Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA) ~ Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland ~ A Revisit

Gaelic, Place Names, Highlands, Lowlands, Scotland

I first wrote about Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland) a few years ago here, and thought it was time to check out the site again. I happy to say it till exists and seems to be much improved since my last visit. However, it is still a little buggy and performed better in Internet Explorer than it did in Chrome.

On the right side of the home page is a search box. Just enter in the place you are looking for, like Glasgow or Inverness. The search results will include any and all places in the database associated with a location. So for Glasgow search returns included, in addition to Glasgow, Anniesland, Byres Road, and Dowanhill Street in English and Gaelic. Click on details to learn more about the place name's meaning, location and how it appeared in historic sources. You can also hear how the Gaelic is pronounced.

There are Gaelic versions of many places in Scotland, which is not surprising as much more of the country was Gaelic-speaking in times past. Furthermore, Gaelic speakers would have talked about places outwith their region. That being said, some places I tried, like Cowie and Riccarton, did not appear in the database. But as the AÀA is an on-going project, you can check back or email them and ask for details.

Investigating place names is a great way to study history and linguistics. You will likely find this site a useful resource for learning about Gaelic place names, especially if the immigrants you seek were Gaelic speakers.

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