However, moves are afoot to ensure that no longer remains the case.
The archipelago's local authority has launched a scheme to encourage pre-school children to use the islands' distinctive dialect.
The initiative, known as the "Dialect Ditty Box", is being rolled out across 35 nurseries, playgroups, family centres and libraries in Shetland. Containing traditional and modern rhymes, stories, poems and songs, the project is designed to reinvigorate the true Shaetlan tongue, which leans heavily on a Norse vocabulary. That is a legacy which began in 1468-9, when Orkney and Shetland were given up to Scotland by the king of Denmark and Norway to make up the shortfall in a dowry for a royal princess.
At the time of the transfer, Shetlanders spoke Norn, a dialect of Old Norse introduced by the Norsemen who had colonised the islands during the Viking era. Scottish rule introduced the Scots language, and this led ultimately to the abandonment of Norn and the growth of a Scots, heavily influenced by Norn vocabulary
Aspiring Shetlanders, therefore, might care to take note of the following words: hackamuggie (fish stomach, filled with hash of meal, livers and pieces of cod), blooster (soft, mossy ground), daamisht (stupid), yalliecrag (a loud noise of several people shouting) and clumbungie (a large, stupid person).
An iniquitous change of name
SPOTTED in a rustic corner of the South Side of Glasgow, a cramped, dusty shop punting all manner of archaic, obsolete and vintage goods. Its title? The Den of Antiquity.
A real blow for the Jags
WORD reaches Alba of raised eyes at a health and safety audit of a rather downtrodden stationer's office in Glasgow.
Located near the ground of the city's third team, Partick Thistle, many of the company's employees are fans.
But the routine inspection uncovered a somewhat unconvential implement used in the office in case of a fire - a root 'n' toot football horn.
Budget flights, budget bosses
WHO would work in a no-frills airline office? While staff at Ryanair have already been banned from charging their mobile phones at work to "minimise costs", Alex Cruz, the environmentally conscious chief executive of Spanish carrier Clickair, cheerfully admitted at a lunch in Edinburgh this week to going as far as writing, "Why did you print that?" at the bottom of paper on which short e-mails had been printed.