Volume 40, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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The use of gendered pronouns with inanimate noun referents, such as referring to and as and to or as , has been described as typical for Shetland dialect. In light of recent discussion on the shift from Shetland dialect to Standard English, presumably triggered by the sociodemographic changes brought on by the oil industry, this study investigates the gender system in both the pre-oil and post-oil speech of the variety. Using a database of over 368,000 words of oral history material and a sample of elicited contemporary speech, it is shown that the choice of gender correlates with a number of linguistic and social variables. Furthermore, the study shows that the use of gendered pronouns with inanimate nouns is a robust and stable feature of contemporary Shetland dialect.


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