There is always something to learn about dialect words and phrases. Where can you find information?Where should you look for guidance on grammar, spelling etc?
How did the Shetland dialect evolve? Where can you find information about Shetland place names?
Where can you find early examples of written dialect, unpublished word lists, etc? How can you learn to understand, read, write or speak the Shetland dialect?
Some help is available!
For information on Shetland dictionaries, please visit our 'Dictionaries' page.
- John Graham's Shetland Dictionary, including history of the Shetland dialect, its grammar, pronunciation and spelling
- Michael Barnes' 2009 lecture paper, 'The study of Norn',
- The dialect and place-names of Shetland: two popular lectures (1897), Jakob Jakobsen, available online at the Internet Archive.
- Shetland Place Names Project
- Scottish Place Name Society
- Grammar and Usage of the Shetland Dialect, (1952, reprinted 1991), T.A. Robertson and John J. Graham, The Shetland Times Ltd, £6.95
- The Norn language of Orkney and Shetland (1998), Michael P. Barnes, The Shetland Times Ltd, £9.95
- The Place names of Shetland (1936) Jakob Jakobsen, reprinted 1993. Available in Shetland Archives and Shetland Library
- Shetland Place-names (1987), John Stewart, Shetland Library and Museum. Available in Shetland Archives and Shetland Library
The material in this section comes mainly from local sources. But as the Shetland dialect is of interest to many scholars outwith the islands, there are also contributions from much farther afield. We are grateful to all contributors.
- Shetlanders speak - Orcadians sing (2003)
Klaske Van Leyden's study summarised in her New Shetlander article, 2003
- Wir ain aald language (2004)
Attitudes to the Shetland dialect since the 19th century. A paper by Brian Smith.
- Ee wird or twa ( 2010)
Linda Sutherland reflects on how words can acquire an extra dimension from having 'double meanings', in dialect and in English.
The Shetland Archives holds numerous books about the Shetland dialect, and also notes, word lists, papers and letters, many of which have never been published.
Shetland Library contains a range of books in or relevant to dialect; their audio CD range includes dialect songs and stories.