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Insular languages, global ideologies: the ideologies of a [begin strikethrough]British, Scottish[end strikethrough], Northern Island community.


This paper seeks to make a case for the analytic utility of the theoretical notion known as language ideologies (Silverstein 1979; Kroskrity 2010) and its introduction into that body of contemporary (sociolinguistic) literature, which concerns itself with the varieties of Scots spoken throughout mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles today. Using primary data collected during the summer of 2012, it is argued that this theoretical framework--in contradistinction to language attitudes, which was previously used in the Shetland Isles during the 1980s (see Melchers 1985)--is particularly suited to the investigation of complex, contested, emergent and unfinalisable language situations, which defy easy classification under traditional Sociolinguistic and Linguistic Anthropological descriptors (e.g. diglossia, language shift or language revitalisation).

It is further argued that the analytic superiority of the theoretical notion of language ideologies for the explanation of such heteroglossic situations is resultant of its epistemological assumptions and methodological orientation. To wit, language ideological research attempts neither to privilege nor dismiss speakers' discursively mediated beliefs and feelings about language structure (metalinguistics) and use (metapragmatics). Rather, researchers working within this theoretical framework consider such articulable beliefs as being primus inter pares (i.e. first among equals). That is to say, they recognise that hypercognised ideologies frequently reflect veridical aspects of synchronous language structure and use (1), while also acknowledging that there is inevitably a certain amount of disparity (or slippage) between a consultant's reportage, his or her embodied language practices, and other language behaviours occurring within the community.

The implication of this disparity is twofold: Firstly, it intimates the existence of other ideologies, which have not risen to the level of discursive consciousness (Giddens 1984), but which nonetheless make their presence felt throughout the community at the level of practice. Secondly, it directs researchers to interrogate the micro- and macro-level processes, which facilitate the ascension and ascendancy of certain ideologies (scil. the ascendancy of discursively accessible ideologies rests with their special capacity for directing one's gaze [Irvine and Gal 2000] and reshaping language structure and use over time [see Silverstein 1985 for example]). Indeed, this compulsory interrogation is one of the key advantages of language ideological theory, since it has allowed researchers to bridge 'work on language structure and language politics, as well as linguistic and social theory' (Woolard 1991:236).

It is important, however, to keep in mind that this privileged position in discursive consciousness is guaranteed to no ideology--or set of ideologies --for long. Ideologies continually ascend into it and descend out of it. Kroskrity (1998; 2010) and Loether (2009), in particular, characterise discursive consciousness as a field of contestation, where an individual who has become aware of holding axiomatically incompatible language ideologies may agentively seek to favour one ideology over its alternatives. Sensitive to the cognitive dissonance that accompanies such an awareness and the psychological propensity toward repressing ideological incompatibles when recognised as such, Kroskrity and Loether even suggest that the researcher may play a mediatorial role in promoting the success of 'positive language ideologies' (i.e. language ideologies which valorise heritage languages and encourage their continued use). Still, equilibrium may eventuate without such interventions. Thus, another key assumption is that the constituent members of this upper ideological echelon are always susceptible to deposition as the vicissitudes of life (Kroskrity 2009), politics or even semiotically informed cognitive processes (Peirce 1931-1935, [section] 7.498 and 7.554) cause for the integrative formation and supertractive recognition of formerly inarticulable language ideologies. (2)

In terms of methodology, language ideological research calls for a multimethod approach to data collection. Some favoured methods include participant observation, ethnographic interviewing, audio-visual recording of naturally occurring conversations, audio-visual documentation of narrative performances, and the collection of textual materials when applicable. This varied focal and methodological approach stems from the perfusion of (language) ideology throughout the total linguistic fact of communicative life (Silverstein 1985). In recognising this, researchers who have adopted a language ideological approach can no longer content themselves with merely administering surveys or documenting only what consultants say about language (use) during the ethnographic interview. They must strive instead to gain a holistic understanding of the patterns and functions of language use within their field community as enacted across multiple domains, contexts and modalities of language using behaviour (cp. Bauman and Sherzer 1975 and Basso 1989), of which the ethnographic interview is but one. Additionally, researchers should pay attention to the linguistic codes and registers used in television and radio broadcasts as well as print media irrespective of whether these are autochthonous or heterochthonous in origin (5c. heterochthonous media, while not necessarily reflective of contemporary community internal ideologies, routinely impinge upon community members' consciousness due to their allure' and ready availability', thereby laying the groundwork for future ideologies).

Obviously, an exhaustive documentation of the total linguistic fact is quite difficult and requires an extensive research phase. Due to the brief amount of time afforded for data collection (viz. two months), the data corpus which serves as the basis for this paper's analysis unfortunately falls short of this goal in many respects. For instance, very few verbal art performances were documented during fieldwork and those which were are largely unusable due to concerns about confidentiality (sc. these performances consist predominately of authorial recitations of published, copy-righted and therefore traceable works). Consequently, the ideologies named and the conclusions advanced herein are done so with great hesitancy and should be taken as provisional. Still, it is hoped that they will serve to 1) illustrate the utility of a language ideological approach for the investigation of heteroglossic language situations, 2) provide avenues for future research in the Shetland Isles and Scotland, and 3) promote a consciousness-raising community internal dialogue, which may result in an equitable use of Scottish Standard English (SSE) and the Shetland Language Variety (SLV) across all domains of language behaviour.


The Shetland Archipelago is situated in the North Sea region, lying approximately 340 km north-east of Aberdeen (Scotland) and 360 km west of Bergen (Norway) (5). The archipelago comprises over a hundred islands, only fifteen of which are sites of year round occupation. Presently, the majority of the archipelago's population resides on the largest of these island (i.e. the Mainland or simply 'Shetland') with 6,830 persons, or approximately thirty percent of the total population, living in the town of Lerwick alone (Shetland Isles Council 2011). The concentration of much of Shetland's population in this settlement is rendered explicable when one considers its position alongside the Bressay Soond (6)--a geographical feature, which has facilitated international trade throughout much of Shetland's history and which undoubtedly contributed to the decision to make Lerwick the capital of the Shetland Isles in 1708. Thus, it was with regard to its high population density, centrality to previous research studies, and dual importance as both a port and capital city that I chose Lerwick as my research site.

