Ambivalent Self-Understanding? (Pehmeäkantinen kirja)

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The Shetland Islands in the far north of Britain are today often described as distinctive in their linguistic and cultural heritage. During the last forty years Shetlanders' self-understanding as different from mainland Scotland has been inflluencer by both economic and political change in the isles and Scotland as a whole. Altough there is a considerable perceived difference between Shetland and mainland Scotland and Britain, Shetland's cultural difference has been emphasised at times while downplayed in other contexts.

This interdisciplinary study looks at the place of language in the wider fields of cultural studies, socio-linguistics and regional history within the Shetland Islands. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, field-work in the form of the collation of personal testimony and close examination of the personal and conference comments of subject specialists, the author identifies and analyses a variety of competing views and partly overlapping identities.

The study shows that the role of language in Shetland can be properly understood only through its function as a territorial symbol of belonging.
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