Talk:Scottish Gaelic

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Editing Introductory Paragraph to History Section[edit]

The current text, before I begin my edit, is this:

Scottish Gaelic, originally the language of the Scoti settlers from Ireland to Scotland, became the language of the majority of Scotland after it replaced Cumbric, Pictish, Old Norse, and in considerable places, Old English.[7] There is no definitive date indicating how long Scottish Gaelic has been spoken in today's Scotland, though it has been proposed that it was spoken in Argyll before the Roman period,[8] although no consensus has been reached on this question. However, the consolidation of the kingdom of Dál Riata around the 4th century, linking the ancient province of Ulster in the north of Ireland and western Scotland, accelerated the expansion of the language, as did the success of the Gaelic-speaking church establishment, started by St Columba, and place-name evidence shows that Gaelic was spoken in the Rhinns of Galloway by the 5th or 6th century.[citation needed]

And now a quotation from Old Irish

"Old Irish is the name given to the oldest form of the Goidelic languages for which extensive written texts are possessed. It was used from the 6th to the 10th centuries, when it gave way to Middle Irish."

And now a quotation from Middle Irish

"Middle Irish is the name given by historical philologists to the Goidelic language used from the 10th to 12th centuries; it is therefore a contemporary of late Old English and early Middle English.[1][2] The modern Goidelic languages, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx, are all descendants of Middle Irish.

At its height, Middle Irish was spoken throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man; from Munster to the North Sea island of Inchcolm. Its geographical range made it the most widespread of all Insular languages before the late 12th century, when Middle English began to make inroads into Ireland, and many of the Celtic regions of northern and western Britain."

The Time Line here, as it relates both to the other articles and the information in the citations below is completely out of sync. This is the reason for my edit. Just wanted to let everyone know.Ollie Garkey (talk) 21:36, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that we're confusing the issue of name and truth. For example, we commonly say that Christopher Columbus thought he'd sailed to India, whereas Columbus thought he'd sailed to the Indies, which is something else entirely.
The theoretical start date for Middle Irish is after Argyll became an independent kingdom, so that's where dialect diversion would have gained paced (if we assume the Gaels arrived in the 4th century, which is far from proven).
The line about Middle Irish being "spoken" across Goidelic Britain is wrong-headed. What we can say for sure is that written Middle Irish was in use across Goidelic Britain. The fact that Latin was the main language of written discourse throughout Italy until Dante popularised vernacular writing doesn't say that Latin was "spoken" across Italy.
The lack of a written Middle Scottish Gaelic vernacular would similarly not be evidence of a lack of spoken Middle Scottish Gaelic vernacular. The rapid change in the written mode in the Modern era can only have been caused by normalisation to a long-established spoken mode.
But just as Italy had the occasional piece of written vernacular predating Dante (by about 400 years), Scottish Gaelic has the 12th century Book of Deer, which contains distinctly different margin notes in Old Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
Furthermore, the influence of Norse within Scottish Gaelic helps us date the emergence of the language: the Hebrides (and the Isle of Mann) were invaded by Vikings before the theoretical start of the Middle Irish period, and the vikings left before the end of the period.
This leaves the only justification for talking about "Middle Irish" as one of "that's what everyone else calls it", but this argument only serves to obscure the details. The same thing happens in English vs Scots. Scotland got hold of Lothian before the invasion of the Normans, and it is commonly stated as fact that Scots is descended from Middle English, but as Middle English was the result of the Norman invasion, this is a clear falsehood. Yet here on Wikipedia, blatantly obviously logical non sequiturs are accepted as long as they are taken from a book or journal.... :-(
Prof Wrong (talk) 12:22, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

That last one is actually valid Prof. The Normans had a big influence on Scotland as well as England. They may not have 'conquered' it as they did England, but Norman lords were planted in the Scottish Lowlands to implement Feudalism. Famous families like the Bruces were Norman in origin. Anyway, it is likely that Scottish Gaelic began to differentiate from Middle Irish shortly after it's spread throughout Scotland. The Italian analogy is apt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:14, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

True, but it was slower, later and mixed in with immigration from Dutch and other North Sea traders. One ingredient does not make the meal! Prof Wrong (talk) 12:32, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree, it's messy and needs sorting. I think (broadly) one (linguistically) could describe Gaelic as an off-shoot of a Northern branch of w/e Irish and explain the confusion regarding names into a separate section. It's an old confusion though, Gaelic was known as Erse in Scotland for many years and we need to bear in mind that Gaels themselves did not really distinguish the two, it was simply "Goidelic" to speakers in both countries for many centuries. Not dissimilar to the sentiment in China that Cantonese and Mandarin are "dialects" of the same language when linguistically they're not. Akerbeltz (talk) 15:27, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Lowland edit[edit]

Stuff about Carrick already in the bit at the top about history - this page is far too messy - I have deleted the duplication Sologoal (talk) 16:02, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Ah right, ok, that makes sense now, cheers! Akerbeltz (talk) 16:06, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Dal Riáta and the Lordship of the Isles[edit]

I thought this was a bit of a spurious claim so I deleted it straight off rather than just hitting "Citation needed":

The language was maintained by the trade empire of the Lordship of the Isles the geographic and cultural descendant of Dál Riata, which continued to control parts of Ulster until the 1500s'

That said, if there is any serious academic who suggests that the Lordship of the Isles grew out of the Kingdom of Dalriada, and that the Kingdom of Scotland was something else entirely I would be very interested to hear it, as it paints a very different picture of the arrival of Gaelic in Scotland... Prof Wrong (talk) 22:18, 23 March 2010 (UTC)


I'd like to pose a question regarding the Phrases section. I believe that overall, people are discouraged from turning pages into dictionaries or phrasebooks unless there are very good reasons (e.g. a language that is not well documented even in the literature). There also seems to be some toing and froing with dialectal variation.

I think it would be good if we decided what the purpose of this section is and edit it accordingly. The main two options afaict are:

  • a small section demonstrating connected speech, demonstrating the commonalities and differences between the Gaelics
  • a small section simply of commonly used phrases

In the first instance, I think we should pick examples with less inter-dialectal variation. In the second, we should decide if we're going to list dialectal differences or not. Either we include them all or none but the current version is a bit of a hotchpotch. Opinions? Akerbeltz (talk) 17:57, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

As there is a section "Comparison#Common phrases" at Goidelic languages, I think it would be better if on this page Scottish Gaelic dialects were compared instead - OTOH I admit I've no idea how many of them (apart from the Lewis one) are all that distinct today. --Thrissel (talk) 14:11, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Out of Scotland theories[edit]

My edit of Gaoidheal's edit was based on a misreading, he never intended to imply that it had come from anywhere but Ireland. As far as the Out-of-Scotland theories, there are a few prominent Scottish historians who argue that it was exported to Ireland from Scotland. Can't think of the name off the top of my head but one of them caused quite a stir some time ago. Most, especially anyone with a linguistic background, see that as lunacy but they do exist and perhaps merit a very brief mention one I find the ref. Akerbeltz (talk) 15:38, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

There are serous questions now about the received history, that Gaelic was brought to Scotland from Ireland. The evidence is reviewed in the article cited, Were the Scots Irish?, by Ewan Campbell. He makes a pretty convincing argument and he is not a fringe voice by any means, building on a case made by a number of other archaeologists and historians. He is cited in the first history paragraph, but that paragraph is a mess, and I am afraid that it will never be coherently fixed. I have been watching this article for years, and it is an interesting illustration of the ideological debates around the connection between the Scottish Gaelic language and Scottish identity. The question of when and how Gaelic came to Scotland has always been ideological. Part of Campbell's thesis is that the migration history was an attempt by early Gaels to more tightly bind themselves to Ireland, at a time when a connection to Ireland would have been seen as prestigious. But in the later medieval period, this presumed connection was ironically used to marginalize Gaelic as "Erse" and foreign to Scotland. Campbell's point is that the origin of Gaelic in Scotland is far enough back in time that we may never know how the language came to Argyll, but looking dispassionately at the archaeological and onomastic evidence, the migration history is actually quite unlikely.--Lasairdhubh (talk) 13:10, 28 July 2010 (UTC)Lasairdhubh
Ah thanks for reminding me of the name. The problem with historians is unfortunately that they rarely take historical linguistics into account or understand it. Or in other words, can you derive Scots Gaelic from Old/Middle Irish? Yes. Can you derive Irish from what little is known of Early Scots Gaelic. Hardly. Whatever movements the material culture was involved in, linguistically the movement is definitely Ireland > Scotland. Akerbeltz (talk) 16:00, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Many linguists don't read historians properly. The idea is that Gaelic developed in both Scotland and Ireland from continental origins. The idea that Gaelic comes from Ireland is based on historical rather than linguistic evidence, most of which is not thought today as reliable by historians. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:10, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Naming debate on the Gaelic Wikipedia[edit]

A chàirdean, We would like to invite all contributors with Gaelic (gd-4 and gd-5 in particular but gd-1 to gd-3 are welcome to contribute too), to take part in the debate to find an appropriate Gaelic form for Wikipedia that doesn't break any rules regarding phonology, intellegibility or forming good neologism. The debate is here [1] and - since it involves quite a few technical issues - in English. Chì mi ann sibh! Akerbeltz (talk) 13:30, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Referring to gaelic[edit]