Upon arriving in Lerwick near the end of June (2012), I was confronted by a complex linguistic situation, which may be variously described depending the researcher's temporal purview and that which the researcher takes as his or her analysandum. Terms such as bidialectalism, dialect levelling, dialect obsolescence, language shift and hyperdialectalism have all been used in the literature to highlight certain facets of the current language situation as well as general trends in intergenerational linguistic transmission as tracked contemporaneously by researchers (Tait 2001; Van Leyden 2004; Sundkvist 2011; Smith and Durham 2011 and 2012). Taken together this multitude of mildly contradictory terms gives the impression that there are a lot of things happening simultaneously. Indeed, one may follow the Russian literary theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin, in claiming that today's Shetlanders, whom Smith and Durham (2012:58) have labelled the 'pivotal generation in dialect obsolescence' due to their high level of linguistic heterogeneity, display not only a social heteroglossia whereby a multitude of equally selectable signifiers compete with one another as they imperfectly surround a signified object (Bakhtin 1981:278), but a veritable multitemporality or heterochrony, which is characterised by the co-existence of '[extant] relics or remnants of various stages and formations of the past and ... rudiments of stages in the more or less distant future' (Bakhtin 1986:28). This heterochrony, which manifests itself through the individual, presumes a certain indeterminacy and fragility to the status quo. Crucially, it suggests that prognostications about language shift are at least partially fictional (cp. Clifford 1986), because individuals--as both vectors of vestigial and emergent ideologies as well as habituated users of language--are capable of effectuating far-ranging and unpredictable sociolinguistic changes within their speech communities at any point during their life cycle.

Sometimes these changes may be intentional as when an individual actively seeks to change the language use of his or her peers through express prescriptions and proscriptions. At other times, these changes may be accidental as when individuals with different expectations and/or linguistic repertoires encounter one another and are forced to negotiate the metasemiotic significances of their languages and the metapragmatic rules governing their language use at the same time that they also work to achieve their foregrounded objectives (e.g. imparting a message to their interlocutors, managing their public presentation of self, obtaining the compliance of their interlocutors in some task, etc.). Expressed differently, one may say that since the disproportionate competencies and expectations of individuals living in a heterochronous, heteroglossic society necessarily produce an interactional text perforated by disjoints and ruptures, there is always a certain amount of reaching involved in any discursive exchange. This reaching is characterised by a quixotic attempt to bring language under one's control and to assist one's interlocutors in selecting the correct interpretants for an approximate understanding of one's intentions. It is, in short, characterised by an attempt to ensure that one's interlocutor shares one's metapragmatic script and that one's language behaviour--from code-selection to the seizure and maintenance of the floor--is felicitous and taken-as-given.

The essential quality of this 'reaching' or 'negotiation' is that it is generative. Embodied temporalities encounter one another, colliding as actors attempt to praxically achieve their personal teloi. This raw generative potential (Firstness) gives way to a kaleidoscopic array of language behaviours (Secondness), some of which vanish rapidly as though inscribed upon a palimpsest, while others become models for routinised language behaviours in the future (Thirdness). Which Seconds will vanish and which will become Thirds, however, is a question without easy answer. It is one that, if earnestly considered, requires the researcher to suspend judgement of the sort implicit to long-term prognostications, or at least to acknowledge the fallibility of any such prognostications (7). In the words of Bakhtin, 'Nothing conclusive has yet taken place in the world, the ultimate word of the world and about the world has not yet been spoken, the world is free and open, everything is still in the future, and will always be in the future' (Bakhtin 1984:109). It is for this reason that in describing the language situation in the Shetland Isles we ought to eschew fictional future-oriented descriptions and instead focus on a documentation of present occurrences with all their ambiguity and contradiction intact.

In foredooming the Shetland Language Variety (SLV) through the application of descriptors such as language shift, the existence and consequentiality of Shetlanders ' nascent socio-ideological language consciousness is entirely erased (sc. Bakhtin [1981:295] describes socio-ideological language consciousness as a consciousness, which 'actively orients itself amidst heteroglossia'). This socio-ideological language consciousness differs from metalinguistic awareness or sociolinguistic awareness in that it involves one becoming aware of the 'necessity of having to choose a language' (Bakhtin 1981:295). That is, it occurs when the functional specialisation of codes inherent to diglossia (Ferguson 1959:27-28) breaks down, leading individuals to consciously, agentively, politically and morally deploy their linguistic resources rather than rely upon traditional contextual cues (i.e. presupposing indexicalities). It occurs when languages can no longer be regarded as having an indisputable place of their own (Bakhtin 1981:296), but instead become dialogically coordinated. To give a real-life example, it occurs in Shetland when SLV enters the schoolhouse through the development and implementation of new dialect teaching materials such as the 'ditty box' or 'gaer box', and conversely when parents 'knapp tae dir bairns' (i.e. address their children in SSE rather than SLV) at home.

Some other examples of this linguistic interanimation and developing socio-ideological language consciousness may be seen in local corpus building projects, the increased usage of SLV in (tourist-directed) sign media, and emblematisation of maximally distinct recurrent SLV lexis (sc. one may also speak of the rhematisation of such lexical features to the Shetland Isles and a Shetland Identity through a series of indexical orders [Silverstein 2003]). Smith and Durham (2011:218-219) provide one example for this lattermost phenomenon with the deictic yun/yon, which they claim is being incorporated into the utterances of the SLV-speaking subset of the younger generation (8) at statistically higher rates than are exhibited by previous generations. To this, I would add the second person (informal) pronoun du, which I argue has undergone (re)refunctionalisation to expand its utility as a performative of Shetland Identity (vide infra).

In all these language practices and heteroglossic language situations more generally, I see a number of ideological threads, which may have ramifications for future language behaviour if raised to the level of discursive consciousness. Two especially consequential ideologies, which I found convincing proof for during my data analysis and which I have subsequently named, are the ideology of incomprehensibility and the identitarian ideology. Of these I believe the former to be an ideology of contempt (Dorian 1998) and the latter to be a positive language ideology. Below I will give examples from my data corpus, which 1 believe point toward their existence.


The straightforward term, ideology of incomprehensibility, is used to reference the belief that SLV poses stark comprehensional difficulties for outsiders. At first glance, one might regard this ideology as one component of the aforementioned socio-ideological language consciousness developing in the Shetland Isles, since mutual unintelligibility--or a high degree of intrinsic difference between codes belonging to the same dialect cluster (see Kloss 1967)--is one of the main criteria used to identify a 'language' in contradistinction to a 'dialect'. Thus, one would expect that Shetlanders, considering their local language variety unintelligible to outsiders due to its many lexical, phonological and morphosyntactic differences from Standard English, would be inclined to pronounce it a language and that this pronouncement would, in turn, lead Shetlanders to consider SLV functionally on par with SSE - or at the very least would lead them to mentally problematise any existing (diglossic) functional specialisations. However, as Tait (2007) noted, most Shetlanders refer to the SLV as 'dialect' or 'the Shetland Dialect' when qualification is required. This practice even extends to many of those involved with the local language revitalisation organisation, Shetland ForWirds.

