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  1. #1
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    Street signs in the Highlands / Middle Scotland

    Hi--I recently returned from a ten day trip to Scotland. One of the things my wife and I noticed, to our surprise, was a great number of signs in what *appeared* to be Gaelic (based on our tiny handful of words from Outlander) on street, town, and advert signs throughout the middle and Highland areas of Scotland. The further north we went, the more we noticed it being used in print, though I don't recall anyone speaking it (I have a good ear for languages, being able to speak, read and write fluently in three, and read, write, and stutter in two more, and sign in a fifth, but admittedly I don't have more than a handful of words in Gaelic, so I may have overhead it and not realized it).

    My question, for native Scots who might know or have some familiarity with the language, or with the initiative or program that led to the signs being "gael-ified" (gael-vanized? sorry...), is what form of Gaelic these signs are in. Is this the same as the Irish Gaelic being used in Ireland? Is it a variant of it? Is it interchangeable? My wife had decided she wanted to learn Irish Gaelic in advance of the trip, in preparation for a trip to Ireland. She's heavily Irish by descent and thought it would be cool. Being an hobbyist linguist, she asked for my help. Seeing Gaelic used on signs redoubled her interest, so I'm in for both the pound AND penny now. I noticed "Failte" written in several shops near Inverness (Inbhir Nis, per the train stop), which is "Welcome" in Irish, as far as I know. That got me wondering about how useful the Irish Gaelic we've been tinkering with would be on a return trip to the Highlands. I definitely want to go back; we had far too little time for such a gorgeous area.

    I guess I'd really appreciate some clarification on what sort of Gaelic those signs were, and the degree of similarity to the modern Irish Gaelic. Any info would be gratefully received!
    Last edited by Knight; 7th July 16 at 08:48 AM. Reason: Edited to clarify that I didn't expect EVERY native Scot to know what's up with those signs. Didn't mean to generalize.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    So, "different, closely related languages," (per the second thread). The degree of interchangeability seems entirely dependent on individual opinion; I see some claim a word or two is comprehensible, whereas others saying there was no issue at all. Interesting. Thank you for the links!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    18th July 07
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post

    I guess I'd really appreciate some clarification on what sort of Gaelic those signs were, and the degree of similarity to the modern Irish Gaelic. Any info would be gratefully received!
    For native speakers, Scots and Irish Gaelic are mutually intelligible and, indeed, Irish speakers appear frequently in (Scots) Gaelic radio/TV programs. The languages do, however, differ quite a lot in their orthography i.e. written forms.
    Whether or not names appear in Gaelic is up to the local authority. The situation can be complicated slightly by the fact that, in the east of Scotland, many placenames are p-celtic (Pictish)- for example, I live near a village called Fintry which derives from "fion- tref" (the fair village) which would be well understood by Welsh speakers. Their are also many "aber" names where the q-Celtic Gaelic would be "inver". Over in the west, on the other hand, many placenames are of Norse origin.
    Alan
    Last edited by neloon; 7th July 16 at 11:21 AM.

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