaker is precisely what the mainstream view of 'dialect' finds unacceptable. Dialect speakers are supposed to the objects of investigation, not start to interfere with the process like Gerald the Gorilla in the famous Not the Nine o' Clock News sketch. But the Faroese language revival was brought about mostly by people who had studied outside of Faroe. If you did so you would be fitting into exactly the role that the Scottish establishment has carved out for dialect speakers. Did I ever mention that I was once taken to task by the Shetland literary establishment for disagreeing with the statement by Scottish writer James Robertson that Scots (but you can substitute 'dialect' because that's what he really means) is valuable for its 'less-than-respectable status: writers turn to it because it offers a refuge for linguistic individualism, anarchism, nomadism and hedonism.' It seems that Robertson was due to be feted by the Shetland establishment, and any criticism of this - English born, Glenalmond educated - pundit by one of the speakers of a form of language which is only supposed to be turned to for disreputable purposes was an embarrassment to the people who are ostensibly promoting that form of speech. If you write with the express purpose of being an awkward sod you will only be fitting into the niche which mainstream literary society has allocated to dialect speakers, and which is reflected in the literary lionisation of works like Trainspotting. But, with your propensity for scatological terminology, perhaps you would have some sympathy with this viewpoint anyway.
  3. Here's me answerin possts muckle sphincter (can I say dat?) first agen. I beg to differ. On a personal level I never heard the word "chuck" used anywhere in Shetland by anyone prior to the late 70's - considering multi channel TV and a Ro-Ro service arrived 76/77, I would contend that there may be some sort of correlation, but it was maybe nothing more than it took that long for the word usage to filter down to my bit of the south end. "Trash" on the other hand was in common usage by the oldest members of the community as early as I can remember, as in. "Yea, boy, goadliss weet simmer dis, wir ayr o' hey is naethin bit lags o' wirtliss traash". "Bruck" on the other hand I never heard used outwith the example previously given in my neck of the woods, and would speculate that today it is virtually obsolete, as those most likely given to using it in the example given have virtually all passed on now. I'm not contending that "chuck" and "bruck" aren't valid Shetlan words, they may well be someplace in the isle, I'm just saying that in the spoken Shetlan I've personally experienced, the former IMHO hasn't been in common usage for long enough to distinguish whether it has become a permanent addition or a "trend" of a generation or two. The latter on the grounds that its use in the last half century has been minimal, in a different context, and has been steadily declining to have reached the point now of virtual extinction. I think these comments are all examples of the 'snapshot' tendency I was speaking about. With regard to 'chuck' I'm not falling over myself to defend its use, although I don't see anything wrong with it. I'm more concerned about the idea that 'bruck' is obsolete. My comments about 'chuck' were more to illustrate the inconsistency of repudiating this use of a - perhaps recent- English loanword while recommending the use of other shared words rather than the to me obvious 'bruck'. (The fact that I can't remember hearing 'trash' used in everyday Shetland speech is another example of how shared English, as well as peculiarly Shetland, words can be localised, either in where they are used or where they aren't. If I heard anyone from another location saying it, I would probably just have thought it was an Anglicism and not remembered it particularly.) I think other people have said enough to illustrate that 'bruck' is not obsolete. In fact, in common with JGHR I get the impression that it's one of the more commonly used words, maybe especially in the sense - general rubbish - that you consider to be obsolete. I'm certainly not accusing you of being a purist - which is why I put the word in inverted comments. If you read back that post, you will see that I said that, from a 'purist' point of view, the peculiarly Shetland words 'bal' and 'bruck' would have been recommended. Since you didn't recommend 'bruck', but rather - um - unrecommended (?!) it - I can hardly be calling you a 'purist'. However, what you say about your approach to the Shetland tongue illustrates what I was saying. You are explicitly basing your approach to it - and your criticism of other versions of it - on what you describe as your personal knowledge. But your personal knowledge is by definition a localised snapshot - as your apparent lack of familiarity with the wide use of 'bruck' in other parts of Shetland illustrates. This is an example of how the dialect perception is inevitably reductionist. Rather than being expanded by the addition of words from different localities, as a language would be, it is reduced to a form which can only contain words or expressions which people are already familiar with from their own personal knowledge. This has two results. From the Infinite Variation point of view, only the dialect of a particular area is acceptable to the people from that area. From the Lowest Common Dialect point of view, a form of dialect is produced which has all or most of the characteristic traits taken out of it in order to not offend people from different localities and increase its acceptance among the people with the least traditional speech. In both cases, the result is reduction rather than expansion, and any expansive form of writing - such as I used to try to do, and which is what any speech form regarded as a language does - is repudiated from both viewpoints. However, the dialect terminology is in keeping with both the viewpoints I