Moreover, while SLV is engaging SSE dialogically through its use in poetry, children's books and the occasional column in Shetland Life, one can still discern limits to its functional use. My consultants had no problem telling me that SLV was used more for poetry than for prose, or that the general pattern in children's books was to write the characters' discourse in SLV and the rest of the narrative in SSE. Likewise, I had no problem seeing that while SLV was used in the names of many shops (e.g. the Peerie Shop, Fine Peerie Cakes, Da Fish Bowl and Da Noost), it was rarely employed in more official sign media. Certainly, I never saw an announcement written entirely in SLV or the use of SLV in warning signage during my time in Shetland Isles (see Appendix C for examples of typical sign postings).

In terms of signage, SLV was largely restricted to brief syntagmata, which could be seen as representing instances of reserved reference or 'meaning held in readiness rather than released in intelligibility' (Keeler 1987:139). This view of SLV syntagmata as reserved referrers is predicated upon an understanding of them as being directed at tourists--a view for which I find support in the works of Nihtinen (2008), who stated that 'one of the tasks which have been seen as desirable among the Shetland dialect activists is the adoption of an advisory role and collaboration with commercial enterprises wishing to include the use of dialect sayings and phrases on products intended mainly for tourists' (emphasis added). In this scenario, individual SLV signifier such as the words 'peerie' or 'smoorikins' relate to their signified objects through a mediating representation (interpretant), which is initially unavailable to tourists. This mediating representation, which allows one to read the symbolic ground between signifier and signified, is linguistic competency with the Shetland Language Variety.

The semiotic failure that results from a tourist's lack of appropriate interpretants is easily corrigible, however. One need only tell the tourist, 'Peerie Smoorikins is Shetland dialect for little kisses' (see Appendix D) --possibly around the time that s/he purchases jewellery bearing that name --and s/he will be able to understand the semiotic relationship after a fashion (see Weinreich 1979 [1953]: 10 for qualification). More importantly, this discreet explanation grants him / her a certain insider's knowledge or cultural capital, which may later translate into symbolic capital when the tourist tells his / her friends back home what 'peerie smoorikins' means. However, Shetlanders who hold an ideology of incomprehensibility 'understand' the limits of this dilettantish, bourgeois consumption of exotic words and refrain from using SLV to encode long messages or important information.

It is not uncommon, therefore, to see heteroglot signs such as that depicted in illustration 1 (viz. this sign reads 'Peerie Smoorikins--With Love from Shetland'). In this example, the phrase 'Peerie Smoorikins' is written in SLV, while the rest of the message is conveyed using SSE (sc. a passable SLV gloss for the second half of the message might be 'wi luff f(r)ae Shaetlan'). The result of this heteroglossia is that the SLV words are 'treated as objects, as typifications, as local color' (Bakhtin 1981:289) within the hybrid construction. They are incorporated into the authorial utterance, but are not dissolved into it. They are used self-consciously as though 'another's speech' (Bakhtin 1981:300-303). In short, they are marked, while the SSE words are rendered invisible by comparison.

The sign in Illustration 1 then is performing a lot of social, linguistic and ideological work. On the one hand, the inclusion of SLV elements within the sign cooperates in the production of a saleable 'Shetland Brand' (i.e. place-branding (9)) through a complex semiotic process involving the distinctness of SLV and the recognisable geographical contiguity between that code and the Shetland Isles--essentially furnishing visitors with 'proof that [they]'re somewhere different' (Shetland Arts Council 2004:68). On the other hand, the functional restriction of SLV to short nounal / adjectival chains, whose significance may be deferred, serves to send the (meta)message that SLV is less that a 'systematic and rule-governed ... speech variety' (cf. Rickford 2007) and/or that SLV is otherwise deficient by virtue of its incomprehensibility. Indeed, one may see this sign as being situated at the intersection of the two ideologies mentioned previously inasmuch as the presence of SLV presupposes an indissoluble bond between the Shetland Isles and their local language varieties, whereby the language plays a role in constituting the Shetland Isles as a place, while the circumstances of its use are informed by negative ideologies about SLV.


A more explicit articulation of the ideology of incomprehensibility as pertaining to the written use of SLV--including its use in sign media--was elicited during a semi-structured ethnographic interview conducted in early August 2012 and is partially reproduced below (see Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson 1974 for transcription conventions). This consultant, who has been assigned the pseudonym John, is a native Lerwegian in his late forties and has a self-described 'toonie accent'.

John: You will've already noticed th-the problem with the: (.) uh what's the word? uh the: when you write a language doon th- (.) the orthography

Alex: Ayeah

John: >there i--< there is no standard way of spelling an writin

Shetland words an this mea:ns that almost nobody can understaund it easily when they read it

John: it's really really difficult fir anybody to read Shetland dialect somebody else's written=

Alex: =it is?

John: oh horribly difficult yeah because (3.0) thir everybody spells it different ways [an

Alex: [^O o kay

John: I mean if I say (.) even something as simple as e: da y'know [the word the [

Alex: [o yeah [=the

John: we wid typically always have written that as D A an you'd see that in duh: this an duh: that an recently they've startit eh: (I) hing [/I think/] in the most recent book that was written it's D E

Alex: [Okay

John: [which acshually soonds more like what we'd say we'd say de an- an when you have some name it's de--ahh I don't (th)ink (th)e Peerie Shop is de Peerie Shop is it?

Alex: = It's called thuh Peerie Shop I think

John: But if it was de Peerie Shop a lot a folk'd say Daw: Peerie Shop an because the pronunciation is invariably de recently they've started writing de but the majority of folk that see ((coffee mugs placed on table))

Alex: that's great ((to waitress))

John: thanks ((to waitress))

John: Yeah If you see that--if today we saw de Peerie Shop we'd think e:: be like um it's (maybe) French or [

Alex: [yeah

John: y-y-it's not standard an it's not right or wrong because different pairts of Shetland will pronounce things a bit different and therefore their automatic way of writing things will be different so: (2.0) it's really really difficult to read an understaun anything that someone's written like dat an occasionally on something like Shetlink you'll get someone writing in Shetlin dialect an (4.0) o ah ^i--it's not even a question of <oh this is being disrespectful to the incomers> who don't understand it John: it's juist really (2.0) anti-communicative generally because we have to sort a-uh-wha-the oh right! ((as though sounding out words)) An it's juist useless it really is just absolutely useless but some fok have got this political point thet they're tryin tae (.) aye all'll spik my language an this kin(d) a thing

In this transcript, John shares his ideologically informed evaluation of the current heterographia--or 'situation in which one language is approached via multiple writing systems' (Palmer and Neely 2009:272). Starting in line 1, he explicitly frames this situation as a 'problem' and even presupposes a similar interpretation on the part of his interlocutor. (10) Subsequently, he unpacks the meaning of 'problem' in lines 5-7 by stating his view that 'almost nobody understaunds it when they read it' and that 'it's really really difficult to read.' John continues expounding upon this theme throughout the transcript and even provides a lengthy example of the sort of comprehensional difficulties that result from this heterographia. This example centred upon the variform orthographic representations of the vocalic quality of the definite article in SLV and the putative possibility that Shetlanders might mistake the most recent representation (viz. de) as prescribed in the new Shetland Words dictionary (Christie-Johnson 2010:xii) for French (viz. lines 14-32).

