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A typological study of pre-oil Shetland dialect

The Shetland Museum and Archives Memorial Lecture, in honour of James Stout Angus, by Prof. Dr. Viveka Vellupillai. Fri.18 Nov. 7 pm

The  Shetland Museum and Archives Memorial Lecture will be held on Friday 18th November, in honour of James Stout Angus [1830 - 1923], lexicographer and place name scholar, and a native of Nesting.  He was a carpenter and also a poet, whose works included Echoes from Klingrahool.

The lecture is entitled Lönabracks and affrugs of contact and change: A typological study of pre-oil Shetland dialect.
The lecturer is Prof. Dr. Viveka Velupillai, of the University of Giessen.
Doors open at 6.30pm on Friday 18th November for a 7.00pm start.

A number of studies have shown evidence of an ongoing shift from Shetland dialect to Standard English, especially in and around Lerwick. The common view is that this has been triggered by demographic changes related to the larger effects of the oil-industry. Yet to date, there has been no in-depth description of the language spoken before these demographic changes for comparison with the current state of the language.   Prof. Velupillai's current research is now focusing on that period of time.

Her talk will show how Shetland fits in a larger context of ‘contact languages’ and ‘contact linguistics’, and  how the oral history recordings of the Shetland Museum and Archives can be used in a so-called ‘apparent time’ study to represent pre-oil language data.  She will show how the data is analysed using a standard typological approach appropriate for any language in the world. 

Some features of pre-oil Shetland dialect currently seem to be eroding. These will be placed  within the context of linguistic typology, which studies global linguistic patterns, showing that pre-oil Shetland exhibits a number of interesting features. 

This lecture is being held in conjunction with Shetland ForWirds and the Centre for Nordic Studies.

Tickets are available now, priced £3.50, from or from the Museum and Archives reception on 01595 741562.



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