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Posts posted by Malachy

  1. As for those who "give up their time to teach it"(Shetlandforwirds?) I have been very reliably informed that they are a law to themselves and won't take advice from anybody who's not connected to them.


    I'm not sure your informant is so reliable. Shetland ForWirds are an open group with open meetings, advertised in the Shetland Times. So anyone is entitled to go along and be involved. If you don't go along then of course you can sit here and complain that they're unrepresentative because they're not taking your views into account, but that's not a reflection on them. You have chosen not to be involved, they have not excluded you. And that's fine. Many people prefer to do nothing but grumble, rather than actually do something that requires action. But personally I have a lot of respect for those who are prepared to openly debate the situation and try to consider positive actions. My advice would be, if you feel strongly, go to the next meeting when it's advertised and put your views across. If you're told to shut up and get out, then feel free to come back and complain, but it's a bit dishonest to mutter about them here as though they were some kind of secret organisation with sinister powers when you haven't actually been excluded from anything.


    On the words question, you haven't actually tackled the issue mentioned several times about changed lifestyles. Many of the 'lost' dialect words concern a lifestyle of crofting and fishing that most Shetlanders no longer have any connection to. Keeping those kind of words in use will be incredibly difficult, probably impossible, but that's nobody's fault. I don't know those kind of words in English, so it's a bit unfair to expect Shetland kids to learn them when they have no relevance to their lives. Dialect cannot be preserved in aspic (resurrecting Norn would be the absolute extreme of this desire). It has to be allowed to live, and I think Shetland ForWirds are doing some good work, with very limited resources, to try and allow that to happen. It would be nice if there were a more positive attitude shown by more people. That in itself would be a huge step forward.

  2. as a native Shetland speaking Shetlander, a whole day can pass and i wont hear another Shetland voice in my area

    Where on earth do you live? London? Perhaps you don't go out enough. This kind of complaint sound precisely like those Little Englanders who moan that there's no English people left in their area, only Poles and Lithuanians. The majority of people in Shetland were born in Shetland. That isn't going to change in the near future. But joenorth's comment is exactly right:

    The notion that only born islanders could speak dialect is why the dialect will disappear. A language must be in constant use to remain alive. In today's Shetland, this would take conscious effort and a change in focus from preservation to promotion.

    All this stuff about incomers not being able to speak dialect sounds, and making fools of themselves is hugely patronising. Imagine if we laughed at any foreigner speaking English and told them not to bother because they just sound stupid. That's exactly what happens in Shetland. Ghostrider's attitude expresses this:

    It is usually nigh on impossible for an incomer to be able to speak Shetland in a manner which is easily understood by native speakers, and doesn't sound absurd, due to their natural accent clashing very badly with the accent shetland is supposed to have.

    People will not get the sounds right to begin with, of course, but with practice, they will. (Rolling Rs is a matter of practice not physiology - Shetlanders' tongues are not formed differently) And the purpose of language is communication, not preservation of specific sounds. People from Whalsay sound different to people from Sandness or the Ness. People who've come here from Wales, England, Scotland or Zambia are going to sound different if they are allowed to try to speak dialect. Why is a bit of variety so frightening? Why is it so terrible for others to want to use Shetland words? It is, I think, a ridiculous attitude, and as long as it continues then the doom-mongering opinions some folk here are expressing will just be self-fulfilling. If dialect dies out (which I don't belive it will in my lifetime) it won't be incomers to blame, nor will it be 'mixed marriages', as Ghostrider amusingly put it.

  3. incomers do definately expect to be "the tail that wags the dog" as far as any linguistics are concearned, and as for the flag , thats destined for the history books too yes, as there is little pride shown by very many in anything of our own these days


    This is a very confusing comment. In what way do incomers expect to be 'the tail that wags the dog'? I have never, ever heard an incomer tell someone not to speak dialect. I have been in situations where someone (usually a tourist) has not understood something said to them in dialect, and on each occasion they have simply said 'Sorry, I didn't understand that'. In those instances, the dialect speaker has usually knapped in order to make themselves understood. If the aim is communication, then that doesn't seem unreasonable.


