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Introduction to Gaelic Place-Names

START: 29 July 2020
END: 29 July 2020
COST: £35


**This course is now full.  Please contact us to be added to the waiting-list.**

This one-day online course consists of three classes at 9.30 – 10.45, 11.15 – 12.30 and 13.30 – 15.00 and will be taught in English.  12 spaces are available.  No knowledge of Gaelic or linguistics is needed.  It offers an opportunity to learn about the relationship between language and place, culture and landscape.

The course is hosted by Ainmean-àite na h-Alba (AÀA), the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place-names in Scotland, with researcher Dr Jacob King as the main tutor, supported by Eilidh Sgaimeal, Project Manager for AÀA.

The course would appeal to anyone with an interest in landscape, language, and the environment, and particularly in the relationship between people and place.

Topics to be covered include:

  • The various languages of Scotland and their influence on place-names
  • The main types of Gaelic place-name elements, and how they are found in the landscape
  • The basics of the pronounciation of Gaelic
  • How place-names operate from a linguistic perspective.

In the first session, there will be an introduction to the languages of Scotland as seen through place-names, looking at Norse, Pictish/Brittonic, English/Scots, and Gaelic. Using mainly Gaelic examples, we’ll discuss how place-names throughout the world operate linguistically.

In the second and third sessions, the focus will be on Gaelic place-names, looking at features of the landscape, such as hills and mountains, rivers, and human settlements. There will be an opportunity to work in small groups, to take a closer look at particular examples. We’ll share stories of what the names meant to the people who lived there, and how place-names change over time.


Dr Jacob King is the project researcher for Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba, the national advisory partnership to research and establish correct and cosistant Gaelic forms of place-names for maps, signage and general use. His main role is to undertake the academic research to fulfil these aims.

Eilidh Scammell is a graduate of the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and is the Project Manager for Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba.

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