While representing the act of writing in SLV 'anti-communicative generally' and potentially rude to incomers, who don't speak / read it (lines 40-41), John nonetheless rationalises the heterographia as a natural result of regional variations in pronunciation (lines 34-36). Indeed, later in the interview, he comes out against any and all attempts to standardise the orthography, stating 'An I have no solution to that either. I don't think they should standardise the orthography. I think it's impossible.' Although, he does not spell out why the orthography cannot be standardised, one may assume the supposed impossibility (or intractability) of the task to be at least partially resultant of variationist ideologies (Kroskrity 2009) of the sort recounted by Tait (2007), namely, 'Many people find only the dialect of their own immediate area acceptable, and object far more if their children pick up pronunciations from other parts of Shetland than if they only speak standard English.' Insofar as one believes that one should write words as they are pronounced and insofar as one is only in favour of using the speech forms native to one's own area, there may indeed be some difficulties with standardisation. Nonetheless, the real-world effect of the valorisation of orthographic standardisation on one hand and the heterographic representation of SLV on the other should be acknowledged candidly. Together these assumptions feed into the belief that the SLV is difficult to understand and potentially inferior vis-a-vis languages such as SSE, which are standardised (see Nihtinen 2011:171). This alleged incomprehensibility and sense of inferiority, in turn, restrict the functions that SLV can fulfil. Notably, SLV is largely confined to poetry and is rarely used in sign media to convey important messages (e.g. announce a job opening, advertise an upcoming event, etc.).

Finally, the most consequential manifestation of the ideology of incomprehensibility is to be found in the practice(s) of knapping. As one consultant told me during an interview, the term knapping presently has two different definitions in the community (see Appendix A). On the one hand, it continues to refer to the largely moribund practice of SLV monoglots attempting to speak SSE with mal a propos results. On the other, it is also commonly used to refer to the practice of code-switching into SSE by bidialectal Shetlanders. The derogatory connotations and implications of substandard speech inherent to the first definition make the latter semantic extension something of an ill-fit. For instance, another one of my consultants--likely holding the first definition in mind--told me that he doesn't think knapping is a 'big thing anymore' and that he doesn't ever use that term.

This polysemy clearly complicates any attempt to use the word(s) knapping in an intentional manner. As Bakthin would say, the word 'is populated--overpopulated--with the intentions of others' (Bakhtin 1981:294). This congealed multivocality makes it difficult for the author to directly and unmediatedly express his or her semantic intentions through the word. This is because the word carries with it the 'contexts in which it which it has lived its socially charged life' (Bakhtin 1981:293) and thereby resists the single-personed hegemony of the author, who seeks to compel it toward a specific signified object. Expressed using Peircean semiotic theory, one could also say that since 'the meaning of a sign is given by its interpretants [and since] there is no guarantee that two users of the sign will share the same range of interpretants,' there is 'no reason to think they will take it in exactly the same sense' (Meyers 1996:25). Thus, anyone aiming at analytical precision cannot simply employ the term knapping as shorthand for 'speaking [Standard] English' without qualification, since there is no guarantee that one's readers will regard it as intended--either semantically or affectively. Moreover, to attempt to do so is to attempt an erasure of the phenomenological (experiential) and ontological differences that exist between these two linguistic practices. As such, I will try to refrain from engaging in this type of reductionism here. Instead, I will strive to investigate the pragmatic and ideological interrelation--and even genealogical relationship--that exists between these two forms of knapping.

The most striking commonality between these two practices is the accomodative element, which I believe to be sourced by an ideology of incomprehensibility. While both the speaking of English by modern bidialectal Shetlanders and the affectacious speech of previous generations are complex linguistic practices performed across numerous contexts--each of which has its own interactional goals--one context in which both of these practices occur(red) is the encounter between Shetlanders and outsiders. The Shetland author James Burgess gives an example of this in his novel, Tang, when he depicts his characters Janny, Lowra and Ann gossiping about the relative marital value of Mary Black and Inga Bolt. Through this conversation, Lowra apprises her interlocutors of the fact that '[she had] heard [Inga] spaekin Engleis ta da towrists 'at wis in Taft da last simmer,' before fiimishing a positive assessment of Inga's knapping (viz. 'it wis as beautifil as a piece oot o a book' [Burgess 1898:19]).

While Burgess did not explicitly rationalise his characters' knapping as a consequence of concerns about outsiders' (in)ability to understand SLV, he did allude to the connection between SSE and 'education' when he made Janny to say that 'Inga haes nae edication' and Lowra to produce Inga's knapping as evidence to the contrary (Burgess ibid.). This connection between SSE and an institutionalised educational system opens the door for the possibility that eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Shetlanders--like Shetlanders today--viewed SSE as a semantically precise and semantically perspicuous mode of communication, which was made such through its codification, systematisation, refinement and promulgation (or 'Ausbau' [Kloss 1967]) by an alien hegemon. However, even if Shetlanders at the time did not hypervalorise SSE and correspondingly devalorise SLV on these particular grounds (11), there can be no doubt that when viewed through a political-economic lens knapping--in both senses--constitutes a nested, fractal recursion of the power asymmetries between Great Britain and the Shetland Isles. Indeed, Squires suggests that Hechter's notion of the internal colony could be fruitfully applied to the Shetland Isles, since 'their [i.e. Shetlanders'] land was bought, sold and managed by distant landlords who held political and economic power in Scotland and at Westminister' (Squires 1993:1265).

Today, following the de-exotification of SSE in the wake of mass immigration from the south during the oil boom, most rationalisations of knapping (or code-switching into SSE) centre upon the need to make oneself understood and the clarity qua unmarkedness of SSE. The majority of my consultants spoke to me in something approximating the Standard and it was not uncommon for individuals to interrupt their flow of speech to inquire whether I was following them. Indeed, I recall one consultant in particular would interrupt recitations of her poems by providing immediate glosses for SLV lexis as it cropped up. When I inquired about these types of behaviours during interviews, I was often told that people from mainland Scotland frequently cannot understand SLV and that Shetlanders have to speak SSE to make themselves understood.

To witness an example of these rationalisations, one need only consult the following transcript, which was taken from an interview with a sixty year old Shetlander. During the interview, my consultant informed me that it was common for children to speak SLV during her youth, but that it was becoming less and less common among this demographic of late. Due to the fact that I had already started to see knapping as problematic by this point in my fieldwork, this lamentation prompted me to make a mild accusation by asking her about a claim that she had made just before the interview began. This claim was that she 'speaks [English] to be understood.' In her response, provided below, she offers several rationalisations and justifications for this.

