Phonetic and lexical realisations of style shift and identity alignment by Shetland dialect speakers: a topic approach
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The Shetland dialect is a unique and fascinating dialect, quite unlike many other English dialects. The use of the Shetland dialect has changed considerably over time and a great deal of linguistic research has been undertaken on the changes and its current use. What we are unaware of is if topic has an affect on the use of dialect features by speakers. This paper analyses the use of Shetland dialect features, specifically word initial TH-stopping and production of Shetland dialect lexemes in interview situations (covering a number of different topics). The analysis reveals that an increased rate of use of the considered dialect features is significant when a topic has a relation to Shetland. The effect of topic is analysed from the view that the dialect features can be used to create or maintain a Shetland identity. Also found from the data is the reduced use of dialect features than might be expected of the speakers and this data is analysed through theories of dialect obsolescence.