Being a Shetlander and a Scot

Interesting article on Shetland culture and identity from Bella Caledonia.

Being a Shetlander and a Scot: Some Reflections on the Election

“The pro-independence side would also be wrong, however, in entirely dismissing the role or extent of difference in Shetland. Certain markers of Scottishness simply do not apply in Shetland: beyond the tartan and bagpipes, the use of Gaelic is unhelpful. It is doubly problematic: first, Gaelic has never been spoken in Shetland, raising the suspicion that mainlanders don’t know that, and second, its promotion highlights the lack of attention paid to Shetland’s own native dialect. If mainlanders do know of it, then, they’ve decided that Shetland’s own language tradition is not worthy of a similar place in the isles. I don’t want to join the chorus of hostility about the Gaelic language, nor join the romantic types in reviving the long-dead Norn language. Instead, surely Shetland’s way of speaking now, whether it’s a language or a Norse-inflected dialect of scots, is worthy of respect. Scotland’s civic nationalism is rightly welcoming to all, but also takes note of Gaelic and to a lesser extent Scots. Why can Scottish identity not do the same in Shetland?”

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