This isn't actually a question about this article, more on all articles on Scottish Gaelic. Is it acceptable to just say "gaelic" if the article has already clearly established that Scottish Gaelic is the language in question? For example BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal acknowledges that it's scottish gaelic in the lead, can it then just be referred to as Gaelic for the rest of the article? JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 07:17, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

In Scotland or Ireland I believe that works. For an international audience I think it's best avoided because many articles refer to one of the other 2 Gaelics (Manx Gaelic or Irish Gaelic) and people are eternally confused about which "Gaelic" you might be talking about. So I think it's best to use Irish/Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Manx/Manx Gaelic consistently. Akerbeltz (talk) 10:32, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Mutually understandable with Irish?[edit]

I've noticed a discussion on the Mutual intelligibility talkpage about whether or not to include Scottish Gaelic and Irish as mutually understandable in one of the lists. Any reliable source (whether for or against) apparently welcome. --Thrissel (talk) 22:49, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Media section[edit]

In my new fervour for editing about gaidhlig media, I have rewritten the section on it a bit on this page. It was a bit confused before with some repetition and bouncing from topic to topic. I've also added some references to back up the material. JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 22:40, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Study into Attitudes towards Gaelic[edit]

I would like to bring to the attention of people editing this article the recent study towards attitudes and identity when it comes to Gaelic language. It is located here on the Scotland government website. It has a lot of useful observations which could be included into this article. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to do it myself, so I'm leaving it here for people to look over! JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 16:36, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

The Scottish Gaelic task force needs you![edit]

Flag of Scotland.svg Your participation in the Scottish Gaelic task force which is part of Wikiproject Scotland would be greatly appreciated.
If you are interested, please visit the task force's page in order to see how you would be able to participate.

JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 22:17, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Use of "Middle Irish" and "Primitive Irish[edit]

In the opening statement it says Scottish Gaelic developed out of Middle Irish and thus descends from Primitive Irish. I think this is quite inappropriate. The language was never referred to as Irish in those times. The word for the Irish language in Irish is Gaelg (I think) so why must English speakers take it upon ourselves to refer to the historical language as Irish rather than it's true name of Gaelic. I propose changing it to Scottish Gaelic, like Irish and Manx descends from Middle Gaelic which ultimately descends from primitive Gaelic. Thoughts ?

I completely agree that 'Irish' is inauthentic, and it's use is inherently racist. This usage is analogous to calling Lakhota 'Indian', or Pitjantjatjara 'Aboriginal' -- it is simply wrong, regardless of how common it is. Glorious Goddess (talk)
My thoughts are that you're trying to push some agenda across various pages. Whatever your personal views on the matter, Celtic linguistics calls these varieties Middle Irish and Primitive Irish in English. Open and shut case. Akerbeltz (talk) 15:14, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh for heaven's sake!? It is not an 'agenda' to ask that one's native language is referred to by others by it's correct name! Most would consider that simple courtesy and respect. Glorious Goddess (talk)
As per Akerbeltz, Primitive Irish and Middle Irish are the proper linguistic terms and thus is the most acceptable for an encyclopaedia. Please do not change these terms in the article. JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 15:44, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
No, they are only the "proper linguist terms" in English-centric scholarship. In that of Éire, the language is called Gaeilge, and because this is the usage of it's native speakers, it is - I'm sorry - the only correct one (and before I'm accused of having an agenda, FYI, I am neither from Éire nor a native speaker of Gaelic). Glorious Goddess (talk) 09:53, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
We use English terms for an English article. 'Irish' is the name of the language in English and even native speakers will refer to 'Irish' when speaking English. Using native speakers as the source of the "only correct" terminology is just an ideological difference and not standard policy. To insist it be any other way is agenda pushing. (talk) 10:47, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Nope no agenda here. Just a curiosity. I didn't change it and won't I merely proposed changing it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:13, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
No worries then! Your comment was valid and thanks for contributing here. Why not create an account and help contribute to articles? The five pillars can help you understand the basic philosophy behind editing on Wikipedia. JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 02:36, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Just to add to that, there is a valid argument to be made that the commonly-used term is slightly misleading. Just as I object to the term "Old English" for the language varieties spoken in parts of modern Scotland as well as modern England during the second half of the 1st millenium AD as excessively England-centric(Anglocentric doesn't work, as I'd prefer to call the language Anglo-Saxon), I object to the use of "Middle Irish" for a language by then long established in Scotland as excessively Hiberno-centric. Unfortunately, Wikipedia guidelines say to follow the bulk of literature and expert opinion, and the bulk of Gaelic researchers are Irish and the bulk of Anglo-Saxon researchers are English, so biased ethnocentric names are the current norm which Wikipedia must follow..... Prof Wrong (talk) 15:59, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Glad someone shares the same opinion as me then. Hopefully this will change sometime in the near future. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:32, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

More to the point, the claim that Scottish Gaelic "developed out of Middle Irish" is dubious at best. What we call "Middle Irish" is known by written records only, and the spoken vernacular would have diverged greatly by this point. There isn't a lot of it about, but there are Scottish writings from even as far back as the 12th century that show grammatical features characteristic of Scottish Gaelic that don't occur in Irish. To me, describing it as evolving from "Middle Irish" is like claiming that French evolved from Medieval Latin.... Prof Wrong (talk) 09:30, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Not at all. Middle Irish is the period when Old Irish norms were no longer followed and the language began to diverge and develop regional dialects. (That does not mean there were no dialects in Ireland in the Old Irish period, but they are not attested and any dialectal diversity that might have existed has disappeared virtually without trace.) The linguistic evolution from Old Irish to Scottish Gaelic is completely clear, and Middle Irish forms a transition period between both, where regional dialects in Scotland as well as Ireland emerged. Old Irish was remarkably homogeneous and standardised, while Middle Irish was considerably more heterogeneous. This is well in keeping with the usual model of language spread and differentiation. In view of the high homogeneity of Old Irish, it is implausible that it was spoken over a large area, thus the idea that it was spoken both throughout Ireland and in Scotland is dubious. Either it was the dialect of a highly prestigious region or a transdialectal compromise that did not correspond to any particular spoken dialect, comparable to Middle Chinese.
However, all modern Gaelic (Goidelic) varieties descend from a proto-dialect very close to written Old Irish, which implies that eventually at least it did become a spoken form as well. It is not impossible that this proto-dialect was actually spoken in Dál Riata and spread back to Ireland from there, although it does not seem particularly plausible historically. The most realistic model is to assume repeated expansions that ended up overwriting the former dialectal diversity only to see new diversity arising, similar to how a single Italic dialect, the Latin dialect of Rome, expanded in Ancient Italy to erase the former dialectal diversity of Italic, only for new Romance dialects to arise. In the case of Goidelic, the only expansion we can directly trace is the most recent one in the Middle Irish period. But it is implied there were earlier ones, the next-to-last expansion then yielding the dialectal diversity in which Old Irish arose and which it later erased.
In any case, it is completely clear that the origin of the Scottish Gaelic language is in Ireland. Primitive Irish is clearly distinct from Old and Early Brittonic. Both exhibit characteristic exclusive innovations – even apart from the P/Q-split – that show they must have been different already in the 4th century. Whether archaeological continuity exists is completely irrelevant: Most historically known migrations cannot clearly be traced in the archaeological record, and this is even expected because in numerous cases only a thin upper class actually spread. J. P. Mallory has specifically written on the "continuity fallacy", which is also found in archaeogenetic discussions. Denial of the origin of the Scottish Gaelic language in Ireland is not based on facts, but political dogma, and crucially overlooks that the origin of a language is independent of the origin of its speakers: That most Irish people speak English now does not mean that these speakers of Anglo-Irish are all immigrants from early modern England. Indigenous Scottish Highlanders are genetically probably predominantly Pictish (and in the Western Isles, Scandinavian) rather than Irish. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:33, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

On pages 79 to 80 of his book "Language Contact and the Origins of the Germanic Languages", Professor Peter Schrijver writes: " The closest cognate of Irish is British Celtic, or rather Highland British Celtic, the ancestor of Welsh, Cornish, and Breton that was spoken in the west and north of Britain. Although on the face of it the Old Irish of the seventh century and Old Welsh and Breton of the eighth century look very different from one another, almost all of the differences between them had arisen in a relatively short period between the fifth and seventh centuries AD, when masses of sound changes affected both languages. In fact, during the Roman period Irish and British Celtic must have been so similar that Celtic speakers on either side of the Irish Sea had little difficulty in understanding one another’s language. The earliest datable linguistic development that was not shared between Irish and British is the development of the Proto-Celtic diphthong * ai to * ɛ̄ (as in English bed but long), which affected British Celtic but not Irish, probably at some point during the later first century AD at the earliest. Before this happened, Irish and British Celtic were not just mutually comprehensible dialects; they were indistinguishable from one another."2A02:908:DF23:1C80:886F:4F33:A3FF:F8C7 (talk) 11:26, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Difficulty in learning[edit]

Might I suggest adding a few lines somewhere in the article about how difficult it would be for a native English speaker to learn Scottish Gaelic. I would find that quite an interesting piece of information as I've thought a bit about learning the language. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:34, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