Alex: Hm (1.0) you mentioned earlier thet uh: (5.0) you mentioned thet you speak to be understood though

Jane: I do

Alex: Yeah do you think a lot uh people do?

Jane: Yes (5.0 second pause)

Alex: o yeah

Jane: I have: uh I do it uh >kinda automatically< I used to be a [profession]

Alex: yeah

Jane: an I was always (2.0) my age group of [professionals] would always speak English in [domain of language behaviour]

--Break in Transcript (40 Seconds)--

Jane: You ken you have conversations an (3.0)^Awir population noo a days is very mixed (3.0) o I mean f--fir da past--fae da (2.0) seventies an on wir haed a lot uh >people movin in< (2.0) an: (4.0) a lot o dem'v stay:ed an I mean th--they're a subs--thir (.) quite a lo--a bit of the population

Jane: An I belie:ve at I heard once that about a third o wir population wisna native n--Shetlanders ta begin wi

Jane: An uh: (3.0) it makes a difference because if you're in a conversation an you have (2.0) people dere dat might no follow you you become o less broad I suppose

Alex: o mkay

Jane: You see what ^I o mean I [ mean [ I wid adju:st

Alex: [ yeah [ I see what you mean

Jane: I wid adjust how I spaek (2.0) ta: (.) >I kin(d)a do it automatically I dunna set oot deliberately I have I describe it as a thermostat<

Alex: okay

Jane: alright you have a thermostat in your brain [an it kinda adjusts

Alex: [yeah

Jane: automatically if you see blank looks denn you--you

Alex: adjust

Jane: <speak slower, adjust your ac>--well no my accent I think stays all the time but you watch what--how you're sayin things

Although my abrupt and potentially non-sequitur question in lines 51-52 did not explicitly mention the use of English by bidialectal Shetlanders, it is apparent from Jane's disclamatory justification in lines 58-59 that she understood that 'speaking to be understood' entails speaking English to outsiders. This connection is stated more clearly in lines 71-75 when she states that the influx of incomers during the 1970s affected the language use of Shetlanders, because 'if you're in a conversation an you have people dere dat might no follow you, you become less broad I suppose.' Again, SLV is represented as being incomprehensible to outsiders and Shetlanders are portrayed as having an obligation to speak English with such individuals--even if they are immigrants to the Shetland Isles--so that they might understand. The effects of this language behaviour are also alluded to in this transcript, namely, a reduction to the total number of speech events where a Shetlander may speak SLV and a corresponding lack of incentive for outsiders to learn to speak / passively understand SLV.

One last example of the assignment of (sole) communicative responsibility for the felicitous transmission of a message to its encoder rather than decoder--and therewith the privileging of the conative function of language over other functions--can be seen in the sign depicted in Illustration 2. However, rather than illustrating an instance of knapping, this example demonstrates its opposite, namely, a violation of this social communicative norm. In particular, the sign anecdotally describes an encounter between an old Bressay woman and a tourist dated circa 1880. In this encounter, a tourist, who is said to have asked for directions to the nearby Isle of Noss, is greeted with an SLV-coded response (viz. 'You geng up alang a staney


daek an doon alang a faelly-daek an awa Willie Wards wye' [gloss: 'You go up along a stoney dyke and down along a dyke of turves and away Willie Wards way']). Despite the fact that this utterance consists primarily of SLV-SSE cognates and that it may very well have been accompanied by deictic gestures, the curator implies that the inquirer as a non-SLV speaker would have had trouble understanding the woman's response through his / her statement that 'This old woman would not win many awards as a tourist guide!'. Aside from proclaiming that all Shetlanders should aspire to being good tourist guides, this commentary once again implies that the SLV is incomprehensible and that the onus of com-unicating ironically lies with Shetlanders alone.


As mentioned previously, an on-the-ground examination of the total linguistic fact reveals a manifold of poorly integrated, contestant ideologies. Heretofore, I have focused predominately upon the pre-eminent ideology of contempt (viz. the ideology of incomprehensibility), since it appears to be contributing the flagging transmission of SLV through the diminution of contexts in which one may encounter the language. It would be unfair to leave the analysis there, however, given that many of my consultants also evinced a deeply felt commitment to SLV. In this section, I will provide some data samples, which speak to the existence of another--this time positive--language ideology: namely, the identitarian ideology.

It is important, though, to begin by providing a definition for the identitarian ideology. It is as follows: the identitarian ideology is a language ideology, which acknowledges the important role that language plays in the construction and performance of personal, ethnic and other group-level identities. As such, it stands in contrast to utilitarian ideologies, which view languages as modes of communication that derive their value from structural properties (12) and/or other extraneous 'properties' such as the wealth or status of their speakerships. In fact, one could take the identitarian ideology as being the diametric opposite of the ideology of incomprehensibility, since the latter finds its foundation in utilitarian beliefs about the purpose of language (see Kroskrity 2009:75).

The evidence that I found in favour of an identitarian ideology consists mainly of two types. The first type includes evaluations of the Shetland Language Variety (SLV), which explicitly cast the code as being 'valuable' or 'of worth' due to its connection to the Shetland Isles or their inhabitants. Most of the time this connection is coded using terms such as 'tradition' or 'heritage'. Indeed, many of my consultants would even use the word 'identity' outright. The second type of data pertains to the actual use of SLV, including the teloi underlying such use and the indexical entailments issuing from it.

The first type of evidence is pervasive throughout my corpus, while the second was a bit more restricted. The vast majority of my consultants could and would allude to the emblematic function of SLV in their response to my question, 'What is the value of the Shetland Dialect [for you]?' (sc. another common response, which was not related to the emblematicity of SLV, focused upon the unique ability of SLV to encode certain realities through words that do not have SSE equivalents [e.g. 'spaegie']). From this, one may gather that there is at the very least a discourse of SLV as a heritage object (Grydehoj 2010) circulating in the community irrespective of whether any particular consultant regards the code as an inalienable part of his or her presentation of self (13). One should not, however, assume that all my consultants were politely drawing upon a dominant discourse in their attempt to answer my question with a positive rather than negative (negating) response. The following transcript illustrates that for some Shetlanders the local language variety functions not only as a 'shibboleth,' which allows one to identify the origin of a given individual, but as an instrument in the moral construction of place.

Alex: uh mhm do you th--(1.0) t'you what's the value of Shetland?

Jane: The dialect? (2.0) Well ta me it's an integral part a my identity

Alex: o mkay

Jane: an (3.0) I don't know how it's goin a be if (.) here if you don't --in future years if you don't have it

Jane: an because (5.0) you keen i--before there was a big influx o (2.0) people movin in there were always people who moved in

Alex: Yes

Jane: an deir bairns (3.0) all learnt ta speak lik we did

Alex: They did?