have described above. Whether something is a language or a dialect is largely a question of how it is regarded and treated by its speakers. Dialects remain essentially at the oral level (although in modern society they are more likely to die out than remain) being written only for specialise purposes - usually literary, and then usually verse - and survive only by default, more or less like the plants which agriculture and horticulture regard as weeds. Languages, on the other hand, are deliberately cultivated - most obviously by being given a common written form - and are used in all the domains of a given society. Faroese was, not so very long ago, an unwritten collection of very different dialects which Svabo - the first significant Faroese lexicographer - regarded as too corrupt to be worth saving, yet now it is used comprehensively in Faroese society and media, oral and written. Calling Shaetlan a language is pointless unless it is treated as one, and all the trends of Shetland society are against this. It seems pretty obvious to me that Faroese would never have achieved the level of success it has on the basis of your approach of repudiating the use of words which happen not to have survived in your locality. But of course, success isn't the aim here, is it? That was my fundamental misunderstanding when I started to write my native tongue - the idea that success was ever an option. When Andy Murray won the US Open, the commentator commented - it being a commentator's job to comment - that there would be no 'glorious Scottish failure' today. Shetland (including the Nornomaniac viewpoint, which largely echoes the tokenistic citation of Gaelic as the true Scottish language by people who don't speak it) is part of the 'glorious Scottish failure' mentality, where satisfaction seems to be derived from being generally negative. When I still came to Shetland, people who knew I was interested in 'dialect' scarcely missed an opportunity to declare that teaching 'dialect' in school would kill it off, or to make a disparaging comment about 'made up dialect' on the radio or 'dis dialect writers.' When I say 'success' I mean relatively, of course, because failure of 'dialect' to rise out of the stank and midden - with a token effort to salve the collective conscience - is of course success for standard English and the mainstream Scoto-British ethos, just as the failure of the council to manage Shetland finances seems to be working out as a success for the entrepreneurial classes.
  4. I don't think anyone is arguing otherwise. You queried whether it was English slang. Oh I see. What I said was 'The fact that 'chuck' is English (whether slang or not I don't know - I would say 'colloquial' English) doesn't mean that it isn't Shetland as well.' The important point here is that it is a word used in general English rather than a peculiarly or characteristically Shetland one (like 'bal' or 'bruck'). Whether it is 'slang' or not is more a matter of opinion than anything - the important point here is that it is used in general, if not quite standard, English. Not being used over all over the north of England doesn't mean that it isn't a northern English form - if that's what you're implying? Geordieland is in the North of England. Just merely giving an example of regional differences. Ah - I see. Are you talking to me here? If so, I don't recall any argument of mine about abortion. Were you referring to something I said in particular? Yes. And??? Oops, serves me right for not proof reading. I blame Ghostie for depriving me of nicotine. I'm still waiting for the characteristics of what I will now insist on calling 'Doospaek'.
  5. I don't think anyone is arguing otherwise. The point is that Ghostrider repudiates its use while recommending 'trash', which is equally English, as preferable to 'bruck'. Not being used over all over the north of England doesn't mean that it isn't a northern English form - if that's what you're implying? Geordieland is in the North of England. Are you talking to me here? If so, I don't recall any argument of mine about abortion. Were you referring to something I said in particular? I would be interested to know what the characteristics of 'pigeon' (I think it's 'pidgin' BTW) Shetland are. There are kinds of Shetland writing I don't like either, but I could tell you exactly why - things like ignoring the traditional Shetland syntax in favour of uncritically following English grammar, for example. However, in the case of the Alice text, it seems to me that the translator is following traditional Shetland grammar, and is still being criticised for not doing so. Both myself and Laureen Johnson - who translated Alice - are equally Shetland speakers whose language has been passed down through generations. What is it that makes this translation (or characteristics of it) unacceptable to Ghostrider? It certainly isn't an inferior pedigree. And why has my writing been used as a bad example to the extent that I have stopped writing it? Ghostrider's explanations of the things he doesn't seem to like about the Alice text - at least that small bit of it - don't seem to me to make sense, as I have explained in my post. And just talking about 'pigeon Shetland' without explaining exactly what is wrong with it is just invective. My own view is that (a) there is an increasing amount of Shetland dialect written which is simply Shetland words forced into English structure, owing to the fact that the formalising of grammar - as in Grammar and Usage of the Shetland Dialect - is held to be inappropriate for' dialect,' and the general deterioration of the traditional forms, but that ( this doesn't really make any difference, because any Shetland writing is going to be unacceptable to most people anyway. This is ultimately because Shetlanders in general are not - and do not want to be - literate in their own tongue, and reserve the right to judge it according to the 'snapshot' criterion that I spoke about earlier.