If you can find sources to verify this then you can go ahead and add something about it. However I doubt that it is difficult for everyone who is a native english speaker to learn Gaelic. I'm a native English speaker and I've found it relatively easy so far. There may be a point for how different the grammar structure is etc. to English and how that increases difficulty, but would still need a source. JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 13:56, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and it would have to be a very serious linguistic source, because this is the kind of thing which people with no linguistic competence like to sound off about, especially after the third beer. You will certainly find journalistic sources, and they won't do. Personally, I doubt that any language is difficult, since any child can learn any language. But some are slightly easier for some learners in that elements of them are already familiar before they start. But quantifying that would be very difficult, and only a proper academic study would be citable. --Doric Loon (talk) 17:34, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
What he said. At best, you might be able to find some data on the relative distance between languages but on the whole, linguists don't really entertain the concept of easy or hard languages. Akerbeltz (talk) 18:47, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
If you look at the article on any other language, you'll find that this information isn't listed there either. You could make a list of differences between language pairs, but if it wasn't exhaustive then it wouldn't be indicative of the full difficulty or otherwise of a given language. But if it was exhaustive, it would be the length of several books, and would hardly be suitable for wikipedia. Taking a list of differences and finding a weighting for each difference that gives a sum "difficulty" would be very difficult indeed, and as others have said, there is no objective standard to judge against. Furthermore, difficulties are often the teacher's fault, not the language's, so it would never really be correct anyway. :-) Prof Wrong (talk) 20:08, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry I was of the understanding that speakers of certain tongues could find it difficult to learn others. Is Japanese not incredibly difficult (compared to certain languages) for non-Japanese speakers to learn (especially speakers of Germanic/Romance languages) ? Scottish Gaelic could have a very different or similair structure to English that's all I was suggesting. Just adding in a few lines over wether native English speakers would find it easy or difficult to adapt to the language. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:51, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

In basic terms I'm sure you're right. Some people with certain languages will find others easy to learn. Unfortunately, without verifiable and sourced information it can't be added to wikipedia. You yourself can feel free to go find a source somewhere to prove that and it can be added right away. If you find a source but you're not sure how to integrate it, just post the source here and someone will add it. JoshuaJohnLee talk softly, please 23:02, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Great I'll have a look around and see if I can come up with anything. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:43, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

It really isn't worth your time. Myself, Doric Loon and Akerbeltz have all spent a lot of time working through the literature on this topic and I can tell you now that all you're going to find is opinion that will fail on grounds of the reliability of the source. If any genuine expert had published any peer-reviewed data on the difficulty or otherwise of the language, I'm pretty certain I'd have heard about it, and I'm 100% sure Akerbeltz would be able to tell me about it if I hadn't. The data you're looking for simply doesn't exist. Prof Wrong (talk) 15:49, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Ah I see. Thanks for the heads up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

4th century: sources?[edit]

While I accept that the 4th century invasion is the generally accepted theory, it could still be better attributed, couldn't it? I've heard it claimed that the only ancient source we have is Bede's chronicles. If this is true, I would have thought it worth including. Prof Wrong (talk) 21:42, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

It's not the generally accepted theory. Not amongst historians anyway. It's a completely ridiculous theory with no basis in historical or archaeological evidence. Sadly a creationist myth, fostered in the middle ages by Scottish kings to create closer ties with Ireland has become accepted historical fact... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:57, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Reasons for Decline[edit]

I have always wondered this, why is it that Norman influence and the led to such permament Anglicization at the expense of Gaelic when:

The parts of Europe which participated in the Hanseatic League don't speak German Many countries that were influenced by forgeign languages didn't abandon their own languagues Wales which was under norman influence didn't have a linguistic divide at the expense of welsh like what happened in Scotland. And if Pictish died out so quickly why did it take Gaelic so long to decline in the higlands? Abrawak (talk) 20:18, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

The last strongholds of the Picts were in the low-lying easily accessible East. The Highlands are just that, high - I suspect geography. Akerbeltz (talk) 21:49, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

But why and how were the burghs able to lead to such anglicisation that even the national language was replaced as the national language and began it's decline. So many countries, like Scotland have been influenced by their neighbours (perhaps speaking more prestigious languages) but not at the expense of their native toungues. The countries that participated in the Hansiatic league for example,didn't become German speaking, the Baltic States and Finland aren't Swedish or Russian speaking and the norman influence in Wales and Ireland didn't erode their languages (offcourse it did but that was centuries later) But why was Scotland different? Abrawak (talk) 21:41, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

How widely was Gaelic spoken during the wars of independence? Abrawak (talk) 21:41, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Hm we're sliding into a forum debate here, which is not encourage by Wikipedia. Akerbeltz (talk) 22:22, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Edit warring over the letter "n"[edit]

I see there is an edit war going on over the use of nor versus or. According to the rules of English Grammar, nor is more correct. Also, as far as I can tell there is no policy favoring the use of or over nor, nor is there any proscription against nor. In fact, the manual of style uses nor in several places. So please stop the edit warring! Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 14:35, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, this edit warring has been annoying me. It's my belief that "nor" is more correct here and I think we should just leave it like that. I couldn't find a policy either, and English grammar means it should be "nor". Caledones talk softly, please 15:12, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I also agree. "Nor" is used correctly here and is a better choice than "or".--William Thweatt Talk | Contribs 16:13, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

The reason I reverted the change is that the existing text had been in place for a year (it was initially added in early March 2011) and had gone unchallenged since then. With language you cannot argue that something is "more correct" than something else, and often there will be more than one correct way, and each should be considered theoretically equal. Given that the word "or" has been here a year without anyone batting an eyelid, at the very least it falls under retain the existing variety. Personally I also think it's at best a heavily marked from that draws unnecessary attention to itself, at worst simply an outmoded usage. Prof Wrong (talk) 01:03, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Whether this is one or not, there are doubtless thousands of long-term errors lurking to be discovered in Wikipedia. This is hardly a valid reason for retaining something. Your constant reversions of several other editors, supported by those above, is tedious and distracting from getting on with other matters. Per my edit summary, and Conjunction (grammar), "nor" indicates a "non-contrasting negative idea", "or" would indicate an "alternative item or idea". The former is the case here, the latter is not. The notion that such a commonplace word as "nor" is outmoded seems bizarre. Mutt Lunker (talk) 01:20, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I disagree that it is "outmoded" - I use the word nor in everyday english (and I'm only 20, hardly outmoded!) Anyway, I think we've had enough of this now. "nor" seems to be the consensus. It certainly is not distracting nor a marked difference. Also, WP:RETAIN is under the heading of "national varieties of english" and refers to the usage of British or American English in articles, not cases like this. It's definitely not a policy for keeping something just because it's been there a while. Caledones talk softly, please 01:48, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh really? Care to share on what basis nor can be claimed to be outmoded? A quick trawl of lists 970,000 instances of nor. Hardly marginal I'd say. Akerbeltz (talk) 11:02, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, for one thing it occurs so rarely in corpus materials that the Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English doesn't even bother to include an entry for it in its index. If you look up "or", you'll find "nor" described as its rather infrequently used negative counterpart. It's one of those things that don't even get taught actively to most learners any more, because so few natives use them (see also whom).
I'd never have taken you for a prescriptivist, a Mhìcheil, and the bane of every descriptivist is the overzealous editing of a minority of prescriptivists -- every day, teachers and editors take natural written English and destroy the evidence of change by imposing dead or dying rules on it.
Nor is outdated -- it is no longer a majority usage -- but concensus wins. Prof Wrong (talk) 15:40, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
One other thought occurs to me -- it is ironic that prescriptivists fight so hard to preserve this double negative, when its death is a direct result of the self-same prescriptivists banning English's other historical double (and multiple) negatives -- I ain't never gone nowhere to say nothing to nobody. Prof Wrong (talk) 15:43, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Just because "nor" and "whom" are infrequently used does not make them any less correct. But anyway, we have consensus now and I think it's a good time to bring this discussion to an end. Caledones talk softly, please 15:53, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Your "descriptive" analysis is predicated on the hypothesis that nor is obsolete in modern speech but it is that very hypothesis that we are challenging. This is not a debate between descriptivists and prescriptivists; it is an argument over your description of nor as archaic. It simply is not, and most English speakers I know use it and use it correctly. Also, your claim that both forms are equally correct is without merit, because even from a descriptive perspective nor and or are not at all interchangeable. I can say "I don't have a driver's license, nor do I want one" but I cannot say "I don't have a driver's license or do I want one". I can however say "I don't have a license and I don't want one", which shows that while or provides a list of mutually exclusive alternatives, nor is a way to and together negative statements. In fact, the more I examine it, the clearer it becomes that I was mistaken to call nor more correct; I should have left out the word more because or was just flat out wrong. Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 15:58, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
That's a different structure, though, so irrelevant here. Prof Wrong (talk) 18:55, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I pick and chose between prescriptivism and descriptivism as I see fit, for I'm a practical linguist. Anyway. The consensus aside that has emerged, I punched various words into the Corpus of Contemporary American English (1990-2011) [2] and get 40,000 hits for nor. Rather more than for neither (33,000) and somewhat less than either (91,000). Taking that together with the bbc data, I'd say Longman's is guilty of a shortcoming, if anything. Akerbeltz (talk) 17:04, 2 March 2012 (UTC)


I found this curious sentence in the opening: (The only language that is de jure official in any part of the United Kingdom is Welsh.) I'm not sure what de jure means, but isn't English an official language? —MiguelMunoz (talk) 20:16, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

