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Voluntary Action Shetland

New Shetlander - 277 Hairst 2016

Cover 277 New Shetlander

The Hairst New Shetlander offers a variety of reading for the approach of the darker nights. It leads off with ‘The rower’, a thoughtful short story from John Cumming, told from the point of view of a grandfather. Then Justin Frewen, who has spent over 20 years working in the international development and humanitarian sector for the United Nations and international NGOs, draws on his personal experience to write ‘Reflections on the refugee situation in Iraq’. The deeply disturbing conditions he describes are now shared by millions more people: the largest number of displaced persons since the Second World War.

Professor Dr Viveka Vellupillai of the Justus Liebig University Giessen is currently engaged in a study of the Shetland dialect, and is using local recordings for linguistic research. She aims to analyse in detail the way we spoke before the oil boom, so that this analysis can be used to track changes in our speech now and in the future. In her article, ‘The Shetland Archives oral history recordings as a linguistic window into the past’, she explains her research methods and some preliminary analysis. She is already focusing on such features as the Shetland use of ‘du’, and the practice of saying ‘he’ and ‘she’ when speaking about inanimate objects.  

Margaret Sinclair has ben researching the fascinating oral tradition of ‘Coontin-oot rhymes’ once widely used among bairns in Shetland and elsewhere. The most commonly used in Shetland seems to have been the ‘Eetim, peetim, penny pi’ rhyme – but the variations are many, and range across the globe.

Shetland Library’s annual Young Writer of the Year competition produced four winners, and their winning entries appear here. Robert Wishart responds to Brian Smith’s article on Mousa broch in the Simmer issue. Samuel G. Irvine of Whalsay, who has contributed weather reports for the magazine for many years, writes ‘Weather watchers’. He describes one particular day of most unusual weather – a day which was used by the late Peter Jamieson, first editor of the New Shetlander, as the setting for a nationally published short story in 1943. The story, ‘A spring day on the hill’, is re-published here.

Willie Thompson is the new writer of ‘Da wadder eye’; he looks piercingly at issues local, national and international. The editorial reflects on crises in outlying communities, and on modern technology and its potential for helping remote areas. There are reviews as usual, and a good Hairst crop of poems, dealing with many things from politics to nature, emigration, herring fishing days and scallop processing in Scalloway.

New Shetlander No 277 is now on sale, and costs only £2. Its cover is the colourful ‘Emptying a sack of scallops’ by Sally Booth.


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