  6. Obviously 'trash' was used in some places. But that doesn't alter my main point, which is that Ghostrider, while deploring the use of 'chuck' as' English slang,' prefers 'trash' - which is certainly as much an English word as 'chuck' is, in the sense of not being peculiarly Shetland - to 'bruck' which is, if not peculiarly Shetland (certainly Orkney as well) at least characteristically Shetland. So we have: Bal as against Chuck Bruck as against Trash (or sharn) - I meant sh*te - (sigh). In both cases, the left hand word is a particularly (if not exclusively) Shetland one, and the right one is also English. One would think that, from a 'purist' point of view, you would want to use the characteristic Shetland forms 'Bal' and 'Bruck'. To prefer 'trash' or 'sh*te' to 'bruck' while repudiating 'chuck' doesn't make sense.
  7. This is the nub of the problem. It is, in fact, a description of one aspect of the prevalent dialect ideology - not the Lowest Common Dialect ideology, which is one aspect and the most influential one, but the Infinite Variation ideology. Put as simply as possible, you cannot preserve all the variants of 'dialect' - because, ultimately, it varies not only with locality but with each individual - therefore this is not a mere Herculean, but an impossible task by definition. Moreover, you cannot 'preserve' language, because language changes anyway. An example of how dialect ideology falls between two stools is that, whereas Infinite Variation ideology insists on preserving unpreservable nuances, Lowest Common ideology uses the idea of language change to justify regarding anything at all that varies from standard English as 'dialect'. Atween dis twa stuils da er*e faas trowe. At the bottom of this problem is the conception of Shetland speech as 'dialect'. Dialect, conceived of as 'dialect', cannot be 'preserved' - it is too local, too individual, and too ephemeral. What can be done - and what is done in places like Catalonia or Faroe where they take their native tongue seriously - is to establish a common framework which can accommodate the various strains of dialect within it. Both the Lowest Common and the Infinite Variation mythologies have managed to represent this approach as killing off variation, leaving the field open to the thing that is really killing off the Shetland speech - standard English, as promoted by the entire mainstream British society, media and education. As I was saying, this state of affairs is welcomed by most Shetlanders. The irony is that those who do not welcome it are still hoodwinked by the mythologies of the dialect ideologies, and by Nornomania, Nornophobia, or some combination of these. This exactly illustrates what I was saying. The main difference I see between your translation and the published one is style. Any language can accommodate a variety of styles, and, conceived as a language, so could the Shetland tongue. Conceive of it as 'dialect', however, and there are no criteria other than personal taste - and, more often than not, prejudice - to go by. And, as you point out, the result of trying to please everybody - by the pseudo-inclusive Lowest Common Dialect approach - is to displease everybody. That, of course, is grist to the mill of the viewpoint which regards standard English as the only real language anyway. In every language - and calling it 'dialect' doesn't alter this fundamental fact, because it's a feature of natural spoken language and doesn't depend on what you call it - there are some aspects which can be represented as formal grammar (e.g: the fact that the 'dae' form takes a plural verb), others which are at the level of idiom and can't be so definitively described (e.g: the nuances of using an expression such as 'wi dat sam') and others which must remain at the level of individual style. The differences between your and the published translations are mostly at the last level. If there were a language described as 'Shaetlan' or 'Shetlandic' in English, these differences would be recognised as differences of style, which they are, whereas under the 'dialect' perception they are merely bundled in with everything else. Another aspect of this question is the lack of literary precedent. Our experience of 'dialect' is only of the spoken form. But written language develops characteristics of its own. We don't notice this in standard English because we're so used to it. Another offshoot of the 'dialect' perception is that the Shetland tongue can never be allowed to develop the characteristics of a written language. And, as written language rarely if ever follows the exact nuances of speech, the Shetland tongue is caught in the impossible situation of being expected to be exactly like every individual reader speaks. Then, when it can't do that, it's dismissed as being artificial. The only answer is to have a recognised framework of formal grammar which then becomes accepted as a literary form. But that is a characteristic of language, not of 'dialect', and nobody in Shetland wants Sheltie Prattle to climb out of the ess and sharn and go to the ball. As far as the