I think what it means is that English is the de facto official language (i.e. by default of being the majority/government language) but that no law was ever passed making English the official language. The Welsh Language Act on the other hand was an act of law which elevated Welsh to an official language. Akerbeltz (talk) 20:26, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

'UK Government' vs. other terms[edit]

I've reverted the changes from unlinked 'UK Government' to linked 'Her Majesty's Government'. There is already a link to the 'British government'. The changes made by the anon IP are spurious, and when seen together are clearly an example of british nationalism. The term 'UK Government' is used several times in this article and is quite common. The link to the Government of UK is already there. Check the edits of the anon IP. 'UK Government' is a common term and makes perfect sense, similar to 'US Government'. is known as 'UK Government Web Archive'. Dylansmrjones (talk) 21:20, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

I really do despair. "UK Government"? Really? "UK" is not an adjective, it's a noun. The term for something "of the United Kingdom" is British, just as "of Spain" is Spanish, "of the Netherlands" is Dutch, etc. Or fuck it, let's just do away with all demonyms altogether, shall we? Johan Cruyff can be a Netherlands (or Holland, your choice) footballer, Gandhi an India politican, Kaiser Bill a Germany king and Mark Webber an Australia racing driver. Sound good? Give me strength. JonC 21:35, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
For one thing, English has something called attributive noun; for another, UK is not a noun but an abbreviation. You don't watch BBC programmes, you watch BBCish ones? --Thrissel (talk) 21:45, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Well yes, but it's an abbreviation for United Kingdom, which is also not a noun (even an attributive one). I watch BBC programmes because there is no adjective to describe something being BBC-like. JonC21:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I think you're mistaken about UK being a noun as such. It is also an adjective, at least in practice. The website for the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (or whatever the name is) -> 'Website of the UK government' (Heey, look, the UK government does it wrong, too). We're all mistaken :p Dylansmrjones (talk) 21:47, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Hey, I didn't vote for them. :) JonC 21:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
The same principle is true for the U.S. Government. The UK and the U.S. Governments have referred to themselves in said style for many years. There is nothing new about the term 'UK Government' or 'U.S. Government'. I voted for none of them, being Danish and all ;) Dylansmrjones (talk) 21:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
It's the American influence creeping in on British English. "US Government" is and always has been nonsensical. (As would "Denmark Government" be.) JonC 22:07, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, it makes sense to everybody else, ain't dat shit rite? (oh, sowwy for þat). The Denmark Government sounds wrong, but the DK Government sounds okay. Anyway, English is not a real language; it's a norse-anglo-saxon-brythonic-gaelic-latin-norman french pidgin; that's why it's broken :p Dylansmrjones (talk) 22:12, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I assume that if you object to UK Government, US Government etc, then you don't have any bread knives at home, and you wouldn't ever wear a suit jacket...? The attributive noun (or as I learnt it the "classifier" noun) isn't some crazy neologism, it's a direct descendant of the classical genitive, but with its inflection lost. If you're into the preservation of traditional language, then "UK Government" is actually the best term, rather than these newfangled adjectival constructions, or the bastard "of" -- after all, "of" is used to denote a quantity, right? A pound of apples, a box of chocolates etc, and "government" isn't really a quantity or division, is it? Prof Wrong (talk) 07:33, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Are "breadian" and "suitish" words, or have I missed something? Jon C. 08:18, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
UKish doesn't exist either. It's a defective form that doesn't inflect. You're trying to synthesise a suppletive form from another word. This is acceptable usage, but it's not obligatory.
There are many things that language could do, there is nothing that language should do, and there are various things that language does do. What language does is what matters, not what you, or me*, or anyone thinks it should do.
(*) yes, you or me. I said it. If you want an explanation of why, just ask. Prof Wrong (talk) 15:05, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

You may not like it but every living language changes by consensus. If enough people say it "wrong" it actually does become right. That's why you buy books, not beek. Akerbeltz (talk) 22:20, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

I know, I'm not pushing for an Académie anglaise to dictate usage. That's the beauty of the English language – its malleability. It doesn't mean I can't do my little bit to try and stop the likes of the above while they are still wrong, though. "UK Government"? Ugh. JonC 22:27, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
There are 70 million hits for "US government". The boat on that one hasn't just left, it's left, rounded the cape, survived the freak wave and it way on its way to Flosston Paradise ;) Akerbeltz (talk) 22:33, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't mean the HMS Britain has to follow it! JonC 22:34, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
10 million for "UK government" ... sorry, just as gone. You might as well crusade for re-introducing thou and thee. Akerbeltz (talk) 22:37, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Similarly common are UAE Government, PRC Government and NATO meeting. I would say that there's a perfectly acceptable rule that says an acronym can be used as an adj or noun. Neeeext. Akerbeltz (talk) 22:40, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Re-introducing 'thou' and 'thee' actually makes sense. About time those migrant anglo-saxons learn to speek properly ;) Dylansmrjones (talk) 22:45, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
They're not actually great examples as "Emirati government", "Chinese government" and "Atlantic (?) meeting" could refer to other emirates, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the ocean, respectively. What other terms could be used for those three? "British government" is different in that it's both unambiguous and correct. There's no need for the illiterate UK-as-a-descriptor construct. JonC 22:47, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

'British government' is hardly correct, since any government on the British Isles can claim to be a british government. The Government of the United Kingdom of etc. is not the british government, but merely a british government. The term 'UK Government' makes it clear it is not the government of Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland, nor the government of the Republic of Ireland, but the government of UK. Otherwise we could refer to the Danish government as the government of Scandinavia ;) Dylansmrjones (talk) 23:15, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

No point, as we've already innovated you vs youse :b Akerbeltz (talk) 23:32, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
"sigh" Looks like we have to do the Lindisfarne expedition all over again... Mmmh... :D Dylansmrjones (talk) 23:37, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, you could argue that, but I can't see the Scottish, Welsh, N. Irish (or, heaven forbid, (Republic of) Irish!) govts calling themselves a "British government". The term "British" in modern-day English almost universally refers to the UK. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with "government of the UK" or something similar, just using "UK" as the descriptor! JonC 08:08, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I just don't see why it should be problem for Wikipedia in 2012 when it wasn't problem for Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1938 [3]. --Thrissel (talk) 17:30, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
As I said, it's an American thing (or US thing, if you'd prefer). The Britannica has been American-owned since 1901. JonC 17:36, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
And Wikipedia uses American servers. So what? --Thrissel (talk) 17:46, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Oh wait.... [] describes itself as.... "the official UK government website for citizens" and "website of the UK government". Their logo says "HMGovernment", right enough, but in continuous prose, it's "UK government" every time.Prof Wrong (talk) 15:29, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

The translation of "Somerled"[edit]

The translation of Somherligh in the article is incorrect. The Geailge consonant 'mh' is properly translated into English as a V. This man's name therefore, in English, should be Soverley or Soverled, not Somerley nor Somerled (not unlike the proper pronounciation of Samhuinn). Glorious Goddess (talk) 09:54, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, you're wrong on this. The name is originally Norse, not Irish. The original form has an M -- the lenition in the Scottish Gaelic was introduced by a process of assimilation and naturalisation (in the older Celtic tongues, lenition was a simple consequence of a consonant falling between two vowels). "Somerled" is a rendering of the original Norse, so it retains the M. Prof Wrong (talk) 10:23, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Somerled is just a very old spelling, GG, not a modern rendition of Somhairle into English. And besides, in Somhairle the mh does not represent /v/ but hiatus. Akerbeltz (talk) 11:17, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

12th century map[edit]

File:Scots lang-en.svg is a good idea and seems largely correct (or at least sensible), but the Isle of Man and some other coastal areas (especially Galway) should be marked as dark pink for mixed Norse-Gaelic as well, compare File:Kingdom of Mann and the Isles-en.svg (a political map) and especially File:Old norse, ca 900.PNG (a linguistic map). After all, the western isles are already labelled "Norse-Gaels"! In some coastal areas, especially towns, of Ireland on the opposite side, Norse may still have been spoken, too. I don't think that the areas in question were already all fully Gaelicised by the early 12th century – certainly what I've read does not suggest that. (According to my notes, Adolf Noreen does admittedly claim that Norse was spoken on Man only until about 1050, but Einar Haugen writes it survived until the 14th century. Noreen states that Norse was spoken in Ireland until about 1250 and Haugen says until the 13th century, so they agree in this case at least.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:29, 3 October 2012 (UTC)


Some mention of pre-Union persecution by the Scottish government should be mentioned.--MacRùsgail (talk) 16:42, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

You mean the Statutes of Iona? There probably should be at least a link there from here. --Thrissel (talk) 16:03, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

14th century map[edit]

Ross's interpretation of the linguistic divide in 1400, here based on place-name evidence. Blue is Gaelic, yellow is Scots and orange is Norn.

