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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

New work on Shetland and Scotland

1st December 2011

A brand new book by Atina Nihtinen may justly be described as a significant contribution to our understanding of the Scots language, dialects, and modern identity. Entitled ‘Ambivalent Self-Understanding? Change, Language and Boundaries in the Shetland Islands (1970-Present)’, this work blossomed from a thesis into a groundbreaking study of the language and identity of the Shetland Isles. The author conducted fieldwork in Shetland in order to put together a picture of attitudes to language, ideas about Shetland identity, and how Shetlanders see their relationship with Scotland, and the Scots language. Although the bulk of the study is focussed on Shetland since the 1970s, there is much more material here exploring Scotland’s past cultural, linguistic and political identities. The author discusses the relationship between the Scots language movement and Shetland dialect, the past history of Norwegian in the islands, the growth of the Scottish state, the former and present status of Scots, and also the relationship between Scots/Shetland and Scottish Gaelic, noting important disparities and controversies. At the end of the book there is a summary in Swedish. No doubt this study will fascinate anyone who wishes to get to grips with language and identity in modern Scotland.

If you would like to buy a copy of the book please contact Åbo Akademi University Press in Finland by e-mail (website or the distributor Oy Tibo-Trading Ab by e-mail (website ).