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List of Scottish Gaelic Names

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Part of the Scotland Project and Scottish Clans Teams

Also see

A Glossary of Clan Terms

History of the Scottish Celtic Language and a list of Scottish Gaelic Names

History of the Scottish Celtic Language

Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig; (kaːlikʲ) is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Old Irish.

The 'traditional' view is that Gaelic language was brought to Scotland, probably in the 4th century, by settlers from Ireland, who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast. This is based mostly on medieval writings from the 9th and 10th centuries. However, recently some archeologists have argued against this view, saying that there is no archeological or placename evidence for a migration or a takeover by a small group of elites. In his academic paper Were the Scots Irish?, archeologist Ewan Campbell suggests that in the "maritime province" of northern Ireland and western Scotland, "sea communications dominated, and allowed a shared archaic language to be maintained, isolated from linguistic developments which were taking place east of the Highland massif"

Scottish Gaelic developed as an independent language after the 12th century. With the growth of Dál Riata and its use by the church, Scottish Gaelic became the language of most of Scotland, replacing Cumbric in the south and Pictish in the east.The language was maintained by the trade empire of the Lordship of the Isles, which continued to control parts of Ulster until the 16th century.

The Gaelic language eventually displaced Pictish north of the River Forth, and until the late 15th century was known in Scots (then known as Inglis) as Scottis, and in England as Scottish.

From around the early 16th century, Scots language speakers gave the Gaelic language the name Erse (meaning Irish in Scots), and thereafter it was invariably the collection of Middle English dialects spoken within the Kingdom of Scotland, that they referred to as Scottis (see Scots language). This in itself was ironic, as it was at this time that Gaelic was developing its distinct and characteristic Scottish forms of the modern period.

Scottish Gaelic was called "Erse" partly because educated Gaelic speakers in Ireland and Scotland all used the literary dialect (sometimes called Classical Gaelic) so that there was little or no difference in usage. When Classical Gaelic stopped being used in schools in both countries, colloquial usage began to predominate, and the divergence of the two languages became more and more apparent in writing.

External Links


A List of Scottish Gaelic Womens Names

English Gaelic English Gaelic English Gaelic English Gaelic
AnnAnnaDorothyDiorbhailJanetSeònaidMary, MollyMàiri
BarbaraBarbaraElginEiliginnJane, Jean, JennySìneMildredMilread

A List of Scottish Gaelic Mens Names

English Gaelic English Gaelic English Gaelic English Gaelic
Adam Adhamh EwanEòbhann LawrenceLàbhruinn PeterPeadar
Albert Ailbeart Farquhar(Fred)Fearchar LewisLuthais PhilipPhilip
Alexander Alasdair FergusFearghus LukeLucais QuintinCaoidhean
Allan Ailean FingalFionn MagnusMànus RichardRuiseart
AlpinAilpein FinlayFionnladh MalcolmCalum Robert Rob
AndrewAindrea Francis (Frank) Frang MartinMàrtainn Roderick (Rory)Ruairidh
AngusAonghas Geoffry Goiridh MatthewMata RonaldRaonull
ArchibaldGilleasbuigGillandersGilleanndrais MaxwellMascual SamuelSamuel
AulayAmhladh GeorgeSeòras MichaelMìcheil SomerledSomhairle
CharlesTearlach GilbertGillebard MungoMungan SimonSìm
ChristopherGillecriosd GilebrideGillebrìde MurdochMurchadh SolomonSolamh
ColinCailean GilliesGilliosa MurphyMuireach StephenSteaphan
CollColla GodfreyGuaidhre NicholasNeacal TaddeusTaogh
ConallConnull GregorGriogair NaughtanNeachdann ThomasTòmas
ConstantineConn Henry (Harry)Eanruig NeilNiall TorquilTorcull
DonaldDòmhnull HectorEachunn NinianRingean WalterBhaltair
DavidDaibhidh HughÙisdean NovenGillenaomh WilliamUilleam
DermudDiarmadJames (Jimmy)Seumas NormanTòrmod ZacharySachairi
DugaldDùghall JohnIain OliverOlaghair
DuncanDónnachadh JosephIoseph OwenAoghann
Edward (Ned)EideardKennethCoinneach PaulPàl, Pòl
EugeneAodh LachlanLachunn PatrickPàdruig

Names taken from: Gaelic-English and English-Gaelic Dictionary; MacAlpine, Neil and MacKenzie, John; Gairm Publications, Waterloo Street, Glasgow, 1971.

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