Church’s Research on Shetland Dialect Launched on New Web Site

By Purnell T. Cropper | April 20, 2010

Thanks to the work of Dr. Jonathon Church, Associate Professor of Anthropology, the Shetland dialect has been captured on a new Web site. Church has been researching “the palatable sense of loss of both Shetland’s language and identity” since the early 1980s and is active in the movement to promote Shaetlan/Shetland dialect through the Internet. During a sabbatical several years ago, he worked with a popular broadcaster to record the dialect and preserve it for future generations.

Shetland is an archipelago in Scotland and the subject of Church’s research for many years. The Web site was created in two phases. Initial site building was done at Arcadia University in Philadelphia before Shetland ForWirds won a grant that enabled them to get a local firm, nb communications, to bring it to the final stage.

On March 29, the Shetland ForWirds site was launched at Shetland ForWirds was formed in 2004 as the result of a conference about the Shetland dialect. The group aims to foster and promote the use of written and spoken Shetland dialect as an essential element of Shetland’s distinctive heritage and culture. As part of their work, the Shetland dictionary has now been made available online as part of the new site.

Both the written and spoken dialect are available, from storytelling and song to learning about the dialect for all ages from peerie moots and up, according to the Shetland News.

Shetland ForWirds convener Laureen Johnson noted, “We are very much lookin forward ta makkin best use o da site, an we really hoop fok will enjoy usin it.”