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  1. #11
    The Q's Avatar
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    Thinking about it further, I wonder whether "speaking their language", was more of speaking as a working man, rather than as speaking like a very educated outsider..
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    Thinking about it further, I wonder whether "speaking their language", was more of speaking as a working man, rather than as speaking like a very educated outsider..
    As far as his Welsh goes I doubt we will ever know how good he really was. I only have my old aunts story that he could speak to the people in his congregation. As far as his Scots Gaelic I know he was quite fluent. He even used it professionally after coming to Canada. He had never driven a car until he came to Canada and was never confident driving. My father use to tell stories from his teens and 20's (late 1930's early 40's) of driving him all over central and SW Ontario to small rural Churches to conduct a Gaelic service for the older people. He must have attented a lot of these because though my Dad spoke no Gaelic he could sing a couple of hymns in the language which he liked to do at family gatherings.

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  5. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdinSteve View Post
    Your story reflects many experiences I have with people from the highlands and islands moving south for work. Economic forces made many to head towards the central belt of Scotland where jobs and money were to be found. Similar social movements can be found across Britain such as people moving to Wales for work in coal mining. It has always been thus and there are no doubt similar examples everywhere.
    As for a Gaelic speaker becoming fluent in Welsh, I have some doubts. Welsh, in common with Latin, pronounces every letter in a word whereas Gaelic is quite different with so many letters silent. There is certainly connections such as “aber” where Abertawe in Wales corresonds to Aberdeen in Scotland. Other coincidences are words such as “gareg” meaning rock in Welsh and “ Carrick” in Scotland but these are probably more related to the Brythonic peoples inhabiting these areas.
    The Aber prefix is definitrly Brythonnic, and the Gaelic Inver is thecequivalent. I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that there was actually a place with an Aber prefix that changed to the Inver prefix within dovumentable history, but I can't remember where I read it or the specifics.

  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allan Thomson View Post
    The Aber prefix is definitrly Brythonnic, and the Gaelic Inver is thecequivalent. I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that there was actually a place with an Aber prefix that changed to the Inver prefix within dovumentable history, but I can't remember where I read it or the specifics.
    You may be thinking of "Abernethy" and "Invernethy". However, it has been argued that these do not refer to quite the same place, Abernethy being about a mile up river from Invernethy. It is suggested that "aber-" actually refers to the lowest point on a river that is fordable. To further confuse the issue, some place names seem to be a mixture of p- and q-Celtic e.g. Abergeldie.
    Alan

  7. #15
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    SingleMalt's story reminds of what my Grandmother told me about her Grandparents.

    She said that they would switch to another language when they didn't want the Grand-kids to understand what they were talking about.

    My Grandmother's Grandparents were Cornish miners, from Tywardreath. If you've seen Doc Martin you've seen a village not unlike it.

    In the 1860s due to the failure of the local mines they moved to Ardrishaig (near Lochgilphead) then later in the 1860s to Ballygrant (Islay) then to Dalton-in-Furness in Northwest England. Finally around 1880, still following mining jobs, they moved to West Virginia, where my Grandmother was born, in 1896.

    The question is, what language were they speaking? Was it

    1) Cornish? They were born and raised in a fishing village in Cornwall in the 1830s when Cornish was still being spoken especially by fisher folk.

    2) Welsh? It's possible that they worked for years beside Welsh miners in Cornwall and/or Scotland and/or England and picked up a smattering of Welsh.

    3) Gaelic? I don't know if Lochgilphead was still Gaelic-speaking in the 1860s but Islay surely was. My G-G-Grandparents might have picked up a smattering during their years there. One of their kids was born in Ardrishaig, one in Ballygrant.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 27th August 19 at 07:12 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  9. #16
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    My Great-great grandfather was born around Aberfeldy in the 1850s. The descendant of generations of crofters, he was the first in the family to get a higher education. This landed him a job as a surveyor in Edinburgh, where he was recruited to manage a number of slate mines in Wales. He picked up Welsh very quickly, could relate well to the miners as a result of his own humble background and was a very popular man, as a result. The common roots of many of the words in Scots Gaelic and Welsh (someone further up mentioned Ty/Tigh for house) certainly gave him a head start.

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  11. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    SingleMalt's story reminds of what my Grandmother told me about her Grandparents.

    She said that they would switch to another language when they didn't want the Grand-kids to understand what they were talking about.

    My Grandmother's Grandparents were Cornish miners, from Tywardreath. ...
    In the 1860s due to the failure of the local mines they moved to Ardrishaig (near Lochgilphead) then later in the 1860s to Ballygrant (Islay) then to Dalton-in-Furness in Northwest England. Finally around 1880, still following mining jobs, they moved to West Virginia, where my Grandmother was born, in 1896.

    The question is, what language were they speaking? Was it

    1) Cornish? They were born and raised in a fishing village in Cornwall in the 1830s when Cornish was still being spoken especially by fisher folk.

    2) Welsh? It's possible that they worked for years beside Welsh miners in Cornwall and/or Scotland and/or England and picked up a smattering of Welsh.

    3) Gaelic? I don't know if Lochgilphead was still Gaelic-speaking in the 1860s but Islay surely was. My G-G-Grandparents might have picked up a smattering during their years there. One of their kids was born in Ardrishaig, one in Ballygrant.
    It's highly unlikely Cornish was being spoken in the 1830s. The language is considered to have died out in the second half of the 18th century. Would Welsh miners have spoken Welsh while working? Probably not as English would be the language of work for safety reasons alone. Perhaps they picked up Welsh while socialising with the other miners outside work but that would suggest most of the miners they associated with were Welsh rather than Scots or English.
    I think it more likely that they picked up Gaelic being that as miners they would have associated with the common people more who kept the Gaelic longer than the English educated classes. Then again the language they spoke could have been French or Latin.

    Were the names of the children born in Scotland Scottish names or generic British ones of the time?

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  13. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damion View Post

    Were the names of the children born in Scotland Scottish names or generic British ones of the time?
    Scottish or Gaidhlig names? there certainly is a difference, in the hebridies I went to School with a girl called Kennethina (English spelling), not a name I've heard of anywhere else.

    Scottish names certainly, even from my Glaswegian Grandfather, my uncles and Dad, Had Duncan Cameron, Malcolm, Ian, and I have MacAllister
    Last edited by The Q; 13th September 19 at 12:47 AM.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

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  15. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    in the hebridies I went to School with a girl called Kennethina (English spelling), not a name I've heard of anywhere else.
    That just sounds to me like another of those cases where a male name is feminized, usually because the father wants a child named after him even if it's a girl. Hence on occasion you get women named Johnette/Johna, Joshlyn, Ryanne, Jamesina, Ronette, Scottlyn, and the like (on top of your usuals like Roberta, Antoinette, Paula, Thomasina, etc.). I don't see it as exclusively a Scottish phenomenon.
    Last edited by Katia; 16th September 19 at 07:48 PM.
    Here's tae us - / Wha's like us - / Damn few - / And they're a' deid - /
    Mair's the pity!

  16. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katia View Post
    That just sounds to me like another of those cases where a male name is feminized, usually because the father wants a child named after him even if it's a girl. Hence on occasion you get women named Johnette/Johna, Joshlyn, Ryanne, Jamesina, Ronette, Scottlyn, and the like (on top of your usuals like Roberta, Antoinette, Paula, Thomasina, etc.). I don't see it as exclusively a Scottish phenomenon.
    That may be common over there but the only ones on your list I've ever seen over here are Roberta, Antoinette, Paula, and only one of those have I ever actually met.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

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