examples you give are concerned, when I read ‘Doon yun wye’ I imagined that the cat was pointing to somewhere downhill. Does the context prohibit this? I can’t see how you can complain on the one hand about over-literal translation, and then on the other not allow the translator any free reign for imagining the situation. You seem to me to be moving the goalposts to where you want to kick the ball at the time. Your ‘Athin dat ert’ is a much more literal translation than the published one. I’d have said, or written, ‘Ower yunder’ or ‘Ower yundroo’ but again it seems to me to be a difference of style. And I have in any case long ceased to present any of my own renditions to the bulldozer of comprehensive Shetland negativism. Your comment that ‘ Description of situation usually precedes repeating actual speech.’ is purely a result of the fact that ‘dialect’ is usually spoken and not written. In the phrase: "In that direction," the Cat said, waving its right paw around, "lives a Hatter: the phrase ‘the Cat said, waving its right paw around’ is a narrative tag. It is part of the convention of writing that such tags can come before, after, or in the middle of the speech, depending on the writer’s style and flow at the time. The actual speech, wherever the tag occurs, is ‘In that direction lives a Hatter.’ The only reason I can conceive of as to why you think this is wrong in the Shetland version is that you are unfamiliar with ‘dialect’ as a written medium (writings incorporating ‘dialect’ usually have the narrative tags in English) and react against any attempt to use it as such with the conventions that any written medium must use to be a written medium, instead of the conventional English method of having the dialogue in ‘dialect’ and the narrative - the voice of the author rather than the character - in English. The underlying presupposition is that ‘dialect’ is for the voices of characters who are written about by writers rather than the voices of writers who write. The idea that ‘paw’ isn’t a Shetland word is completely alien to me. A ‘cliv’ is a what a horse or cow has, a ‘paa’ is what a cat or dog has, and a ‘fit’ could apply to any of them. I’ve been telling dogs to ‘Gie’s a paa’ since I was about three. Again, this is an example of some completely localised, or individualised, usage, or lack of it. Similarly the idea that ‘wave’ is very restricted in meaning - I just don’t see this at all. Your entire approach, it seems to me, is to restrict language in a way which makes it effectively unusable, just as the Lowest Common Dialect approach expands it in a way which makes it ultimately meaningless. It seems to me that you have fallen into the trap of what I call ‘Snapshotism.’ That is, most speakers of any speech form reduced to the status of ‘dialect’ are aware of it only as a snapshot in time and place - their own time and place - and insofar as they are aware of variations they are likely to object to or ridicule them. I have heard Shetlanders describe pronunciations from about ten miles away as ‘hideous.’ This, again, is grist to the mill of the proponents of standard English as the only language accorded any written status above the level of cartoons, and poetry which hardly anyone reads anyway, because we all accept standard English without any of these prejudices. By contrast, speakers of a ‘language’ - such as English, or Faroese - are familiar with the various styles and registers, as well as the historical development, of their own language. There are a number of points here: 1. The fact that 'chuck' is English (whether slang or not I don't know - I would say 'colloquial' English) doesn't mean that it isn't Shetland as well. If it's used by a sufficient number of Shetlanders, then it is a Shetland word, whether it's shared with English or not. It seems perfectly natural to me, and I’m not a Toonie - I speak a traditional dialect of Shetland - all the more so, perhaps, since I have lived outwith Shetland since I was 18. Whether it would have been better to use 'bal' is another question. I do, however, see a slight problem with ‘bal’ in that’ to be equivalent to ‘chuck’, I would say ‘bal awa’ rather than just ‘bal’, and that wouldn’t make for a very memorable phrase. 2. I entirely disagree with the idea that 'bruck' is a rarely used word. In fact, to me, there is a definite distinction between 'bruck' and 'brucks'. 'Bruck' means 'rubbish' and 'brucks' - as you say - means left-overs, and would be a misuse in this context. 'Hellery' is to me a much more figurative word - I would never use it in the context of ordinary rubbish. To me it either means 'rubbish' in the figurative sense, or things which are perceived as being silly or superfluous - like Christmas decorations or fancy clothes or something! (Hence my liking for the phrase Up Hellery Aa, which would probably get me drummed out of Shetland if I ever appeared there again.) 'Sh*te' is just a Northern English form of English 'sh*t' and 'trash' - however many 'a' s you put in it - comes across to me as an Americanism - I’ve never heard it used in Shetland speech that I can recall. What makes these acceptable when ‘chuck’ is an ‘abortion’ beats me. 