    On the other hand, incomers are actively discouraged from speaking dialect themselves, often by those same people who are most vehement about 'preserving' it. I have been saying this for a long time, though I realise I am in a minority, but the best way for dialect to be protected (not preserved, that's a different thing) is for it to be taught and encouraged in school, and for children of incomers to be included in those lessons. Any adult incomers who want to learn and speak it, should also be encouraged to do so, not laughed at for trying. If you insist on only 'pure-blooded' Shetlanders being allowed to use dialect you end up with this shrinking, exclusive core of people who are entitled to speak it, and this weird misdirected anger that is being expressed in this thread by fleabee and Kavi Ugl.


    As for the flag, I think there is far more local pride in Shetland than you find in most small communities - an intense pride in fact. Whether people fly the flag or not isn't massively important as it's just a symbol, but we do have a 'flag day', whether you think that's good or not, and it's flown far more commonly than, say, the St George's Cross in England. People here are hugely proud of their place, locals and incomers.


    I find this view, being expressed by a few here, that incomers have come and spoiled Shetland and it's completely fallen apart, is a hugely unrealistic one. Yes, Shetland is very different from 50 years ago, just as it was very different then from 50 years earlier. Some things are worse, some things are better. But this bitterness we're hearing here is not representative of 'the Shetland view'. In fact, it sounds much more like 'the Alf Garnett view'.

  4. I'm sure we're covering ground here that's been gone over several times in other threads, but the problem with 'resurrecting' Norn is that you would essentially have to reinvent the language. The fragments that have been recorded don't amount to anything like a full language, just a pretty small pile of words and, as far as I'm aware, the translations and pronunciations of some of those words are essentially just guesses. It's not like some other 'dead' languages that can be relearned. The language has gone. That's not to say that it's not worth teaching kids about Norn, of course; it's definitely worth teaching them about their heritage. But there's no way of bringing it back, without just using Faroese or something as a template, then adding in the few Norn words we have. Which wouldn't be very authentic or worthwhile I don't think.

  5. There are "efforts" to "promote" the Shetland dialect but(in my opinion) it's being done by the wrong people and because of the anti-Shetland attitude that still prevails in the schools it's a waste of time.


    This is another example that speaks volumes: Quite a few of the schools in Shetland now have flag poles but you will never, ever see the Shetland flag flying from them.....


    The reason is that they don't want to promote Shetland.


    Well who on earth should be doing it other than people who are enthused and willing to give up their time to do so?

    And I think your judgement of schools is uneccesarily negative also. I certainly never heard dialect speaking students in my year at school being asked not to speak it - we were also taught dialect poetry in English classes. And the Shetland flag flies over Fair Isle school fairly regularly in summer. I can't believe it's the only one in Shetland for one second. I think your doom and gloom attitude is unjustified.

  6. as far as i'm aware Norn was forcably stamped out by jock tyrants in the late 1700s and early 1800s to extinction, although the pronounciation of words still lingers

    I think it was probably a more complex process than that, and would have begun much earler. Norn was effectively dead by 1800 I think. People had to learn Scots once it became the language of law (and of the church). It would have been a gradual erosion of Norn from that moment on.

  7. I know there are some sayings left. And phrases just to be said in a certain situation.

    Are there words or phrases left you wouldn´t find a direct english translation for?


    If you're speaking about Norn, I'm not sure there are any sayings left in use. There are much better-informed people who write on these subjects here, but as far as I'm aware, Norn only exists in a small number of written fragments, transcribed long ago by non-speakers. I'm not aware of any Norn phrases or sayings in use still. There are words in the dialect that would have been Norn, or have derived from Norn, but the Shetland dialect as it's spoken today is better understood as a unique dialect of Scots, not as a watered down version of Norn. That's not to underestimate the Scandinavian influence, just to say that, from a linguistic perspective, Shetland dialect is connected to the Scots language. It didn't gradually evolve from Norn - Norn died, leaving only some words and grammatical forms behind.


