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William Neil - Gaelic in Galloway

Gaelic was once spoken throughout Scotland but endured in the South West in Galloway and Carrick till comparatively late.  Derek Thomson, former professor of Celtic in the University of Glasgow gives the 18c. John MacInnes of the School of Scottish Studies, points out that in a visit to Arran in the 1960's the Gaelic speakers he met thought of then whole South Western coast as part of the Gaeltacht since they knew that Gaelic was their tongue in comparatively recent times.  This shows up in place-names and personal names native to the area.  When you read a book dealing with language in Scotland, examine carefully if the author has any linguistic background for the assertions. For reading I recommend the following books:

William NeilWhy Gaelic Matters: Saltire Society booklet by Derick Thomson
Gaelic and Scotland: ed. William Gillies esp. essays by Geoffrey Barrow, John MacInnes and Donald Meek.

John MacQueen had fine informative essays on local place names in The Journal of Scottish Studies.

Place Names of Galloway by Sir Herbert Maxwell is also useful but deals exclusively with Galloway.  (Gaelic actually endured later in Carrick).

Read the Article (in Gaelic)

Date posted: 01/05/1999


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