'Bruck' remains the most natural word for me for 'rubbish' and I would suggest that, rather than it being used by prim and proper people, it is a traditional usage which has been discarded by foul-mouthed people in certain localities who prefer to use scatological terms derived from English rather than traditional Shetland ones - a trend I've often noticed. In fact, the fact that it is still used by the people you regard as prim almost proves this - where would they have got the usage otherwise? The idea that words shouldn’t be used if they are regarded as ‘prim’ seems to me to be part of the idea that ‘dialect’ is intrinsically disreputable - which is simply accepting the sociological strata to which it has been allocated by the Great and the Good in order to preserve their own position as the Great and the Good. At bottom here seems to be a failure to appreciate the relationship between figurative and literal language. If a word like ‘bruck’ is used figuratively in a phrase like ‘lock o bruck’ it must derive from a literal precedent. If there were any intent to build up the Shetland tongue - which there isn’t - then words like this would be having their scope of usage increased, not restricted by the holes they happen to have been confined to by people’s propensity to resort to English swearwords. A second aspect of this is that many of the words which are regarded as being obsolete or confined to certain meanings are only obsolete or restricted in certain areas - I have come across this in being asked to remove the use of ‘can’ as an infinitive from my writings (as in the phrase ‘We winna can ta dui dat’) which is natural to me but has apparently died out in most areas. Other ‘dialect’ writers regard it as Burra, but it is much more likely that it has died out in their localities and just happens to have survived longer in Burra. Both the Lowest Common Dialect approach and the Infinite Variation approach would be against introducing it into a Common Shetlandic. Ironically, this usage - unlike many which are quoted as such - is almost certainly a genuine Norn one. I think this illustrates two things: 1. Slogans are rarely things that are naturally spoken - that’s what makes them slogans. To be memorable they have to be unusual. The rhyme in Dunna Chuck Bruck makes it memorable - and emphasises both a traditional Shetland usage (dunna) and a traditional Shetland word (bruck) where I still maintain that your view that it isn’t a natural usage is simply wrong. Dunna Bal Bruck micht have been better - replacing rhyme with alliteration - though less memorable. But ‘bal’ without ‘awa’ still sounds a bit strained to me in this context. 2. The irritation that you feel, I would propose, is not so much irritation with the phrase as such as unfamiliarity with the Shetland tongue being used outwith its traditional domains. If it were to be used as a general written medium, things like this would become just one more aspect of register - the ‘slogan’ register - among other registers that the tongue would be used for. As it is, it is almost impossible for anything to appear anywhere in any form of the Shetland tongue, except in the traditional domains of cartoons and poetry, without someone objecting - again, grist to the mill of the English-only hegemony. As long as anything written in Shetland offends anyone who speaks Shetland, there is no need for the archivists, journalists and others who preside over the exclusive dissemination of standard English to the masses to fear the loss of their privileged position as sole purveyors of linguistic mores, which is accepted by the majority of the Shetland population as part what might be described as their ‘settled will’ towards the relationship of the Shetland tongue to standard English. My own objection to the ‘Dunna Chuck Bruck’ sign is that this - along with Da Voar Redd Up and the Spaekalation column heading - has become one of the two or three token public appearances allowed to the Shetland tongue by the condescending local media. It is only because of a briefly more positive attitude towards the Shetland tongue in the past that they exist at all. You’re not familiar with the word ‘vod’ then? It’s a familiar word to me with this meaning, so I’m surprised to be unable to find it in either Jakobsen or the Shetland Dictionary. It’s more familiar with the meaning of ‘empty’ as in ‘vod hoose’ of course, and may be the same word. I’m not familiar with ‘krak’ in this sense and can’t find it in Jakobsen either, except with the meaning of ‘emaciated.’ I assume it’s not ‘cracked’? ‘Entirely deranged’ is just English, however you spell it, as is ‘lost dir judgement’. Again, how you can recommend phrases like this as genuine Shetland equivalents while regarding ‘chuck’ as an ‘abortion’ is beyond me. The only principle I can find is that you object to any English word you find in written Shetland, but you yourself prefer certain English expressions to traditional Shetland words, especially if they are scatological terms.
