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Place-names of Scotland

START: 12 August 2024
END: 16 August 2024
COST: £290

Maps and books on place-names of Scotland

This course will be taught in English; no knowledge of Gaelic or linguistics is needed. It offers an opportunity to learn about the relationship between language and place, culture and landscape within a Scottish context. The course will appeal to anyone with an interest in Scottish landscape, language and culture.

Topics to be covered include:

  • The various languages of Scotland and their influence on place-names: Norse, Pictish/Brittonic, English/Scots, and Gaelic.
  • How place-names operate from a linguistic perspective: how they are built, and how they evolve over time.
  • Gaelic elements describing hills, mountains, rivers, and settlements and how they are applied to the landscape and how they appear on maps.
  • The role of place-names within the Gaelic oral culture, in relation to folklore, stories and proverbs .
  • How to research place-names yourself, including conducting fieldwork, archival research and linguistic analysis.
  • The basics of the pronunciation of Gaelic.

The sessions will be run as informal presentations followed by opportunities for discussion. There will also be breakouts into smaller groups, to take a closer look at particular examples.

There will also be a place-name walk around the College (weather dependant) to illustrate the topics covered.

About Jacob and Eilidh

Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA) is the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place-names in Scotland, with researcher Dr Jacob King as the main tutor, supported by project manager Eilidh Scammell.

Dr Jacob King is also the author of a number of articles, including a column about place-names in the Gaelic page of The Scotsman; he is also co-author of the NatureScot Gaelic in the Landscape series. In 2019, he released Scottish Gaelic Place-names: The Collected Works of Charles M. Robertson. His latest book, The A-Z of Whisky Place-names was released earliest this year.

Eilidh Scammell is a graduate of the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and a native Gaelic speaker originally from Inverness and now living in the Rhinns of Galloway near Stranraer, an area rich in Gaelic place-names. She has coordinated the NatureScot Gaelic in the Landscape series, including training fieldworkers and collating and editing fieldwork.

Timetable for the Week:

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: Classes from 9:30am – 4:30pm
Wednesday: Earlier finish 9:30am – 3:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 12:30pm

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