Jane: Yeah they did (.) they picked it up from us

Alex: Okay

Jane: Usually dat wis da case I mean if you--if wir MSP for example

Alex: Yeah

Jane: Tavish Scott well if you hear him on the radio he's quite posh spoken cuz that's his family background but he can speak

Shetland just ((snaps fingers)) lik dat because he learned it at de skul

Alex: So he can speak Shetland though?

Jane: Absolutely (2.0) [ ^Aperfectly

Alex: [ Okay

Jane: an you haed doctors bairns an (2.0) y'keen if dey cam at da right age

Alex: ^yeah

Jane: I'm no juist quite sure how young dey haed ta be but they adoptit da speech an you never thowt of them as anything (3.0) ither

Jane: I mean if you hear da voice an hear da wye dey (hh) spaek then you think that person is a Shetlander (

Alex: yeah

Jane: ^automatically you think dat (4.0) an denn yeah

Jane: So if--it (2.0) I feel it's a badge lik it's a piece of your identity (.) I--I really do feel dat an I think most people feel dat way wh-- dey articulate it or not because

Jane: An dere wis dis big thing aboot you ken (hh) you would have somebody at uh (2.0) well I always mind my husband my late husband sayin aboot a classmate o his ^who went away tae university an came back at Christmas (1.0) an he wisna (hh) speakin Shetland an dat was decried as absolute nonsense

Alex: So the family--

Jane: --y fir dat wis ridiculous he wis only been away a te:rm

Alex: Yeah

Jane: an he completely changed his way of speech--at least he appeared ta have an that wis felt ta be you ken (.) stupid

Alex: yeah

Jane: an you get um exiles (1.0) on the ither hand ^no I think this depends on the person I'm sure everybody's (2.0) experience wid be different but you used to get exiles (.) owho'd been awa:y maybe in New Zealand or something ^for you ken forty year and they come back an dey're still spikin da wye dey went (.) they've still kept it a--an everyone thinks this is a gu:d thing

Alex: Yeah

Jane: but you also get some at go an when dey come back dey're lost deir (.) dialect and dey spik however

Jane: But I mean h (.) an dat wis always remarked upon you know [

Alex: [it was?

Jane: people wid say yeah he's fairly lost his Shetland tongue (2.0) ehm I don't know if people would say that now

Alex: yeah

Jane: cuz the experience more mixed but ^yeah it was like a badge a identity an (2.0) I still feel its a bit lik dat but I don't know how--(4.0) (hh) I fin it hard to imagine (1.0) Shetland withoot it

As shown in the transcript, my consultant responds to my question (viz. 't'you what's the value of Shetland') by first confirming that I am talking about the language rather than the archipelago, which bears the same name (line 90). After receiving confirmation from me in the form of a non-verbal affirmative gesture, she goes on to state explicitly that SLV is 'an integral part a [her] identity' (line 90) before slowly and deliberately articulating her concerns about what the Shetland Isles would be like in the future if SLV were to die out (lines 92-93). This worrisome imagined future serves as the frame of reference for the rest of the excerpted narrative as can be attested by its subsequent postpository reiteration in lines 150 and 151. Within this frame, Jane juxtaposes this distressing future against a past in which SLV was a vital language, capable of recruiting new speakers from amongst 'doctors bairns' and other child immigrants (lines 99, 101, 103-106, 110-111, and 113-115). From there she segues slightly, informing me that SLV served to normalise the immigrant children in the eyes of their classmates. Indeed, she says that 'you never thowt of them as anything ither [than a Shetlander]' (lines 117-118). That is to say, SLV served as a shibboleth, which allowed one to identify--and identify with--another as a fellow Shetlander regardless of whether or not that individual was actually born in Shetland.

I conjecture that in both the historical past and in the present, where it is discursively invoked, the status of 'being a Shetlander' as manifest through one's use of the Shetland Language Variety has allowed individuals to lay claim to positively evaluated social and personal indexicalities such as honesty, sincerity, candour and local-pride. By way of evidence, I point to lines 123-127, 129 and 131-132 of the previous transcript. There Jane recounts a tale that she heard from her late husband about a classmate, who had gone away to university and who had come back speaking Scottish Standard English. The multiple degrees of separation involved in this story imply that this violation possessed a high degree of cultural salience and that this particular incident was highly tellable.

As Pratt (1977:163) notes the purpose of narrative is never simply to report upon an event. When a speaker performs a narrative, he is rather 'verbally displaying a state of affairs, [and] inviting his addressee(s) to join him in contemplating it, evaluating it, and responding to it.' In performing a narrative, 'his point is to produce in his hearers not only a belief [in the narrated event] but an imaginative and affective involvement in the state of affairs that he is representing and an evaluative stance toward it' (1977:163). Accepting this, one may ask 'why should a forty year old narrative about a Shetlander, who spoke SSE with his family and friends after a brief stay in Scotland, possess such high tellablity? Why should such a narrative warrant the chain of retellings that it enjoyed? And what evaluative stances were the tellers expecting of their audiences?'

To start, one could advance the following explanation for the relevance of this narrative: Shetlanders as members of a linguistically homogeneous and largely classless society have traditionally dispreferred the practice of using standardised (or ausgebaute) forms of English amongst themselves (Nihtinen 2011:194), because competency in these foreign linguistic varieties would have been unequally distributed throughout the community, available only to those upwardly mobile individuals who could afford to obtain some form of tertiary education abroad (vide supra). In light of this, the use of these linguistic varieties in a local context would have served to index the status of the speaker vis-a-vis his or her interlocutors and would have likely occasioned hurt feelings on the part of his or her interlocutors. Within this context, the narrative described above becomes a means of symbolically redressing the grievances produced by this young man's behaviour. The response expected by the tellers could only have been a reaffirmation of the local consensus that this sort of behaviour was egregious and to be held in disapprobation.

At the same time that one recognises the capacity of SSE (as an index) to arouse envy, one should not discount the possibility that the use of SLV contains its own positively evaluated indexicalities. I argue that the retelling of this narrative serves to position the teller--and frequently the co-authoring audience--as individuals who are proud to speak SLV. That is, the telling of the narrative and the anticipated condemnation of the young man's behaviour function as apublicatio sui, allowing the tellers and the 'audience' to communally reveal themselves to one another as the type of people who find this manner of linguistic pretence laughable or 'ridiculous' (line 129). It allows them to show themselves sincere and candid individuals, who don't put on airs and who are proud to be Shetlanders. Indeed, more support for this position was found in another interview, where a different set of consultants not only engaged in the practice of denouncing Shetlanders, who speak SSE in domestic situations, but verily fought for the interactional floor as each attempt to affirm that he or she would have used SLV if they were in the place of the denounced party (sc. the possibly monolingual Shetlander under censure in this other narrative [see Appendix B] had requested of a family member that s/he pass the 'potato peelings'. All participants agreed that he should have said 'tattie pairins' and that they would never have said potato peelings under such circumstances).

