Return to Video

WIKITONGUES: Christine speaking Shetlandic

  • Not Synced
    My name is Christine De Luca,
  • Not Synced
    but that's my married name,
    and my real name
  • Not Synced
    is Christine Pearson. I was born in
    Bressay in Shetland,
  • Not Synced
    and then most of my life, my childhood,
  • Not Synced
    was spent in Waas
    on the west side of Shetland,
  • Not Synced
    a group of islands at the
    very north end of Scotland.
  • Not Synced
    Quite isolated from the mainland, really.
  • Not Synced
    Waas is called Walls.
  • Not Synced
    But it really means
    'inlets of the sea' and it's one of these
  • Not Synced
    things that the army making the maps
    got confused with,
  • Not Synced
    and they put down the word 'Walls'.
  • Not Synced
    So when you say "I come
    from Walls," you feel as if it's
  • Not Synced
    sticking in your mouth,
    because you come from Waas.
  • Not Synced
    Anyway, that had a fundamental
    effect on me, being brought up in a
  • Not Synced
    peerie (tiny) crofting fishing community
    all my childhood.
  • Not Synced
    When I came away to Edinburgh,
  • Not Synced
    where I live now and I've lived
    for 50 years,
  • Not Synced
    I found Edinburgh really
    quite awe-inspiring and quite scary.
  • Not Synced
    And of course I had to be careful how I
    spoke, because I had to speak English.
  • Not Synced
    We learned to speak English at school,
    of course. We had to be bilingual.
  • Not Synced
    And not be rude. But I did miss not being
    able to speak in my own way.
  • Not Synced
    I think when I realised later on that the
    chances of me going home was likely
  • Not Synced
    very slim, I thought... I found release
    in writing, in Shetland dialect.
  • Not Synced
    It was a peerie (tiny) bit difficult
    to write in the dialect,
  • Not Synced
    because we never learned
    to read or write it.
  • Not Synced
    It was kind of mainly spoken.
    There was a dictionary,
  • Not Synced
    there was ways of writing it, but we
    never learned it formally, so we had to
  • Not Synced
    kind of... just manage ourselves.
  • Not Synced
    But anyway, I started writing subversively
    in Shetland, in Shetland dialect. And then
  • Not Synced
    as I wrote more and was moving
    among folk interested in poetry
  • Not Synced
    then they became aware of that
    and I found they quite liked it
  • Not Synced
    and that was really quite strange.
  • Not Synced
    I thought they would
    find it awful queer.
  • Not Synced
    So I wrote more and enjoyed doing that.
    And as time is going on
  • Not Synced
    and I'm writing more and more,
    I would say now about half and half
  • Not Synced
    maybe more than half in Shetland dialect,
    or Shetlandic,
  • Not Synced
    and the rest in English.
  • Not Synced
    And it's been translated
    into all kinds of languages.
  • Not Synced
    Which to me seems
    bizarre and strange.
  • Not Synced
    I thought I might read this poem.
    It's mostly in English,
  • Not Synced
    because it's about the relationship
    between language and dialect.
  • Not Synced
    I had been working away with
    a Nordic poet, an Icelandic poet,
  • Not Synced
    and his poem was
    all about a bird, the snipe,
  • Not Synced
    and the Icelandic word for the Snipe
    is "hrossagaukur"
  • Not Synced
    and the Shetland word for it
    is "hrossgauk".
  • Not Synced
    And I had been working away
    with a Norwegian poet,
  • Not Synced
    and his poem was called
    "Hegrehøyden"
  • Not Synced
    which is about the bird
    called the "heron".
  • Not Synced
    And the Shetland word for,
    for the heron is a "hegrie",
  • Not Synced
    and I thought that was
    quite interesting.
  • Not Synced
    Anyways, it starts off in English.
    It's a kind of a manifesto.
  • Not Synced
    Spelling it out
  • Not Synced
    It’s the way a cat fawns, a bird flaunts,
    a dog recoils and whimpers;
  • Not Synced
    it’s the way a cricket
    chooses from his bag of chirpings
  • Not Synced
    or a whale sends a long distance message.
  • Not Synced
    It’s the way our fore-fathers moved
    to the forest floor, and in the tonality
  • Not Synced
    of their vocal chords said ‘I’ and ‘you’
    in a thousand different ways;
  • Not Synced
    picked up the grammar of polemic
    and persuasion,
  • Not Synced
    the lexicon of lewd and lovely,
  • Not Synced
    the tenses that made sense
    of time past and time to come.
  • Not Synced
    It’s the borders, armies and classes
    that cornered the limits of Language:
  • Not Synced
    Patois or Pidgin; Colloquial or Kailyard;
    Vernacular or Slang.
  • Not Synced
    It’s the famous thesaurus that suggests
    three meanings for dialect –
  • Not Synced
    other than
    dialect and language –
  • Not Synced
    speciality, unintelligibility,
    and speech defect.
  • Not Synced
    It’s the funding that flows
    from decisions;
  • Not Synced
    it’s the boundaries and commissions
  • Not Synced
    that decide that pub
    is kosher in Norwegian,
  • Not Synced
    but only if pronounced püb;
  • Not Synced
    dat Heron Heights an Hegrehøyden
    is baith languages
  • Not Synced
    but Hegri-heichts is dialect,
  • Not Synced
    that "Hrossagaukur" an "Snipe"
    is language
  • Not Synced
    but "Hrossgauk" is dialect.
  • Not Synced
    Hit’s da passion we hadd
    whin we nön ta wirsels,
  • Not Synced
    whin we bal soond fae
    wir bosie inta da heevens
  • Not Synced
    whin we lay a wird o love apön een anidder
  • Not Synced
    whin we dunna budder
  • Not Synced
    wi nairrow definition.
  • Not Synced
    [ooof]
  • Not Synced
    A little bit of anger comes out there
    an the end of that poem, I suppose.
  • Not Synced
    But that's true, I mean,
    the politics of language and dialect
  • Not Synced
    is something I'm interested in,
    and the status.
  • Not Synced
    And I think it's important that
    we don't let bearers think
  • Not Synced
    that their mother tongue
    is somehow debased language,
  • Not Synced
    that we lift them up
  • Not Synced
    and encourage them into bilingualism
    where they're comfortable
  • Not Synced
    and they can when to expect when,
  • Not Synced
    why, and then a tither why
  • Not Synced
    and that's something
    I'm very interested in.
  • Not Synced
    It's funny that I've just been made
    Edinburgh's "Makar", or Poet Laureate,
  • Not Synced
    which I think is really,
    quite astounding, really,
  • Not Synced
    given that I'm "kent owre" (known over)
    as a Shetland writer.
  • Not Synced
    And that I am quite passionate about it.
  • Not Synced
    I suppose "I am bidden" (have dwelled)
    here for fifty year,
  • Not Synced
    and I do write in English. But
    I feel it gives me a bit of space
  • Not Synced
    to write and to help other folk
    that's come into this city with
  • Not Synced
    minority cultures, and thought that,
    maybe feel their language is
  • Not Synced
    subservient and not, say, good as.
  • Not Synced
    I hope I can maybe help them
    feel good about their mother tongue.
  • Not Synced
    Maybe I should just read
    another pretty poem,
  • Not Synced
    this one totally in dialect.
  • Not Synced
    It's called "Discontinuity"
  • Not Synced
    And it's just I suppose,
    a kind of seize the day poem
  • Not Synced
    it's just about relationships.
Title:
WIKITONGUES: Christine speaking Shetlandic
Description:

more » « less
Video Language:
Scots
Team:
Wikitongues
Duration:
09:14

English subtitles

Revisions