The current project arises from some previous research that we conducted in Shetland. We originally wanted to test the claim that the very distinctive dialect spoken in Lerwick was disappearing, so we recorded three generations of speakers from the town to compare and contrast their language use. We found something very interesting: half of the younger speakers were bidialectal – they could switch between Shetland and standard with relative ease. The other half, however, could not….they only spoke in standard, even when in the pub with their friends! Will the next generation move completely from bidialectal use to standard use only? We’ll have to wait and see. You can read about the research here:


Smith, J., and Durham, M. (2012) Bidialectalism or dialect death? Explaining generational change in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. American Speech 87 pp. 57-88

Download here: draft Smith&Durham (2012) Bidialectalism or dialect death


Smith, J., and Durham, M. (2011) A tipping point in dialect obsolescence? Change across the generations in Lerwick, Shetland. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 15 (2). pp. 197-225.

Download here: draft Smith & Durham (2011) tipping point