The implication behind all of this is that apart from explicit statements (e.g. SLV is 'a badge of identity'), which could be uttered without conviction, there are also deeply felt emotions and emotionally informed character judgements tied up with the use or non-use of SLV by community members. This emotional resonance affects the manner in which individuals interpret the events unfolding around them, and therefore plays a role in the experiential life of Shetlanders. It affects, for instance, the manner in which the Shetland Isles as a transcendent moral place appear to one's consciousness through phantasy--both as they are imagined to exist in the 'present', the 'past' and the 'future'. As mentioned previously, it is an imagined future devoid of SLV and the concomitant transubstantiation of the Shetland Isles that serves as the framework for much of Jane's narrative (lines 92-93 and 150-151)--a narrative, which could be described loosely as a moral panic narrative (cp. Hill 2010).

Evidence for the existence of an identitarian ideology, however, is not confined to the realm of metalinguistics. It is also to be found in the analysis of diachronic linguistic change and synchronic linguistic practices. In particular, I contend that it can be seen in the expanded use of the second person pronoun Du (thou) in the Shetland Isles, which - in contrast to the deictic yun--exhibits 'different [i.e. innovative] patterns of use' in addition to a possible, but uninvestigated, 'higher rate of use'. As such, it a case of structural hyperdialectalism rather than merely statistical hyperdialectalism (Smith and Durham 2011:218). This structural hyperdialectalism or (re) refimctionalisation is predicated upon the severance of the (SLV) pronominal system from the overlain social indexical values of 'power' and 'solidarity' (see Silverstein 1985; Brown and Gilman 1960) and the re-indexing of the pronoun du to SLV through a pars pro toto relationship. This re-indexing is so advanced that some of my consultants would occasionally discuss to the pronoun you as though it were not part of the Shetland Language Variety at all. for example, when asking one consultant about whether one could use the pronoun you to signal disaffiliation and social distance from another Shetlander whom one did not particularly like, I was told that he wouldn't 'speak English' to someone just because he didn't like them, implying that the pronoun you has been indexed to SSE.

According to my argument, this re-indexing is no accident for it is occurring alongside the rapid modernisation of Shetland society. As more and more Shetlanders are abandoning traditional lifeways and subsistence patterns, they are losing the SLV words tied to agriculture and seafaring. As one of my consultants told me bluntly, it would be unfair of me to attempt to quiz a member of his generation by surveying the contents of a room and asking him or her identify a certain quota of objects with their SLV names, because many SLV-speakers do not know all the old words for things. The re-indexing of the second person pronoun du provides the younger generation of Shetlanders, who have diminished SLV vocabularies when compared to their parents and grandparents, a powerful tool, which they can use to perform a Shetland identity anywhere and at any time. This, in turn, allows them to lay claim to the aforementioned positive indexicalities associated with 'being a Shetlander'. Phrased another way, one could say that the pronoun du has taken on added 'socio-symbolic meaning' (Schilling-Estes and Wolfram 1994) or that it has become a 'signal and emblem of difference' (Barth 1969:14).

The (re)refunctionalisation of the traditionally second person informal pronoun du features widely in my data corpus, since most of my consultants were explicitly aware of the divergence between the traditional and contemporary rules of use for this pronoun. For instance, the following consultant, Edward, was able to tell me that while he would have felt uncomfortable addressing his granny as du due to old proscriptions against using this pronoun with one's elders that rule is gone now. He even went on to say that if he were to have children, he would not expect that they would address his mother as you. The relevant section of this interview is excerpted below.

Julie: o <people do talk about a kind of du-you distinction> ehm (1.0) yeah I suppose I ^I don't think of it as a very formal distinction

Edward: It used ta be

Julie: Hmm

Edward: There used to be more rules with du it used to be thet you cou:ldn't or you were--you were you weren't supposed to use if for someone in authority an you weren't supposed to use it like it would be disrespectful to use it say with your granny or granddad ^well in certain circles my granny is eh a dialect speaker but she is a--a bit posh as well

Alex: Okay

Edward: An you know the idea a me sayin how's du granny (.) that's disrespectful y'know

Alex: Okay

Edward: Whereas that's that's gone that that won't be the case when my mum's a granny


In this paper, I have striven to faithfully represent communicative life in the Shetland Isles as it appeared to me--an outsider--during my fieldwork in the summer of 2012. I say as it appeared to me self-consciously, knowing that this account does not and cannot fully represent the phenomenological experience of Shetlanders living in the Shetland Isles. To start, the data whereupon this analysis is based is the product of numerous inter-cultural and intersubjective exchanges (sc. ethnographic interviews), of which I am an integral and inextricable component. The questions I asked and the manner in which I asked them affected the answers received. Secondly, the analysis involves my own interpretants, which were gained through my participation in specific academic circles and within broader American culture. Other researchers and Shetlanders themselves are likely produce a slightly different picture of the communicative-ideological life in Shetland.

Nonetheless, echoing Bakhtin, I argue that the difference between self-representation and other-representation does not imply a deficiency in either. Rather, it is a natural consequence of the fact that one can never regard oneself as one appears from without and one can never regard another as they appear from within. Tolstoy artfully illustrates this problem through his description of Princess Mary in his opus War and Peace, when he says 'But the Princess never saw the beautiful expression of her own eyes--the look they had when she was not thinking of herself. As with everyone, her face assumed a forced unnatural expression soon as she looked in a glass' (Tolstoy 2009:69). Bakhtin asserts that cultures--like people--are open unities, which contain 'immense semantic possibilities that have remained undisclosed, unrecognized and unutilized' and that these hidden semantic possibilities can only be brought to light through an interilluminative process called Creative Understanding (Bakhtin 1986:6-7). In essence, both cultures and people require an other to fill them in.

As expressed at the outset, this Creative Understanding, which I then alluded to through the use of the term consciousness-raising, was one of the primary goals of this work. I sincerely hope that the hidden semantic possibilities--that is, the ideologies named in this text--will be brought to the attention of Shetlanders and will provoke a fruitful community-internal dialogue, one which results in the equitable use of SLV and SSE. The other goals of this paper, if you will remember, were to open up new avenues for sociolinguistic research as it pertains to modern varieties of Scots and to demonstrate the importance of a language ideological approach. These at least have been accomplished.


Appendix A:

Jane: I:: ken there two definitions err some fok eh (.) >it used to be't it was considered ta be a kind of an affected< (1.0) wye of spikin English (2.0) an certainly dey were a lot o jokes about the kind a things 't--at people were knappin might sa:y (.) h be getting the construction completely wrong or the word completely wrong (2.0) ehm (4.0) I: hid the feelin that noo a days it seems ta mean juist spikin English in ^general (4.0) ehm but some fok still see it as being that kind of affected wye.

Appendix B:

Alfie: d-da Shetland language is beginnin ta die oot

Alfie: Because in ^well maybe no sae much in Whalsay but (.) I know the share o Lerwick an now aa da bairns knaps. Dey aa spaek posh.