  8. I don't have an anti-Norse attitude. What I am anti is the tendency for the Shetland tongue to be seen as of value only insofar as it is seen in relation to something else, because constant concentration on aspects such as etymology distract from the fact that the Shetland tongue, as spoken by my generation at any rate, is, or was, a coherent linguistic system in its own right, irrespective of where its words originate from. The reason I might have seemed to be anti-Norse on Shetlink is that most of the opinions which crop up here tend to be from the Norn perspective. Where these contain erroneous statements I argue against them because, unlike most people who make pronouncements on 'dialect', I happen to know some of the facts, not just mythologise about them. One of the worst erroneous statements was Deardron's claim that some obviously Scots piece of grammar was Norse; another was ex-isle's challenge to find 'my Scots' in some examples he gave, which I then did. It seems that people don't want their mythologies challenged by a scientific approach. 'Dialect' isn't something you're supposed to know about, and people resent it when you do. The Shetland tongue has both Norse and Scots aspects, and I am equally opposed to Nornomania - representing as Norn what isn't - and what I call Nornophobia - an apparent fear on the part of the Shetland intelligentsia and media of recognising the Norn aspects. The difference is that most of those people, being part of the establishment, don't stoop to argue with the plebs on Shetlink, being secure in the knowledge that their position is the mainstream one and only requires the odd dig and jibe against any threat of 'dialect' getting beyond its station to be maintained. Therefore I don't argue with them on Shetlink, and therefore I seem to be anti-Norse. But it's just a selection anomaly. What I'm doing is presenting a scientific view of what the Shetland tongue is in opposition to the erroneous views which are used to bolster conflicting mythoideologies, and between which the language itself falls - which is the actual aim of the Nornophobe position, and the inadvertent result of the Nornomaniac one. There has been the odd example of Nornophobia, such as when Malachy objected to the word 'Shetlandic' because it sounded Nordic. Why shouldn't it sound Nordic - Shetland has a long Nordic tradition? But in general, Nornophobes don't bother to argue - they don't have to. The word 'Shetlandic' is despised by the Shetland population anyway, largely, I suspect, owing to its deliberate omission by the Shetland media - which might have made it familiar enough to be acceptable - and its replacement by the deliberately vague and undefinable 'dialect'. Speakers of 'dialect' are definitively influenced, in their views about this, by usage in the English-language media, now largely controlled by people who speak only English. The term 'Shetland Scots' - more acceptable to the mainstream Shetland intelligentsia and media than 'Shetlandic' with its connotations of a specific identity - will now probably become the accepted term, now that 'Shetlandic' with its threat of giving the tongue an identity of its own has been definitively seen off. Examples of Nornophobia are more likely, then, to crop up in the mainstream media than on Shetlink. One example was the first paper in Dialect '04, given by Brian Smith, where he started by quoting Thomas Hardy - thus placing the Shetland dialect on the same basis as any English dialect of England - and mentioned Norn only to 'get it out of the way.' This sort of obscurantism reflects the attitudes of an Anglophonograph intelligentsia to which you have to conform if you are to continue producing 'dialect' writing - one of the reasons I have stopped doing so, and probably why ShetlandForWirds appear to be Nornophobiac - if they weren't, they wouldn't survive the jibes of the likes of Smith and Tom Morton for an instant. The only reason they survive as is, is that the intelligentsia know that their present approach offers no threat to the established, Scoto-British attitude to language. Nornomania is a gift to the Nornophobes as well, because it gives them something which they can legitimately criticise. I object, incidentally, to anyone's writing being described as 'an abortion' without some detailed analysis to justify such a statement. My own writing was described in this way by Brian Smith in the same address - another reason I have given up writing. The bottom line is that anything at all written in 'dialect' will be described as an 'abortion' by someone, because ultimately standard English is the only written language acceptable in a society like Shetland. The other aspect of this is the Unst-based dictionary effort - Norn words highlighted in blue (again, reducing the tongue to an etymology mine), irrelevant arguments about the spellind of 'da' as 'de' (because of the spelling in Jakobsen's dictionary, which is Danish, not Norn at all), done, as far as I can gather, by people who don't write 'dialect', and in general gifting the Nornophobes a Nornomaniac approach which they can use as a foil. I do not, in any case, see why there is a necessity to try to identify Norn where it isn't, when there are vast numbers of Norn words in the Shetland tongue already. Or there would be, if part of the aim of Nornophobia was not to reduce that tongue to a Lowest Common Dialect which can be written off the cuff by any English speaker and still be commended as good dialect literature.