This map is sourced, based on the work of David R. Ross, but I have some serious concerns about its accuracy. Ross was not an academic and has ignored some basic facts we know about the spread of English into the Lowlands and the cultural divide that already existed in the 14th century. John of Fordun wrote in c1380:

An accurate map would surely have at least Lowland Perthshire, Angus and Aberdeenshire in yellow. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 08:44, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

It's hard to tell. The most reliable collection of data on the topic I've seen to date is Withers Gaelic in Scotland. His map of the 1400-1500 period shows the various approximations of the Gaelic speaking area in the period and while this map is not identical to either, it's not wildly out of order either. Most of the disagreement seems to be around the in/exclusion of the "band" across Dumbarton-Stirling-Fife-Perth-Upland Abers-Nairn. I think two things are useful to note - Gaelic speaking isn't meant to mean 100% Gaelic speaking but "spoken by a % of the population". The second thing is that when we look at the first reliable "figures" (church records which state in which parishes ministers preached/had to preach in Gaelic), the data from the 1680s tells us that taking Angus for example, Lochlee, Lethnot, Navar, Glenisla, Strathardle, and Alyth are listed as "Gaelic" from a preaching point of view. If there were sufficient Gaelic speakers in Angus in the 1680s to require that, then it's highly unlikely that those areas weren't Gaelic speaking in 1400/1500. In Perthshire, Strathearn for example is still listed as Wholly Irish & Highland Countreys in the 1705 data.
I wish I was any good at doing maps, I'd love to recreate some of them. Akerbeltz (talk)
I think it's a given that the Angus Glens were Gaelic until relatively recently. Does Withers talk about Strathmore and the Mearns at all? Catfish Jim and the soapdish 20:21, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
He says In the east-central and coastal parishes of Aberdeenshire, Gaelic probably ceased to be spoken 'some time between 1500 and 1600'. Neither Nicholson (for 1400s), Loch (~1500) or Smout ("Medieval") stretch the Gaelic speaking area to the coastal parishes. Loch's line is the furthest east, starting at Perth and more or less running a parallel course to the coast roughly as far east as Brechin, Laurencekirk, Methlick, Aberchirder up to the Moray Firth at Forres. 1705 has 6 Gaelic parishes in "Kincardina, Alford Fordice", 2 3/4 in Meigle and Forfar, 24 in Murray, and "parishes bordering ye Highlands" in Brechin, [upland Angus], Head of Soarn and Panadyce. I think unless someone digs up some really ancient manuscripts, we're left with the general view that Gaelic had it's maximum extent (with local Gaelic speakers, even if not necessarily solidly Gaelic speaking) down to the coastal plains around 11 cent and then fairly rapidly retreating from those "mixed" areas.
So coming back to the map, for the period in question it seems ... unrealistic. Are you any good with maps? Akerbeltz (talk) 10:51, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Nicholson, 1974

I wouldn't say I'm particularly good with them, but I can make rudimentary maps... I managed to borrow a copy of Withers from the university library, so I've tried to redraw one of the maps based on the figure in question. I'll play about with all three and try to create a composite figure. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 12:25, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Hey that's great! Sorry I can't be of much help when it comes to drawing maps but glad I could point you at a good source. Akerbeltz (talk) 13:07, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Smout, 1969
Loch, 1932
These are great. The only suggestion I have that the unclear Norse area applies to all 3 maps. Since it's in doubt, perhaps if you shaded the area in orange and yellow or blue? Akerbeltz (talk) 18:24, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll do that and combine them into a single figure. Do we include the Ross interpretation? My gut instinct is to reject it as he's a popular writer as opposed to an academic. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 18:40, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree, on close inspection, Ross' map is problematic. What would also be good would be the 1705 map on page 56 as it's the first date with reliable data - though I would fill in the Easter and Wester Ross area in line with the 1765 map on page 70, that gap would be totally misleading. Akerbeltz (talk) 19:28, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
The maps are great, any chance of making them in SVG format so that they can be edited further along the line? Thanks. Prof Wrong (talk) 20:58, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Possibly... I'm using photoshop for the moment, which doesn't handle SVG files. I'll look into SVG editors. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 08:12, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

I've left this stagnate slightly... I've replaced Ross' map on the article page with Nicholson's for the time being as it is more likely to be accurate. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 10:48, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

The new Nicolaisen map is very inaccurate. Even for Nicolaisen, who argues that Gaelic was still the main language of Aberdeenshire c. 1500, and would hardly have it almost expunged from the shire in 1400! The map expunges Gaelic from Dunbartsonshire, Ayrshire, Angus, Easter Ross, Moray, southern Stirlingshire and eastern Perthshire, where it was still prevalent and in the case of Dunbartonshire, Moray and Easter Ross, totally dominant outside a few burghs. Cf. this page, though I doubt any map showing a line is accurate, since the eastern Lowland Scotland from Buchan to West Lothian was probably a linguistic transition zone rather than monolingual any way until around 1500. Perhaps a third colour indicating a transition zone is necessary. (talk) 15:39, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
The map you linked to is actually the map I was attempting to reproduce, with the dashed line being Nicholson's map, the dotted line Smout's and the alternate dot and dashed line Loch's. Any difference between the two are entirely due to my own (lack of) skill level. I invite you to try for yourself. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 15:53, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
And Ross' map is not an acceptable alternative, for the reasons given above. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 15:57, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

You did a good execution, but per the link above the map said to be Nicolaisen's here relates to 1500 rather than 1400. The dotted Smout line is not a linguistic map, but a physical map disowned from any linguistic associations. There is no direct connection between physical zone and linguistic zones. Not even an early modernist would believe Gaelic unspoken in eastern Sutherland! The Ross map is not perfect, but the only academic map available relating to 1400 is very similar (the Loch map), but includes Fife in Gaeldom (it was clearly spoken in Fife c. 1400, but English was probably more prevalent, certainly in eastern Fife). (talk) 16:04, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Right enough... The legend on the original map reads:
Areas of Norse speech (After Nicholson, 1974)
The Boundary between Gaelic and English-speaking in 1400 (After Nicholson, 1974)
The Boundary between Gaelic and English-speaking in 1500 (After Loch, 1932)
The Highland Line in Medieval Scotland (After Smout, 1969)
Ross is not an academic source and is patently incorrect due to the lowland Angus/Mearns issue. Smout is, as you say, not a map of linguistic divide. The problem with Loch is Fife. The problem with Nicholson (not Nicolaisen) is he has exaggerated the level of incursion of English by 1400. How about this:
Two interpretations of the linguistic divide in the middle ages. On the left the divide in 1500 after Loch, 1932; On the right the divide in 1400 after Nicholson, 1974 Blue is Gaelic, yellow is Scots and orange is Norn (both reproduced from Withers, 1984)

But the left is an estimate for 1400, the right map is one for 1500. I think putting the left map next to Ross should be sufficient to illustrate controversy about Fife and Angus & Mearns. Alternatively, you could put the 1400 and 1500 maps next to each other in the correct order per the Atlas linked above. The 1500 map is much wronger than the 1400 map, since we know for a fact that Gaelic was still spoken in northern Carrick in c. 1600 and in places like Kirriemuir and Dunnichen in Angus, Dunkeld in Stormont, and so forth, even in the 18th century. I repeat my preference for a transitional colour. I suspect a linguistic line going through Scotland is precisely NOT what was happening in the late middle ages; places like Buchan, Fife and Nithsdale must have had both languages just like the Hebrides in the 20th century, or Atholl in the 19th. (talk) 17:44, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

We can alter the order in which the maps appear.
Nicholson is preferable to Ross. I hate to appeal to authority but unless I'm mistaken, David Ross was not an academic. Rather he was an enthusiastic writer of books about his trips round Scotland on a motorbike visiting places connected to William Wallace, etc. Ranald Nicholson on the other hand was a Professor of Scottish Medieval History (read for his undergraduate degree at Edinburgh and his Phd/DPhil at Oxford University, lecturer at Edinburgh University, Chair at Guelph) and the work in question is Volume II of the Edinburgh History of Scotland. Whether we share his interpretation or not, it would be hard to argue that it is not a reliable source as demanded by WP:RS, whereas Ross is not, as well-written as his books may be from a popular viewpoint.
It would be useful to get some opinions from other editors here. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 14:01, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree that Ross doesn't come with the same general authority, but Ross's place-name work means he is probably more familiar with the linguistic evidence. We don't have to agree on that however, and others can have their say. In the mean time could you put the 1400 and 1500 maps with the correct order and annotation? As we both now acknowledge, the current map / annotation is not correct, and we agree that we need to be correct in reference to the attribution if not to the linguistic realities. (talk) 14:53, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Competing interpretations of the linguistic divide in the middle ages. Left: the divide in 1400 after Loch, 1932; Right: the divide in 1500 after Nicholson, 1974. Blue is Gaelic, yellow is Scots and orange is Norn (both reproduced from Withers, 1984)

Just to check I understand, you want the Loch map (1500) on the right and the Nicholson map (1400) on the left? Would this edited annotation ("Competing interpretations...") be preferable? Catfish Jim and the soapdish 15:55, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, I've not communicated well. You had the dates the wrong way around. What you've called the Nicholson map with Gaelic-less north Carrick and Easter Ross relates to 1500 and not 1400, while the Loch map with fully Gaelic Fife is meant to relate to 1400 (again, check the Atlas link posted above to verify that). (talk) 16:30, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Okay, Withers has them the other way round in Gaelic in Scotland 1698–1981. I assume that's a typo as it would make more sense the other way round... consider it adjusted. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 18:21, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