    There are other threads on this forum that cover this subject ,and as I say there are better informed folk than me who write on them, so hopefully they will appear here soon and give you more comprehensive answers.


    (Edit: I'm happy to be corrected on any of this. I know there's some disagreement about elements of this subject, and I don't want to be attacked for my ignorance, but this is my understanding of it)

  8. The Lib Dems formed an administration in 1999. In 2003 almost all of them lost their seats. As Shetland is firmly Lib Dem I think this shows there wasn't much interest in party politics at that time.

    ^^ .....and those who stood on Shetland Movement tickets soon lived to regret it.

    I don't think these responses really deal with the excellent points that Adam made. Also, I think it's not entirely accurate to say that Shetland is 'firmly Lib Dem'. Most people vote Lib Dem, but if you asked them why I suspect, for most people, it would have much more to do with candidates than policies. I'm not even really sure what it would mean to be firmly Lib Dem - they're less a political party than a gathering of fairly decent folk aren't they?

  9. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html


    Whilst we have had the coldest winter in over 30 years , it also appears North Africa has had the wettest on in a while .

    The opposite of Arabia Terra's doomsday scenarios ......


    The problem with picking and choosing your examples of weather that appears to contradict global warming is that there are always examples to contradict your own. For instance, did nobody notice the hullabaloo at the beginning of the winter Olympics in Canada because, for the first time in who knows how long, there was no snow?


    Using the weather in Shetland as an argument against global warming really isn't very convincing.

  10. what is it that is part of the SIC machine, that as soon as just about any person, regardless how critical they are of the SIC beforehand, joins the "club" themselves, they just meld to the "club" stereotype? The only real challenge to the above conclusion is Wills, but he's a wildcard, and IMHO is doing as much harm as good, so is no real net improvement.


    Part of the problem is that we have a council made up of independents. By definition, independents are on their own, and changes require majorities. Independent councillors can do a bit of shouting (as some of the newer ones have done) but pretty quickly they discover they just have to go with the flow because they can't do anything on their own.


    There was an interesting debate on this subject at the Althing last week. I'm not 100% certain that a party system would bring about improvements, but it would certainly be more likely to allow changes to happen.

  11. Although his private life is precisely his own business, there seems to be enough facts in the public domain about his private life, for people to question his integrity, and therefore his suitabilty, for such a high profile post in a small tight knit community.


    Well, that is what has happened, but from the perspective of his job contract there will be nothing that says he has to have a squeaky clean private life. That is the problem the council have - they want to get rid of him but he has never been proven guilty of a sackable offence. Employment laws protect him just as they protect every employee.

  12. There seems to be some confusion in a few of the responses here. As far as I'm aware, the CE's private life has no bearing on his job at all. You can't sack someone for having an affair, no matter how brazen they are about it. The public may tut tut about that, but it is basically irrelevant.

  13. That's great. If only everyone were honest enough to try and find the owners of things. I left a memory stick in the library a couple of years ago (by accident obviously) and never saw it again. It had the only copies of virtually everything I'd ever written on it. My name would have been easily findable from many of the files, but...no-one ever handed it in.

    Now everything gets saved multiple times in multiple places. Don't want to go through that trauma again.

  14. What he does not say is that it is blue in the north because we are having our winter and red /orange in the south because it is their summer. What they are obviously banking on is that many viewers will not engage their brains and grasp this simple fact.


    Perhaps I was looking at a different graphic, but the red area they highlighted as being unusual was over Italy and Greece. Are you saying that it's summer in the Mediteranean now? I'm not sure I believe you.

  15. is there anybody else posting on this thread that can mind the Shetland times when there were not court reports every paper ? ,and there was hardly any polis? and was that better or worse?


    yes, but then they didn't have the breathalyser and drugs were pretty rare and generally speaking domestic abuse and child abuse were kept neatly under the table. Peope tended to kowtow to authority more and were scared of the police/minister/doctor.

