Orkney and Shetland English

Orkney and Shetland, known as "the Northern Isles", are the most northerly units of land in the British Isles. The Shetland archipelago has a total area of 1,468 sq. km (compared with Orkneyʼs 976 sq. km). In spite of their peripheral location, Orkney and Shetland should not be seen as isolated communities, neither in the past nor today. Shetland now has a population of about 23,000 and Orkney about 20,000. Orkney and Shetland can be characterized as bidialectal speech communities with access to a choice of two discrete, definable forms of speech: one a form of standard, basically Standard Scottish English, and the other a form of traditional dialect. The traditional dialects must be described as varieties of Scots, yet with a substantial component of Scandinavian, manifested above all in the lexicon but also in the phonology and, to a lesser extent, in the grammar. These varieties are often referred to as Insular Scots. Orcadians and Shetlanders are generally aware of commanding two distinct varieties and they have names for these, e.g. English vs. Shetland or Orcadian.

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