The Nicholson map seems fairly confusing, it suggests that Scots is the dominant language in parts of Sutherland, Rossshire and the Inverness area by the 15th century, although almost all sources point to the late 19th century as the transition period away from Gaelic? Especially in relation to a discussion on "defunct" dialects, surely it would be more relevant, accurate (and likely true) to refer to more recent sources? Hypertone (talk) 09:32, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Is it possible you're confusing the colours? Blue = Gaelic, Yellow = Scots. So that only makes the the crescent from the Black Isle to Nairn Scots speaking, which I'd say is right. Akerbeltz (talk) 12:32, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
The map is correct in that eastern parts of the Black Isle spoke Scots and much of Nairn did aswell , but it also includes places such as the Tain area, Dornoch, western Black Isle (Knockbain and Kilmuir) Inverness (including Mackintosh lands), Petty etc none of which are places where Scots was dominant over Gaelic. Hypertone (talk) 17:41, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
The 1500 map in Wilson Macleod's Divided Gaels is better. I do agree it is inaccurate to depict Eastern Ross and eastern Sutherland as non-Gaelic speaking (indeed there is still as surviving local dialect in the latter). Incidentally, 'Scots' was used throughout the Highlands in 1500, but that does not mean locals didn't speak Gaelic. The two are not exclusive like these maps suggest. (talk) 15:40, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
According to Einar Haugen, Scandinavian was still spoken on the (Outer) Hebrides as late as the 16th century. None of the maps take this into account, so none of them can claim any amount of accuracy. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:28, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Question on Introduction[edit]

The current introduction includes the following phrase: "(The only language that is de jure official in any part of the UK is Welsh.)" Is this really true? Is not English also a de jure official language in the UK? Not trying to be funny, just wondering if this statement may need review/correction.

No, this oddity is indeed the case. English is de facto the working language of the UK but this has never been enshrined in law. Akerbeltz (talk) 17:47, 2 July 2013 (UTC)


I'm imposing semiprotection on the article and talk page for one month due to POV-pushing and violation of WP:FORUM by a particular editor who uses a variety of IPs. The most recent edit by the IP was here on 13 February. For background see WP:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive774#Appropriate for semi-protection? Or another solution? Though the ANI report is from 2012, the same pattern of edits is continuing. Edit warring by an IP-hopper violates WP:SOCK. I suggest that this editor create an account and try to get consensus for their changes. EdJohnston (talk) 16:25, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

MacBain ref in "Loanwords" section[edit]

Thanks @Escape Orbit for re-formatting the unorthodoxly-presented ref to MacBain in the Loanwords section. @Stoorybrig had been making some edits regarding the non-Gaelic forms of the loan words and I have been discussing (at my talk page) with them as to whether these additions are sourced from MacBain or otherwise. Overall, the content of this section has been edited quite extensively since the original ref/mention of MacBain was made, years ago, at the foot of the section, and probably implying that the entire section as it was then was sourced from it. Though the ref is now formatted correctly and with the evolution of the section it isn't clear which parts of the section are covered by the ref and it possibly implies it is only the preceding sentence or maybe paragraph. Is anyone, possibly @Stoorybrig, able to sift through the section and find which parts of its content are supported by MacBain and which not? I'm afraid I get errors if I try to search in Mutt Lunker (talk) 17:36, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Eclipse section re Scots[edit]

The The Eclipse of Gaelic in Scotland section discusses the growing influence of the Scots language, at various periods, in relation to the decline of Gaelic. With the benefit of a modern perspective we are aware of the development from Early to Middle to Modern Scots. That the modern categorisation as "Scots" was not employed in the Early period itself does not disallow us from employing that designation, recognising it as a precedent to the later periods. The First World War wasn't referred to so until we'd had a second one. Inglis was the term used for the language in the time of Barbour but in the context of a section about Scots in relation to Gaelic, using current terminology is not only appropriate but gives more clarity. The new edit confused matters, potentially looking like mention of a third tongue. Mutt Lunker (talk) 23:20, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

The issue of 'Inglis' was fully explored and explained in James Murray's definitive work The Dialects of the Lowland Counties of Scotland published back in the 1870s. In essence Murray correctly pointed out that 'Inglis' was just one amongst several archaic spellings of 'English'. That spelling was as commonplace in England as it was in Scotland. The modern standard spelling 'English' did not even appear in England until the closing decades of the 16th century. Lowland Scots unquestionably 'called' their language 'English' and not 'Inglis'. In the 16th century the Scottish Parliamentary records expressly state that England and Scotland shared the same language.

Using current terminology is sensible: but in current terminology the spelling is English and not Inglis. To improve the article I should replace all references to 'Inglis' with 'English' unless the context is about how spellings have changed over time

(Meanwhile just as an aside re the name of the Great War, C Repington's two volume work The First World War was published in 1920)

Cassandrathesceptic (talk) 14:09, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

I see Mutt that in your now customary manner have simply deleted the above information. Might I invite you to go to arbitration if you dispute the accuracy of something rather than simply deleting it because you just don't like it? Cassandrathesceptic (talk) 18:53, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Re your edit summary, Category:Suspected Wikipedia sockpuppets of, including your newer and some-time user name incarnation.
Yet again, it's about your multi-article coatracking of a nebulous POV that I couldn't characterise, let alone dispute. Pertinence, not accuracy. This is not a forum for the promotion of your POV, which seems to take offence at the very mention of Scots, be it as a dialect (/of English), a language, uncharacterised or whatever (it's irrelevant) and seeks to expunge and replace by the term "English" on every occasion, be that unecessarily less-specific or plain wrong.
In a paragraph which discusses various terms, how their use has changed and how they were applied to what are now termed Gaelic, English and Scots, the term "Scots" has to be used when discussing Scots relation to/potentially its inclusion within English, then or in current times. Your contribution is characteristiclly opportunistic, off-topic and disruptive. Mutt Lunker (talk) 20:03, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Personal Names - Iomhar[edit]

I've never known anyone who used Iver as a name, but I've known quite a few who used Ivor. Is "Iver" in the personal names section a typing error or is it for real? Michealt (talk) 17:26, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Over here you're right, Ivor is the dominant spelling but the Nordic spelling seems to be Iver, cf Iver Heltzen, Iver Johnson etc Akerbeltz (talk) 20:31, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Actually the common Nordic name is Ivar, whereas Iver is a much less common option. Jeppiz (talk) 20:33, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Pushing fringe theory[edit]

During the summer, one single user, without any discussion, changed this article to suggest there is a consensus that Scottish Gaelic developed in Scotland, and didn't come from Ireland. This extreme WP:FRINGE theory seems to rest on one single person. Not only is it incorrect to present it as the prevailing view (as it is not), it's even wrong to include it at all. Wikipedia provides space for both majority and minority options if both are substantial, but the personal theories of one individual is WP:UNDUE. This whole nonsense should be swiftly removed unless any reliable sources for it can be presented. Jeppiz (talk) 14:49, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Can you give us some diffs? Catfish Jim and the soapdish 15:11, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Fortunately it's gone, as Cagwinn quite rightly removed it at the same time I wrote the above. I've removed the tag I placed. Jeppiz (talk) 15:19, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Indeed. That was total nonsense.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:31, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
Added again and removed. Mutt Lunker (talk) 08:35, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
Sorry to butt in here, but Campbell's idea isn't fringe, at least not among archaeologists. Campbell is the most prominent archaeologist working on western Scotland and the isles in the early Middle Ages. Now, that his theory isn't widely accepted can be noted. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:04, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
It is absolutely fringe - but of course, many British archaeologists favor fringe theories these days (a very sad fact). Cagwinn (talk) 17:11, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
It's not WP:Fringe, because Campbell represents a respected minority in his field. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:17, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

A minority, certainly. Respected? By whom? Akerbeltz (talk) 18:31, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

By scholars of the early Middle Ages. So, look at Fraser's Caledonia to Pictland pp. 147–48, does that look like he isn't respected? Being a senior lecturer at Glasgow, having books under the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Council for British Archaeology, and Historic Scotland. This is all superfluous, he is a professional scholar who has advocated one way of looking at the evidence of his own field; the early Middle Ages is an era where the evidence is rarely decisive (that applies to philology and textual history as well as archaeology), and scholarship isn't about slavish conformity, it's about debate, and Campbell has started a significant debate which is itself of some note; the reception of his position can be noted and given due weight, but there isn't really a good case for excluding his position (not on the grounds stated here anyway) much less seeking to do so with borderline-WP:BLP violations regarding WP:Fringe. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:44, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
With that noted, it should be said that the editor's addition could appear to misrepresent the argument's reception, though in fairness the article says 'commonly accepted by scholars today' and cites references from the 1990s and 1970s! The history section of this article is generally not very good / out of date, and has gone downhill in the last few years. The massive amount of stuff about Margaret and Mael-Coluim for instance is basically myth / outdated antiquarian speculation rooted in a misconceived link between high politics and overlyrapid linguistic change, and scholars who are actually active in 11th/12th.13th century Scotland don't generally think Gaelic began to decline until about the 13th century. There is a recent piece by Clancy that could be used to improve this article, see here. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 19:08, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

To note, the editor that re-added the material here this morning also edited regarding the same theory at the Dál Riata article. On the basis of the earlier consensus above I removed this material but there is still significant coverage of Campbell's theories elsewhere in the article. I'll leave it to those who know more on the matter if it ought be covered and if so how. Mutt Lunker (talk) 19:23, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