  9. The 'der' construction is, unfortunately, obscured by the reluctance of writers to spell the 'dae' bit as a separate word. That it is a separate word is clear from the following examples: Dae'r a maa on da ruif Ir dae a maa on da ruif? Dae wir a maa on da ruif Wir dae a maa on da ruif? Dae'r maas on da ruif Ir dae maas on da ruif? And even: Dae wid be maas on da ruif... Wid dae be maas on da ruif...? etc. The fact that 'dae' - as I spell it - can be used in questions in the form 'ir dae' and wir dae' shows that it is a separate word, and that the 'r' on the end is from 'ir' meaning 'are'. But Shetland writers, obsessed with varying as little as possible from standard English, persist with the 'der' form which confuses it with English 'there', or alternatively spelling it 'dey' which confuses it with English 'they'. The result is that an intrinsic aspect of traditional Shetland grammar is lost in orthographic confusion. Note also that, in these cases with both singular and plural subjects, the verb is plural. The 'der's' an 'is dere' forms are merely Shetland versions of standard English 'there's' and 'is there.' However, in this case, the verb tends to be singular in both singular and plural, e.g: 'Dere's a lock o cars on da rod da day'. Some writers - I don't know about speakers - mix these together, using the 'dere's' form in the singular and the 'der' form in the plural. Any robust attempt to do anything about the Shetland tongue would have emphasised the traditional forms, but in the Lowest Common Dialect ideology which Shetland has inherited from Edinburgh, anything is as much dialect as anything else. The idea of a Norn origin is probably mistaken. The 'Der' and 'ir dae' forms are both current in Scottish and Ulster Scots, where they are often written as 'The ar' etc, and where the grammar is exactly the same as it is in Shetlnad. As usual, non-knowledge about Scots means that things are misinterpreted as Norn - if the form is derived from Norse, it is characteristic of various forms of Scots, not just Shetland. And, as usual, concentration on Norn on the one hand and English on the other results in the Shetland tongue bein seen only of value insofar as it is related to something else. Kavi's comment that the 'der' form is a 'little bit of treasure' seems to me to be as much as saying that only Norn bits of 'dialect' are worth anything. Needless to say, the above comments can be ignored, as they are merely the opinion of someone whose writings are now of value only insofar as they provide bad examples to be cited by the Shetland intelligentsia. And what I say about Norn is equally valueless as, in the dialect ideology, myth - whether Nornomania or its equally unfounded counterpart, Nornophobia - is much more important than knowledge - which mere speakers of dialect are not supposed to have anyway, dialect being per se an index of ignorance, and knowledge about it being the prerogative of those who speak it least. The unchallenged progress of standard English is the only possible - and in the view of most Shetlanders doubtless the only desirable - result.
