Talk:Description of the Western Isles of Scotland

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This article was originally drafted at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scottish Islands/Monro's Hebrides and the associated talk page contains some of the background work that went into creating it. Prior to unearthing a copy of R. W. Munro's 1961 publication a fair amount of this was speculative, hence its belated appearance in mainspace. Ben MacDui 20:23, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

I have discovered that R. W. Munro is available online via Google books. I have recorded his views about #71 and Am Fraoch Eilean, but I am afraid I find them less than convincing. So it goes. Ben MacDui 19:27, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposed merge with A Description of: The Western Isles of Scotland (1549)[edit]

Better to include mention of new translation in the article on the original work, rather than try to establish notability for the translation to justify a separate article. PamD 19:31, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Clearly the person who created the A Description of: The Western Isles of Scotland (1549) article did not know that we had this article, therefore it should be deleted.QuintusPetillius (talk) 16:18, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Primary source edits[edit]

User:Scotire has been working hard on this article, but in my view replacing the commentary with unformatted links to text from the primary source is both unhelpful and a potential breach of RW Munro's copyright. Knowing that an island has not been identified is of rather more value to the reader than quoting the original text stating it is 'nearest such and such' - which, as stated is sometimes misleading. Ben MacDui 07:33, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Where a particular unidentified island is quoted as being next to a known island, then that is relevant and should be included. You have also deleted helpful maps and interesting photos which are helpful in locations. Scotire (talk) 00:28, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps, but you are adding bare url references into the text, incorrectly formatted photos and removing information about etymology etc. It might be better if you chose to work on shorter or less high profile articles until you have learned how to use wiki mark up properly, citation styles etc. Ben MacDui 08:08, 19 July 2013 (UTC)


This book is out of copyright. Read the copyright information at Google book. Scotire (talk) 00:32, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

OK Ben MacDui 08:08, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Lead sentence[edit]

Why does the article say that this was written by "someone familiar with life there" before naming the author in the next sentence? Saying "someone" is ambiguous and makes it seem like the author isn't known. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 02:15, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I had not read that sense into the statement - and as you mention it does then go on to say who the author is immediately following it. Might 'anyone' be better than 'someone'? Alternatively it could be "an author familiar with life there" plus changes to the following sentence. Ben MacDui 07:27, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I have removed the portion of the first sentence that is rendered superfluous by the second sentence. Neelix (talk) 17:28, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

St Kilda[edit]

What, no mention of St. Kilda (except in the title of one of the references)? This omission should probably be mentioned, if not explained... --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 15:07, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

See no 184, Hirta. Monro wrote:"The inhabitants thereof ar simple poor people, scarce learnit in aney religion, but M’Cloyd of Herray, his stewart, or he quhom he deputs in sic office, sailes anes in the zear ther at midsummer, with some chaplaine to baptize bairnes ther." Ben MacDui 16:08, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Rabbiting on[edit]

Ellan Naguyneyne is proving to be something of a mystery. Interesting that Roy (1747) thinks that it and not Eilean a' Mhal is the "Gilain" but it is not clear what this word/name has to do with coneys and the relationship to "Naguyneyne" is not obvious to me either. Ben MacDui 19:19, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Rabbits and women[edit]

How does -guyneyne for rabbits (Monro), become Gilain in Roy? By confusion of rabbits and women in speech?? Before giving up hope for making a connection, consider the following disorganised speculation. Taking the "g" and "c" sounds as similar, there is plenty room for confusion between English, Scots, and Gaelic speakers. Coinean is a rabbit (Gaelic). Coney is a rabbit (English). Conie or quinie is a young women (Scots) (tempting to write quyney). Cailin is a young woman (Gaelic). There may be doubt that Eilean Ban is Monro's Ellan Naguyneyne though it is in the right general area. There is very little doubt that Eilean Ban (from Eilean nam Ban?) is Roy's Id. Gilain, connecting the two words Ban and Gilain.Auchinloch (talk) 23:44, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Ok first one - Eilean nan Coineanan to Ellan Naguyneyne is easy, the nasal in Eilean affects the c in coineanan so it comes out as /elan nəŋ gɔɲanəx/, that's practically a default sound change in spoken Gaelic so no mystery there.
However, if we assume a (grammatically) feminine word such as cailin (which is very rare in ScG) or coinean (singular) then that no longer works because the definite article would be na or a' respectively i.e. Eilean na Cailin or Eilean a' Choinein. Which no longer yields the /g/ sound. It could be plural i.e. Eilean nan Cailin or Eilean nan Coinean which would give us the /g/ but I can't see that yielding gilain, the i really obviates this theory, as the output would be ellan na gallin or ellan na gonyan/gonzan or something.
It's not unheard of for a place to have more than one name and quite possible that the two simply reflect a source from a different locality i.e. Abertawe/Swansea (two different source languages) or New York / The Big Apple (same source language).
Third possibility - and I'm racking my brains over where this applies but nicknames for people from particular islands/towns used to be very common and I'm certain the folk of some place or other were nicknamed 'rabbits' in Gaelic. So Eilean nan Gillean (of the boys) alternating with Eilean nan Coineanach may not be as far fetched as it seems. I need to think on this one. Akerbeltz (talk) 00:44, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
This is the text of Matheson's suggestion: "Perhaps Eilean nan Gillean of present maps, Martins' Ilan nan Gillan, (and note Martin's order: Oronsa, Ilan nan Gillan, Pabbay). Called Navew I. on a map of 1824. Lochalsh could be the district name, not the loch." A couple of points to note:
  • Given the difference between Roy and the First Series OS, it is not 100% clear if Matheson means Eilean Ban or Eilean a' Mhail. The 1824 map is probably Thomson's, dated 1824 here and 1832 here, the latter presumably being the atlas's publication date. This is not completely unequivocal but it looks much more like Eilean a' Mhail.
  • The 1895 OS map clearly identifies Eilean Ban as distinct from Eilean nan Gillean/Mhail.
  • I believe 'Navew' can mean turnip, which may or may not be relevant. Ben MacDui 16:44, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Turnip?? Not in Gaelic. Navew Island/Ellan... hm... navew isn't immediately clear, I suspect bad parsing i.e. Eilea(n a' something. Eilean a' ... Bheò? or something. But not turnip. Akerbeltz (talk) 23:22, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Allegedly it's an English language word, although I suspect you are right that in this case its a corruption of Gaelic. Ben MacDui 09:06, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Ah so navew would have been a rather opaque gloss in English/Anglo-Latin, ok. Odd though since turnips aren't native and I'm not aware of any native roots in Gaelic for them. Bit like naming an island off English 'Korma Island' :) Akerbeltz (talk) 14:17, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

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