I agree about your general assessment of the quality of refs and content of this page, to begin with.
Moving on though, the debate is also not about when Gaelic began declining. Unless this "theory" has been revised recently, this is about whether the linguistic movement was from Ireland to Scotland, the other way round (which has also floated around some archaeological heads over the years) or whether we're looking at some sort of continuity since the Iron Age. With the mainstream accepting a linguistic movement out of Ireland into Scotland, not the other way round. Which may or may not be in alignment or contrary to material culture, the flow of goods etc etc.
Building such a theory on material culture while ignoring the linguistic side of the coin is short-sighted, to be polite. It is not entirely uncommon amongst archaeologists, some of whom seem to have some in-built reluctance to consider anything that's not bone or stone.
At best, this should be presented as a contentious theory held by a minority of non-linguists. Akerbeltz (talk) 01:26, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, just mention the general issue of quality on this page. Re Campbell, has he ignored the linguistic evidence? He's aware that Irish and Scottish Gaelic shared innovations much later, but his model is there to explain those by much more 'optimistic' mechanisms like continual contact, etc (many archaeologists don't like migrations, as a rule). I guess it doesn't matter. All that matters here is that, I think everyone can agree, Campbell's views are notable but not widely accepted. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 02:08, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
Gaelic linguists have no beef with continual contact, indeed, it's such a no-brainer that it perhaps gets talked about less than it should. For Gaels, the sea between Ireland and Scotland has long been more of a convenient highway than a barrier and no Gaelic linguist I know of argues that the Dal Riata event was THE cause of Gaelic coming to Scotland. After all there were Irish colonies in Wales and on Man, it would be ludicrous to suggest there were none in Argyll. What did arguably happen was a heightened influx and a more concentrated power structure as opposed to presumably semi-independent colonies and with such a shift in political and societal structure, it would be highly unusual from a linguistic POV for that not to result in a linguistic shift/split. So the main argument really boils down to the question if the split in Insular Celtic to P and Q was total on the mainland or whether there was a pocket of Q Celtic in Argyll that remained and was at some point "re-inforced" by Irish settlement. This is where the linguistic evidence doesn't really stack up for Campbell, there's just too much P Celtic in place names in the west of Scotland. Epidii just screams P Celtic for one thing. Incidentally, I see that someone has inserted Campbell's "stuff" into the Epidii article too, with what I'd regard as undue prominence. While I agree he merits a mention, I think someone is trying to seed Wikipedia with his theory which is not ok the way I see it. Akerbeltz (talk) 11:19, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
Doesn't this correspond with the evidence being indecisive? Epidii is 'P-Celtic' (the same etymology produces early Gaelic Eochaid), but all that shows is that the source was 'P-Celtic'--rather like if we split all Germanic speakers into how they pronounced *burgz place-names and used American pronunciation for Edinburgh (the P-Q variation is nowadays regarded by many as quite frivolous). There are 'P-Celtic' names recorded in Ireland too. Anyway, these days, it's not even certain that there was a P-Q 'split' in Insular Celtic until the end of the Roman era, before some of the early ranges for the alleged migration! Perhaps this evidence leans against Campbell, but it's hardly decisive. Campbell's case is archaeological and historical, for which he does have rebuttals (the Dalriada article seems to handle this quite well). Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 14:52, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
"'s not even certain that there was a P-Q 'split' in Insular Celtic until the end of the Roman era"...sorry, that's just nonsense. Brittonic already had P's before the Roman invasion (hello? The island's name is *Pritani, Hellenized/Latinized as Pretannia) and Ireland never developed P's. The ancient names with Ps in Ireland either were passed on the Greek and Romans via Brittonic speakers, who automatically converted Proto-Irish /kW/ to /p/, or they reflect Gallo-Brittonic colonies there. Cagwinn (talk) 17:20, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
That's what you call a circular argument.Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:08, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
No, it's called having 30 years of experience studying Celtic historical linguistics. I keep up with all the latest developments, by the way, and correspond with several top researchers in the field, so I am quite aware of what you are referring to in regards to linguists downplaying the P/Q split in recent years - and I think you misunderstand the argument. Cagwinn (talk) 20:28, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
You're being a bit mysterious here, you'll need to elaborate because I don't know what point you are making. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:35, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
No one (or at least no one who knows what they are talking about) claims that the P/Q split dates to the end of the Roman era - mainly because we have plenty of onomastic evidence proving otherwise.Cagwinn (talk) 18:11, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
Verging a bit close to the No true Scotsman argument here, and the 'onomastic evidence' doesn't really 'prov[e] otherwise'. Anyway, some of Schrijver's arguments put that area in range, and Maier has also suggested Late Antiquity/early Middle Ages -- and don't forget Ptolemy dates to the mid Roman era. I am not denying that most have put the 'split' earlier...
...When was the tower of Babel built again? ;) Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:46, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, but you are just way out of your league here and making ridiculous arguments for arguments' sake (no true Scotsman - are you serious??). You seem to be influenced on this issue by a single article - hardly a scholarly consensus. Cagwinn (talk) 20:01, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
You regard yourself as major league because you have sent some scholars emails? You have no idea what you are talking about, please, enough with the personal attacks. I'm not here to bruise your ego, I am merely trying to clarify certain misconceptions about the evidence here and the important points have already been made. If you want to continue this P/Q stuff, please visit my userpage. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:23, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
I have done a lot more than simply "sent some scholars emails". Though the site is no longer active, I wrote one of the first comprehensive surveys of Gallo-Brittonic posted on the web and received numerous accolades for it from scholars. I have also founded, moderated, and been an active participant of several academic-oriented mailing lists dedicated to Celtic historical linguistics for the past 15 years; members of my lists include many of the top Celticists working today, a number of whom have consulted with me on linguistic issues and even cited me as a source in their own work. I am not just some random Wikipedia editor and I guarantee you that I most certainly know what I am talking about when it comes to the history of the Brittonic and Irish languages. Cagwinn (talk) 22:07, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
Cagwinn, congrats on all your achievements. It's great to have another expert editor here. Wikipedia has lots of expert editors, including myself, and many much more impressive than either you or me. Wikipedia is very lucky to have Akerbeltz contributing his Gaelic language expertise, and hopefully you'll bring much to the encyclopedia in future with your enthusiasm for Arthuriana and early Celtic topics. Your own opinions about your expertise are not a substitute, however, for evidence or argument, and they certainly don't give you license to be uncivil--as you surely must realise, having so recently had your own talk page blocked for personal abuse. You seem to want to exercise some sort of leadership, but you'll meet few leadership experts who'll endorse your view that abusing people with insults or typing emoticon-phrases constantly is likely to inspire respect. You're going to have a hard time on Wikipedia with this sort of attitude; you're certainly not going to get anywhere with me. To repeat what I said above, if you want to continue this, you should use my talk page (or your own), because our conversation has more than ceased to serve any use for the overall discussion. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 22:45, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

Why does Epidii make it indecisive?? In any case, I'm not aware of P/Q being regarded as frivolous by linguists. Archaeologists maybe. *burgz is a really poor comparison as this is the echo of a particular word whereas P/Q a) stands for a whole raft of linguistic innovations which applied to either one or the other side but not both and b) applies across the board as a sound change. If you want a Germanic equivalent, it's more like the different outcomes of the Great Vowel Shift in Southern vs Northern English/Scots. As regards Irish place names with P, those few which are indeed Goidelic rather than Norse or Anglo-Saxon in origin are essentially all the result of backformation (i.e. de-lenition of f > p i.e. by speakers re-analyzing a place name like /fɑːl/ and assuming it is the result of páil /pʰɑːl/ > pháil /fɑːl/ ) and thus relatively recent innovations.Akerbeltz (talk) 18:39, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

Why is Epidii indecisive? As I explained, the name is not recorded from local sources, but via other Celtic speakers who, if they rendered q as p, would render it Epidii regardless of how it was pronounced by locals (this still happens in the 12th century!). It's arguably a bit naive to take written forms like this at face value, as many historians and historical philologists have done. However, if you do, you have to accept that the kw>p innovation had spread to Ireland as well as Argyll (e.g. the Menapii recorded in Ptolemy, the same source for the Epidii--i.e. not later backformations that you are talking about), unless you wish to get bogged down in circular argument. Some people do accept it. Mallory recently accepted that Ireland had 'P Celts', and that 'Q Celts' came to dominate quite late.
Re Ps and Qs, the Insular Celtic hypothesis is partially based on the lack of importance of the distinction: it may have begun as a natural change that happened in different parts of Celtia, but was not part of anything systematic--but later came to appear so because it became a systematic difference between British and Gaelic. I'm no expert in these things, and don't have a view, but it illustrates that matters aren't as simple as some here might be supposing. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:07, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
The Menapii were in modern-day Belgium. So not relevant to the Q/P debate in Ireland/Scotland except very tangentially. Akerbeltz (talk) 22:14, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
As you can see above, I didn't bring this tribe up because of Belgium, but because there was (another) tribe of that name in Ireland. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 23:50, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
You mean the Manapii? Those who appear in Old Irish as the *coughs* Manaig(h)/Monaig(h) with that pesky c/g? Akerbeltz (talk) 01:02, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
As I pointed out above, they appear in Ptolemy with the 'p', just like the Epidii; so either there were 'P Celts' in Ireland and Argyll, or both spelling representing the form of Celtic of an intermediate source (that rendered Kws into Ps). Or you can go with the circular argument. Ultimately, the point is that the thin 'linguistic evidence' is pretty indecisive and could be used to support whatever position one already believed. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 13:02, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
"so either there were 'P Celts' in Ireland and Argyll, or both spelling representing the form of Celtic of an intermediate source (that rendered Kws into Ps)." LOL - didn't you accuse me above of engaging in a circular argument for saying exactly the same thing?? Cagwinn (talk)
Not to my knowledge, Cagwinn. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:17, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
OK, I am beginning to think you are a troll. See above: "That's what you call a circular argument.Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:08, 13 December 2015 (UTC)"
Enough with the personal attacks, Cagwinn. You misunderstanding someone else's statements / getting confused in a discussion with someone does not that other person a 'troll'; on the other hand, calling fellow collaborators bad names could open oneself up to uncharitable allegations. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:23, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
Oh, brother! I am not misunderstanding anything - reread your own posts in this thread! Cagwinn (talk) 21:57, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
As far as I can see, you have gotten confused about either the concept of a circular argument or else the particular circular argument being referred to--it's not clear which. Maybe calm yourself first and re-read my posts, then if it's still unclear and still really important to you, post either here or on my talk page for clarification. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 22:07, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