Alex: All of them?

Alfie: Most o dem yeah

Agatha: Most o dem yeah

Alfie: Laeks o Julie's dew (.) it's aa everythings aa very very posh

Alfie: Philip said ee day 'what shall I do with theez: potato peelings' ((laughter))

Alfie: Nearly laid haand til im

Agatha: Weel nae wonder

Julie: >an I mean I never would say da-< [I would

Agatha: [Potato Peeling? Tattie Pairins

Alfie: [Tattie Pairins yeah

Julie: [I would say Tattie Pairins

Agatha: Tattie Pairins

Julie: Dat's what I wid say

Appendix C:


Appendix D:



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Woolard, Kathryn. 1991. Language Ideology: Issues and Approaches. Pragmatics 2(3):235-249.


(1) That is to say, they are to some extent derivative of our constant self-monitoring (Woolard 1991:237).

(2) Although his analysis of ideology is overweighted toward material economic conditions, Volosinov expresses much the same sentiment in his work Marxism and the Philosophy of Language when he discusses the various strata of behavioural ideology. According to Volosinov, 'all those vague and underdeveloped experiences, thoughts, and idle, accidental words that flash across our minds' belong to the 'lowest stratum of behavioral ideology' (1973:92). These embryonic ideologies are 'born of a momentary and accidental state of affairs' and consequently 'lack any sort of unity or logic' (1973:92). Still, as he never fails to stress, even 'dim, unprocessed thoughts]' are already 'orient[ed] toward an ideological system'(1973:33). What they lack is a 'socially grounded and stable audience' (1973:92). Should the material conditions change such that these inchoate ideologies could find an audience, however, they could according to my reading 'pass through all the stages of social objectification and ente[r] into the power system of science, art, ethics, or law' (1973:90) That is, they could invade the 'upper strata of behavioral ideology' and thereafter begin the process of infiltrating established ideological organisations (e.g. academia, the media, etc.). Given the fullness of time, they might even win out over other ideologies, becoming official and dominant within their communities--however defined. In appreciating, then, the consequentiality not only of dominant ideologies, but also subaltern ideologies which are only expressed by people at the margins of society, or which are incapable of finding any idiomatic expression whatsoever, the language ideological paradigm sets itself apart from that of language attitudes.

(3) While an analysis of what makes radio and television broadcasts appeal to the human psyche goes well beyond the scope of this article, I do find it worth mentioning--if only as an aside--that Heidegger claims for the Dasein 'eine wesenhafte Tendenz auf Nahe' (an essential tendency toward nearness). According to Heidegger, this tendency towards nearness ordinarily manifests itself through physical acts such as the Dasein's approaching of other beings, but need not be restricted to such acts since 'auch bestimmte Arten des rein erkennenden Entdeckens von Seiendem haben den Charakter der Naherung' (i.e. there is also a character of nearing in certain forms of the purely cognitive discovery of beings). Thus, he grounds the allure of radio broadcasting in the very ontology of the Dasein. In fact, he states explicitly at one point that, 'Mit dem >>Rundfunk<< zum Beispiel vollzieht das Dasein heute eine in ihrem Daseinssinn noch nicht iibersehbare Entfemung der >>Welt<< auf dem Wege einer Erweiterung der alltaglichen Umwelt.' (With Radio, for example, the Dasein today performs a de-distancing of the World, which is unforeseeable in its meaning to the Dasein, by way of an expansion of its everyday environment [Heidegger 1967:105]).

(4) From a sociological point of view, one may attribute the ready availability of such media to their instrumentality--when viewed from the perspective of the hegemon--in expediting the subsumption of remote locales into the capitalist, nation-state project (sc. these media prompt individuals on the periphery to view themselves as members of supralocal imagined communities [cp. Anderson 1983]).

(5) This assessment takes Lerwick (Shetland) as the origo.

(6) The Bressay Sound is a natural harbour formed between the east coast of the Mainland and the west coast of the nearby Isle of Bressay.

(7) I do not here mean to say that terms such as language shift, dialect levelling and dialect obsolescence possess no currency. I have used them elsewhere and I believe them to be undeniably useful in recruiting support for measures that aim to strengthen the position of minority language varieties. That said such terms only represent one future possibility--however likely--and do have the ability to generate a collective sense of despair / impuissance among community members, who overhear the discourse of endangerment (see Hill 2002).

(8) For sampling purposes, Smith and Durham (2011:205) operationalised this demographic variable as 17-21 year olds.

(9) Concordant with Duchene and Piller (2011:138), 1 hold that 'Die globalisierten wirtschaftlichen Geschaftsbeziehungen setzen eine konstante Dialektik zwischen Prozessen der Globalisierung und der Lokalisierung voraus' (Globalised economic business relations presuppose a constant dialectic between processes of globalisation and localisation). That is, I hold that the localisation exhibited through place-branding is integral to marketing the Shetland Isles to foreign tourists and is thus part of the globalised capitalist economy. Expressed metaphorically, one could say that globalisation and localisation are two sides of the same coin.

(10) For the record, I experienced very little trouble reading the Shetland Language Variety as orthographically depicted in books such as the Shetland Anthology (Graham 1998). Although, as a non-native speaker, I admittedly was not trying to understand the prosody or the vocalic significance of such representation, but rather the semantics / message.

(11) Given the fact that monoglot SLV speakers by definition do not speak SSE, it may have been the case that the hypervalorisation of SSE and the practice of 'knapping' was conceptualised in different terms during Burgess' time. For instance, Shetlanders might have viewed SSE primarily in terms of its symbolic capital and ability to 'function as a marker of social class' (Bourdieu 1984). In Shetland, of course, social class as understood in an industrial sense would not have existed, although social distinctions were present.

(12) While linguistic relativism maintains the equity of all linguistic codes, linguistic imperialists have long asserted the superiority of European languages (over non-European languages) on the grounds that they are capable of encoding an arguably existent real-world State of Affairs with the proper level of specificity and abstraction (see Kilarski 2009). Apart from their frequent complicity with colonial projects, ideologies that equate the value of a code with some arbitrarily valorised structural property tend to view languages as tools or implements, which can and should be discarded if they are deemed defective. The polish linguist Jan Niecislaw Baudouin de Courtenay expressed this ideology as follows: 'Language is neither a self-contained organism nor an untouchable fetish; it is a tool and an activity. Man not only has the right, but also the social duty to improve his tools in accordance with their purpose, and even to replace the existing tools with better ones' (1972:256).

(13) While it is not part of the data corpus that serves as the basis for this text, one can also see indications of this discourse in the 'moral panic,' which precipitated the 2004 conference on the development of the Shetland Dialect and the resolution to found an organisation dedicated to the promotion of the Shetland Dialect (viz. Shetland ForWirds).

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