BBC Voices

Conversation on Whalsay about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Whalsay, Shetland Islands

  • Interviewees

    Stewart, Joan, 1941 Aug. 08- (speaker, female, housewife), Stewart, Mary Williamson, 1958 Dec. 05- (speaker, female, interviewee, Stewart, Thomas James, 1937 July 13- (speaker, male, fisherman and ferry-man), Sutherland, Paula, 1980 March 18- (speaker, female, nursery nurse)

  • Interviewers

    White, Claire, 1978 Jan. 29- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Scotland

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves, mention how long they have lived in Whalsay. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Anecdote about being annoyed by her daughter, mention things her younger brother does to annoy her.[00:11:09] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Description of harvesting potatoes. Anecdote about father playing truant from school, comment that its a rare occurrence in Whalsay.[00:19:52] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Anecdote about father being forced to write with right hand at school despite using left hand for everything else. Comment that in the past people didnt want to talk openly about pregnancy. Remark that people arent able to get away with playing truant from school in Shetland because its such a small place, mention that the truant officer was sent out to find out why children werent at school in the past.[00:35:31] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Description of house in which she was born, seats in house in past. Mention how they would describe the current weather in Whalsay.[00:50:22] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Discussion about what young people in Whalsay wear today, how fashion has changed over time. Discussion about how options for peoples living situations in Shetland have changed over time, other changes they have seen in Whalsay, positive aspects of living in local area.[01:07:45] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention words used to mean father, ways to differentiate between maternal/paternal grandparents. Mention words used to describe males/females as they age from babies to adults.[01:18:34] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Mention words for various items of clothing.[01:22:51] Discussion about use and meaning of local words/phrases, influence of Danish/German on their speech. Anecdotes about discovering Danish/German words that are similar to words used in Whalsay. Speakers re-introduce themselves.

  • Description

    Recording made for BBC Voices project of a conversation guided by a BBC interviewer. The conversation follows a loose structure based on eliciting opinions about accents, dialects, the words we use and people's attitude to language. The four interviewees are all related and have spent their entire lives on the island.

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