    Todays young Shetlanders dopn't kowtow to anybody, know their rights and are not afraid to challenge authoritarian issues.


    So on the whole things are probably a lot better now.

    Rasmie is right, but there is another interesting factor that many people fail to remember. In 1973, there was a change in the law. Prior to that most traffic offences and minor crimes had been dealt with by the police, with fines etc. But after that, all of them went through the court, and therefore they all appeared in the Shetland Times. The crime statistics in Shetland shot up for that single reason, and the space given over to crime in the paper likewise increased dramatically. But in people's minds, the increase was remembered to have come a few years later, during the construction of Sullom Voe. People wanted to believe that incomers were more criminally-inclined, as they still do. But the facts were far more interesting.

  16. An aald dear I hom help fur wis moanin aboot da Shetland times crime page(s) da idder week - it wisna see much da eastern europeans but mair da fact dat none o da folk apo it hed Shetland surnames...........


    God knows whit she wis gettin at?!


    Perhaps you ought to suggest a new pair of glasses for her. Although it rather depends on your definition of a 'Shetland surname', I have just counted six court appearances in last week's paper by people who could very easily have been 'born and bred' Shetlanders, but only four who probably were not. Only one had an Eastern European name.


    This claim - 'Shetlanders don't break the law' - has been made over and over again in the past few decades, but it simply isn't true.

  17. If temperatures are really higher at the present time than they were in the MWP, why are the viking farms in Greenland still frozen?


    They're not frozen, they are farms again. I was there last year and people are rearing animals and growing hay in the same places the Vikings did. And in fact, if I remember rightly, they are now introducing some cattle again, for the first time since the Vikings tried it. Their growing season has lengthened by about a month in the last decade, and it wasn't a scientist who told me that, it was Greenlanders, who have to wait each year for the soil to thaw before they can plant their vegetables. They knew the ice was melting because they could see it happening, and they knew the ground was warming because they were planting their neeps four weeks earlier than they used to. I have never met anyone so convinced about climate change as the Greenlanders I spoke to there.


    Interesting. Where were you? I must admit that my impression came from an archaeologist who spent some time there in the late 1990s and said that it was the most inhospitable place imaginable with a constant freezing wind, even at the height of summer.


    Perhaps the archaeologist was in the north somewhere. The southern Viking settlements were at the far south of Greenland (around 60 degrees north), which is where I was. Narsaq, Qaqortaq, - that kind of area. Believe it or not, the first week I was there was very warm indeed, and that was early May. I was wearing a t-shirt and got burnt to a crisp.

  18. 1. B

    2. Other

    3. B The power they produce is so limited and unreliable that it is simply not possible for them to be 'essential'. They can only ever be additional to core power production.

    4. B Of course not. If we accept that meeting energy needs are more important than 'any negative factors' then why build wind turbines? If meeting energy needs overrides all negative factors then a whole fleet of coal fired power stations would be much more appropriate. If a wind farm supporter answers yes to this then I am exceedingly confused. Developments must be looked at on a case by case basis, whether you support them in principle or not.

    5. B

    6. C

    7. C


    Male, age group B


    Do you have any additional comments?

    Yes, one question regarding this questionnaire: Why are we only asked to justify negative answers? Surely positive answers should require justification too. This discrepancy will give your questionnaire an automatic bias against opponents as it suggests our point of view requires justification while support does not.

  19. If temperatures are really higher at the present time than they were in the MWP, why are the viking farms in Greenland still frozen?


    They're not frozen, they are farms again. I was there last year and people are rearing animals and growing hay in the same places the Vikings did. And in fact, if I remember rightly, they are now introducing some cattle again, for the first time since the Vikings tried it. Their growing season has lengthened by about a month in the last decade, and it wasn't a scientist who told me that, it was Greenlanders, who have to wait each year for the soil to thaw before they can plant their vegetables. They knew the ice was melting because they could see it happening, and they knew the ground was warming because they were planting their neeps four weeks earlier than they used to. I have never met anyone so convinced about climate change as the Greenlanders I spoke to there.

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