Hello, and welcome to episode 10 of the Shetland with Laurie podcast.
This is a big one for me, and probably the most requested topic that you’ve asked me to discuss.
Today I’m going to talk about language in Shetland, and, if I’m honest - I have no idea where to start with it! It’s a huge topic and it permeates every aspect of life here; it is the very fabric that holds our community and culture together. Without this common language, that has evolved over the years, Shetland would be unrecognisable and our heritage far less rich and nourishing to those who live here.
This is such an emotive topic for me and it brings up so many feelings of both pride and also fear and sadness. It brings me pride because I’m deeply proud of our language, its roots and its place in our culture and heritage, and it brings me fear and sadness because, as with any other marginal language, it’s under increasing threat. It’s onstantly being eroded, changed and lost by external forces for various reasons which I’ll discuss as we explore the topic more deeply.
My accent and the language we speak here is something I am constantly asked about - especially when I have people on tours and they pick up on my strong accent, the intonation of my voice and the way I pronounce vowels in particular. Guests often apologise that English is not their first language, and to that, I tell them that it’s not my first language either!
Links from the episode:
Blog about the Clearances in Shetland, as referred to in Rhoda Bulter’s poem.
Shetland For Wirds, a group that promotes and preserves Shetland dialect.
Dialect map of Shetland - this is where you can listen to the local accents which differ throughout the islands.
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A little about Laurie
Hello, and welcome to my podcast. I hope that you find what you're looking for, whether you are planning that perfect holiday or maybe you're from Shetland and looking for some inspiration. Hopefully, there is something here for everyone.