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 Post subject: Lowland Gaelic
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:45 pm 
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Location: In the early days of a better nation
"Gaelic place-names...form the stratum which directly underlies the English place-nomenclature in most parts of Scotland, and their creation over a period of over 1400 years, together with their anglicisation during about half that time, has provided Scottish toponymy with much of its distinctive "Scottishness", perhaps best expressed by such names as "Auchenshuggle" (Glasgow), "Auchtermuchty" (Fife), and "Maggieknockater" (Banff)..."
("Scottish Place-names", WFH Nicolaisen, Batsford publication, 1979, p121)

"It was during this period, probably from about AD 960 onwards, that Gaelic came to be current in Lothian: there is some evidence that it extended beyond the present boundary of Scotland." Page footnote: "Gaelic place-names are found in the north of England."
("The Celtic Placenames of Scotland", WJ Watson, published by Birlinn [!], p 133)

"We look in vain for any hard and fast 'Highland Line' in the minds or actions of these landowning families of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries...This essentially mixed situation, quite the reverse of black and white, characterised in the late medieval period and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the gradual disappearance of the eastern Gàidhealtachd. The contribution of the 'western Gàidhealtachd' to the history and culture of Scotland may in some quarters have been sadly misunderstood and underrated, but it has never been in danger of being lost to sight. I would like to balance west with east by highlighting what I believe to have been the historically and culturally permanent contribution of Gaelic language and social organisation to the east of the country and the lowlands in general."
(GWS Barrow, The lost Gàidhealtachd of medieval Scotland, "Gaelic and Scotland/Alba agus a' Ghàidhlig", ed. Wm Gillies, Edinburgh University Press, 1989, p 69)

"Some years ago I heard Gaelic speakers in Arran describe the entire stretch of coastland from Galloway to Ayrshire as part of the Gàidhealtachd. They knew some of the place-names of that region in their Gaelic form; it was traditional knowledge among them that the Gaelic language had been spoken there in the past; and they assumed that, just as in Arran, it had survived to the present day." (p 90)

" Lowlanders sometimes complain, Gaelic makes no distinction between English and Lowland Scots linguistically. They both speak Beurla. But beurla meant originally not 'English' but 'speech': the extended designation Beurla Shasannach 'English (speech)' is still to be heard. I must admit that I have never heard this employed to make a contrast with Beurla Ghallda, but when I myself use the latter for Scots (in preference to the dreadful neologism Albais), all Gaelic speakers understand immediately what is intended. In any event, Lowlanders themselves originally referred to their language as 'Inglis'." (pp 92, 93)

"The sense of integrity of the kingdom of Scotland, which I have mentioned already, and a perception of the Lowlands as part of that integrated whole, emerges time and time again in Gaelic tradition. And the integrating principle is a sense of the Gaelic basis of Scotland: realisation, as Dr John Bannerman has put it, of the archetypal role that the Gaels played in the formation of the kingdom." (p 96)

"Consummate, all-embracing hostility is the common interpretation of Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair's resonant phrase mìorun mór nan Gall 'the great ill-will of the Lowlanders' is a reaction towards the whole attack on Gaelic culture, whether expressed in the Statutes of Icolmkill of 1609 or in the S.S.P.P.C.K. schools of the eighteenth century. Mìorun mór nan Gall appears in Alasdair's poem in praise of Gaelic, in which he celebrates Gaelic as the ancient language of Scotland, once spoken by Highlanders and Lowlanders alike, by clerics and laymen, by kings and commons." (pp 96, 97)

"To sum up, the Gaelic perception of the Lowlands is in essential agreement with that of the medieval Scots writers who regard the Gaels of their time as 'contemporary ancestors', people who preserve the language and culture which were once shared by all. But from the Gaelic point of view, we the Gaels are the disinherited, the dispossessed." (p 99)
(John MacInnes, The Gaelic Perception of the Lowlands, "Gaelic and Scotland/Alba agus a' Ghàidhlig", ed. Wm Gillies, Edinburgh University Press, 1989)

"The thistle rises and forever will" - MacDiarmid

NB - I am not the same person as the poster "Scottish republic".

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