Common words and phrases[edit]

Better to take it to talk. I have long disliked that section to be honest, few other places on Wikipedia or similar pedias use entire phrases to exemplify the proximity or distance between languages of a family. Most commonly, they're words from a Swadesh list. After all, this is not a pan-celtic phrasebook. I would personally prefer to change this table accordingly and pick pairs like màthair/máthair/mayr (given the idiosyncrasies of Manx spelling, I think we should add IPA too to each) and do away with the phrases altogether. Akerbeltz (talk) 22:13, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

I agree, the current section is very bad as it's filled with errors (from an Irish Gaelic perspective). Lá maith is never used for "good day" in normal Irish, as the table claims. Go raibh maith agaibh is only plural, never singular formal, as the table claims. Same thing with Conas atá sibh, it can only be used to more than one person, never as a formal singular as the table claims. Needless to say, the same goes for slán libh as well. Trathnóna maith for "good evening" is also very awkward and English-sounding. That makes for a quite a number of weird/faulty phrases in a very short table, and I agree that getting rid of the phrases to just use words is probably the best solution. Jeppiz (talk) 22:49, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
I strongly concur. I'm not even a fluent speaker, and I had a "WTF?" reaction.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:33, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
I've started something in my sandbox, feel free to chip in, especially on the Irish IPA which I'm shaky on. Using Broddick for Manx so that's kosher and I'm certain of the ScG. Akerbeltz (talk) 16:57, 24 October 2015 (UTC)


Per WP:COMMONNAME / WP:PRIMARY and WP:SMALLDETAILS, Gaelic language goes to Scottish Gaelic (mostly only linguists call it it the latter; it's referred to by the Scottish as simply Gaelic), while Gaelic languages and Gaelic language family naturally redirect to Goidelic languages. Disambiguation is carried out at both articles with the {{Redirect}} hatnote.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:31, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Missing key information[edit]

There's virtually nothing in here about preservation and revitalization efforts (and their sometime relationship to Scottish nationalism and to Pan-Celticism, though that's of secondary concern). Some extant material from the "Modern era" and "Current distribution in Scotland" sections can be combined with additional material to create a "Preservation and revitalization" section; I've created a "Status" heading under which to house "Number of speakers", "Distribution in Scotland" and eventually "Preservation and revitalization" (and because I needed a heading of this sort to which to link from various other places in the short term). PS: The distribution info also needs to include sourced stats on Canadian Gaelic use.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:42, 24 October 2015 (UTC)


What book makes up the references 14 and 18? All it says is Clarkson and the page numbers, but nothing else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Machoooo (talkcontribs) 23:52, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Could be this: Catfish Jim and the soapdish 08:45, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Spelling of "Catrìona" / "Caitrìona"[edit]

Under "Personal Names," one listed is "Catrìona (Catherine)"

Under the next heading, "Surnames," the same name is spelled Caitrìona: "... Catherine MacPhee is properly called in Gaelic, Caitrìona Nic a' Phì"

I know that the Irish version of the name is "Caitríona", but it's unclear to me what spelling is correct in Scottish Gaelic. I would like to clarify whether both forms are correct, and if so add a note to remove confusion.

Could someone who knows the answer help me out, so I can make the necessary changes?


Alázhlis (talk) 02:44, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

There is no consensus. It's not a native name (stress not in the first syllable is usually a clue and long vowels attract stress i.e. it's catRÌONa no CATrìona) and as often with borrowed words, the spellings are not uniform. Both spellings are used, even though Catrìona is a lot more common. Akerbeltz (talk) 10:08, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

Gaelic literacy[edit]

I've just added a controversial piece of information, so I am going to clarify my sourcing:

"2.1 -- Gaelic language skills in 2011 - Scotland In 2011, 87,100 people aged 3 and over in Scotland (1.7 per cent of the population) had some Gaelic language skills. Of these 87,100 people:

  •  32,400 (37.2 per cent) had full skills in Gaelic, that is could understand, speak, read and write Gaelic;
  •  57,600 (66.2 per cent) could speak Gaelic;
  •  6,100 (7.0 per cent) were able to read and/or write but not speak Gaelic; and
  •  23,400 (26.8 per cent) were able to understand Gaelic but could not speak, read or write it."

accessible at this link. Thanks! Alázhlis (talk) 03:38, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Split off History of Scottish Gaelic[edit]

The history section of this article is over 1,500 words and contains esoteric details not necessarily relevant to those reading this article (such as "An Irish translation of the Bible dating from the Elizabethan era was in use until the Bible was translated into Scottish Gaelic"). Especially considering that it comes first in this article and there is much more to be written on this topic, I think it might be a good time to split off a History of Scottish Gaelic article (compare History of the Irish language) and reduce somewhat the coverage here. Catrìona (talk) 22:24, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Sounds good to me Akerbeltz (talk) 11:30, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

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Atlantic Gaelic Academy[edit]

Right so I've heard of the Atlantic Gaelic Academy but as far as I know, while they call themselves an Academy, they aren't an official accredited tertiary educational institution but simply offer Gaelic classes. I cannot even locate a website that doesn't flash "this site may be hacked" at me so I'm having doubts as to the inclusion alongside bona fide institutions such as St Francis Xavier. It doesn't even seem to have its own Wiki page, which again makes me wonder about notability? I mean, I could set up a string of classes and call myself the Gaelic College of Kelvinside but that wouldn't make me a college. Akerbeltz (talk) 19:56, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

As for the hacking, when one searches for the Atlantic Gaelic Academy, Google flashes this warning. Akerbeltz (talk) 10:37, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
It's definitely a genuine institution (so not clear why Google thinks it's a phishing website) but doesn't appear to be notable enough for its own page and certainly not an accredited academic institution. Catrìona (talk) 17:43, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

We contacted Google and they corrected the “hacking” reference a few days ago. Thanks for advising us as we didn’t know it was there. However it did take a few days to propagate through the internet system, but as of today we see that it no longer shows on Google search. So everything should be okay.

In regard to the AGA information that was on Wikipedia-Canadian Gaelic, we do think the information was appropriate, and it had been there for many years. In the past the requirement to be listed was broad and included universities and “other” organizations that taught Gaelic, and we certainly fit in the “other” category. However, we now see that this “other” wording has been removed and it seems to be much more restrictive as to who should be shown there. I do see as well though that, if the AGA information shouldn’t be there, there are also others that should be removed, and basically the Universities should be the only ones left. We had put the AGA information on Wikipedia to provide information to others and not for advertising purposes or self-serving purposes, and we get no advertising benefit from it. In addition, even though we are not classed as a University, our students have received credit from universities and high schools for the courses taken from the AGA. We still think it would be appropriate for AGA information to be show on Wikipedia, and so we would request that you review our website information and check with others in the Gaelic community to get a proper understanding of the school. Gaelic27 (talk) 18:59, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for responding! Yeah shifting goalposts can be a pain on Wikipedia. Thing is, and that has been true for a very long time, an organisation's own site and "people" have never been criteria for inclusion. Ideally we need "someone else" to state something about the ACA which indicates its notability. Have there been any articles or interviews in the papers for example or maybe some academic papers on Gaelic in Canada which refer to it? Not suggesting you are in the same category but if you look at some language courses own PR stuff, like those Total Immersion Plus courses, you'd think they had a magic bullet and could get you fluent in days AND cure scrofula at the same time ;) Akerbeltz (talk) 08:10, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

There have been many articles and interviews with the AGA in newspapers, magazines, and radio over the years particularly in the early years, which was over 10 years ago. One radio interview was with the BBC. The most recent we recall was an interview/article regarding the Gaelic language with Celtic Life Magazine (Oct 2016 issue, page 53). This page included similar interviews with the University of Aberdeen, and University College Cork. There was also a feature article with the same magazine (Oct 2014 issue, pages 62 to 65). This article/interview was with the AGA and Cape Breton University regarding the state of Gaelic studies. We are not fans either with some of those courses that offer “magic bullets”. We believe that adults must learn to read, write, and speak the language simultaneously, and not just try to speak it. And, that only hard work over time will bring an adult to fluency.Gaelic27 (talk) 19:19, 6 July 2017 (UTC)