  10. I can't understand how you can regard this passage as translated literally form English. “In that direction,†the Cat said, waving its right paw around, “lives a Hatter: “Doon yon wye,†said da Cat, wavin his richt paa aboot, “der a Hat-makker at bides: Where is the literal translation here? The Shetland translation doesn't have any literal translation of the English syntax. 'Doon yun wye' for 'In that direction' where a literalistic translation would have been 'In dat ert'; 'Der a hatter at bides' - using the characteristic Shetland constructin with 'der' (or 'dae'r' as I would spell it) and the use of 'at' as the relative pronoun, where a literalistic translation would have been 'bides a Hatter.' There's no basis whatsoever for saying that it is translated literally, and I suggest that you have started this post by saying that it has been translated literally because - exhibiting the characteristic negativism of Shetlanders towards anything that is peculiarly Shetland - you assume that it must have been without really having read it. I've noticed this in your posts before. There was one, if I remember correctly, where you complained that 'Dunna chuck bruck' - which you described as an 'abortion', a word which has been used for some of my own writings before now and for similar reasons - should have been 'dunna bal sh*te'. I can understand why you might want to change 'chuck' to 'bal', but it beats me why 'sh*te' should be regarded as more 'Shetland' than 'bruck', except insofar as 'dialect' is subconsciously regarded as a medium peculiarly suited to the scatological. Of course, I'm only repeating this from memory, so if I have misrepresented your views on 'dunna chuck bruck' I apologise in advance. I would also suggest that you have fallen into the trap of regarding authentic Shetland in terms of your own speech and that of your own locality without having an understanding of which aspects are characteristic of Shetland as a whole, as the 'der' etc. constructions certainly are. It is a tragedy (or would be, if the issue wasn't already effectively dead) that writings such as this which attempt to follow the characteristic Shetland syntax are criticised for that very thing, when there are many 'dialect' writings which don't even attempt to do so and are still regarded as good 'dialect' writing. My take on this is that it doesn't matter what is done about the Shetland Dialect - anything will be regarded negatively by Shetlanders. I have my own reservations about this translation, and I could be negative about it too. For one thing, to me, 'mad' doesn't have the English meaning - it means 'angry', as in American English, and the natural word with the 'insane' meaning in Shetland is 'vod'. Before I finally gave up writing my native tongue I increasingly found that the 'old' Shetland words, and words which conflicted in meaning with English (such as 'traivel' meanin 'walk' rather than 'travel') were becoming unacceptable in 'dialect' writing constrained by the digs and jibes of the Shetland intelligentsia. And what do you think of the term 'Shetland Scots' - is this more acceptable than the despised 'Shetlandic' or 'Shaetlan' which nobody can agree on how to spell? (I've seen it spelt 'sh*tland' on some forum or other.) But literal translation is certainly not a fault of this text - the idea that it is just illustrates that ultimately nothing written in their native tongue is going to be acceptable to the majority of Shetlanders.
  11. My favourites: Poseidon: Another Christian that can't spell (hyphenate) or speak grammatically, And using the "no true Scotsman" Argument to boot Laughing Log on to any evangelical website and the first thing you'll notice is their lack of basic English. Edit. Not just a sleight on Christians, I also pull up non Christians on bad grammar and spelling. _________________ If God wanted us to believe in her she would exist. AND I would have thought basic English would be a requirement for admission to uni? Your childish deliberate misspelling above says a lot about you. Smile There once was a Santa called Nick Who said, 'My old sleigh will need fixed. It got sleightly bent - Just a sleight little dent - When I skidded it reight in a ditch.'
  12. Well, there's (at least) two possible stages - the first would involve only the mods knowing peoples' real names, and the second posting using only real names. Many forums allow posting under a pseudonym but require real names etc. (though I don't suppose many of them check up on them) for registration. That would allow anonymity for posting but still maybe make folk think twice about what they say. I would have thought that, in a place the size of Shetland, fake names and addresses would be more easily 'rumbled'. Wouldn't make it any easier in the case of posters from outwith, of course.
  13. Maybe it is. But most of it is still in English, mostly because many of the queries are from people outside of Shetland. Obviously if someone asks a question in standard English and they're obviously not from Shetland, you're going to reply in standard English. So there's a situation where, while you know you can post in the Shetland tongue in the Shetland section, most of the time you don't; and whether you can or not in the forum at large is a good question. But I return to the point which several people have mentioned. Anonymity is the real problem. I wonder how many of those who make comments about 'crap written in dialect' or 'Jesus freaks' or whatever would do so if everyone knew who they were. Well, maybe they would stick to the 'crap written in dialect' at least, because that's a pretty well accepted view of mainstream society. And anti religion is becoming so. Hmm - maybe lack of anonymity wouldn't solve as many problems as I thought... As for me, my name and address is: John M Tait 5 Low Street Banff Aberdeenshire AB45 1AU
  14. So what's your point... **Mod edit - personal insult removed - let's keep things civil** I'm sure there must be a Latin phrase which, when unpacked into standard English, communicates the point that further comment is unnecessary as the point has been adequately demonstrated by the efforts of the opposition.
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