Talk:Edinburgh

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Does anyone actually say "Embra"?[edit]

A contributor wanted to add "Embra" as a nickname for Edinburgh to the page's infobox. I reverted this, perhaps unfairly, on the ground that the current names shown appear in print, whereas "Embra" seems to be modern slang (correct me if I'm wrong) and therefore not of similar status. It didn't help that the contributor ditched "Edina" as part of the same edit. I grew up near the Edina Printworks and was/am therefore familiar with Edina Street and Edina Place. I must admit, however, that I've never heard the name (coined, I believe, by Burns in one his more pretentious moments) pass anyone's lips, and it does seem obsolete today, if indeed it ever had any currency. "Auld Reekie", on the other hand, is historical and found in many printed sources, as is "Athens of the North" which still occurs in tourist and promotional literature. The question is, should "Embra" be added to the end of the list along with the bracketed gloss [mod. slang]? Does anyone out there actually say it? It could be that I am as out of touch as the judge who once famously asked, "Who are the Beatles?" Kim Traynor | Talk 01:10, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

I've just remembered Robert Fergusson uses the phrase "Edina's Roses" for the town's sewage smells in his poem "Auld Reekie", so that lets Rabbie off the hook. Kim Traynor | Talk 01:28, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Embra (and Embro) appear in Etymology of Edinburgh and Nicknames of Edinburgh. Also the two terms are discussed in Archives 1 and 2. Judging by a quick Google search, these names don't appear to be in common use.77.99.106.6 (talk) 12:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. That's helpful. There's nothing in the archived discussions to convince anyone that this supposed nickname should be added. One contributor refers to it as a phonetic rendering of what one hears when (some of) the natives say the city's name. Kim Traynor | Talk 14:14, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Digging deeper - a search for Embra within http://www.scotslanguage.com/site/search gives 219 hits. The implication is that Embra is the Scots name for Edinburgh, not just a nickname. In this context, Glesga is Scots for Glasgow, Lithga is Scots for Linlithgow etc.77.99.106.6 (talk) 11:20, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
OK. I think I'd like to test that out on Scots from Shetland to Galloway before recognising it as a valid name. (For some reason the scotslanguage website is not displaying in my browser.) "Glesga" is certainly familiar, but not "Lithga". I was there recently and heard a couple of locals saying what sounded like "Lithgie". Kim Traynor | Talk 13:13, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Apologies for the link. Just use the search box on www.scotslanguage.com. I share your scepticism and it appears to me that The Scots Language Centre is promoting Scots pronunciation of names from who knows where, as you suggest it could be anywhere from Shetland to Galloway, as the Scots name for places. Other examples are Fawkirk for Falkirk and Dawkeith for Dalkeith. In all the books I've looked at over the years, Maitland, Arnot etc., I can't recall seing Embra or Embro. They sound like I might pronounce Edinburgh after a few pints in Middleton's.77.99.106.6 (talk) 13:54, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah, my scepticism grows by the minute. I worked in Dalkeith for decades and never heard any Scots language speakers there call it "Dawkeith"! Sounds more like the name of a resident. I think "Dolkeith", as opposed to "Dalkeith" is meant. Middleton's? Ah, memories. Must be full right now with all those Hibs supporters drowning their sorrows. Kim Traynor | Talk 14:10, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
For anyone following this exchange, I have reverted another attempt to put "Embra" (and "Edinburrae") on the page alongside "Edinburgh" and "Dùn Èideann". The contribution was sourced from a website which promotes the Scots language and gives a list of phonetic renderings of place names. Some of these are highly dubious, e.g. "Halyruid" (clearly historical - I could just as well add 16th-century spellings like "Edinbro" and "Edinburrow" to the page). The same list gives "Berrick" as the Scots form of "Berwick", thus implying that English people say Ber-wick!). Since this website clearly has an agenda I believe its material is not wholly reliable or credible, I have reverted the page so that it states only the unequivocal Scottish-English and Gaelic forms of the city's name, both historically and in the present. Kim Traynor | Talk 18:07, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Further to above, another contributor has emailed to say, "You asked, Does anyone actually say "Embra"? Answer, a few do but this is street slang in the same way as Glaswegians are referred to as 'Weegies'!" Kim Traynor | Talk 10:59, 2 June 2014 (UTC)