A Gaelic linguist from South Uist has been appointed as Chair of Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA), the national authority on Gaelic place-names in Scotland.
Lexicographer, translator and Gaelic singer Ruaraidh MacIntyre has taken over the position from Roy Pedersen, author of the first comprehensive Gaelic map of Scotland, who served as Chair for AÀA for eight and a half years.
AÀA provides guidance to a wide variety of organisations for various purposes including bilingual and Gaelic road signs, commercial signs, maps, presentation and research, and receives core funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Ruaraidh has a life-long passion for Gaelic language and culture and studied Gaelic at the University of Glasgow, where he developed his interest in place-names, researching the Gaelic place-names of Benbecula for his dissertation. On graduating in 2014, he took up a post in Gaelic policy at the Scottish Government, through which he represented the Government on AÀA’s committee and provided invaluable support. Ruaraidh left the Scottish Government in 2020 to train as a lexicographer for Faclair na Gàidhlig, and was invited to remain on AÀA’s committee as independent Vice-chair.
Ruaraidh’s experience serving on AÀA’s committee for seven and a half years, and his passion for and knowledge of Gaelic language and linguistics, make him the ideal candidate for Chair.
In accepting the post of Chair of Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba he said, “It is a great honour to be nominated as chair of AÀA. With Gaelic’s increased prominence in Scotland through statutory Gaelic language plans and cultural awareness, it is more important than ever that accurate research and consistency of Gaelic place-names are promoted and made available to organisations and the public. I would like to thank my predecessor Roy Pedersen for his invaluable support and guidance of AÀA these past eight years, and I hope to follow his example in continuing AÀA’s vital role in Gaelic Scotland today.”
Jo MacDonald, of Highland Council, and Vice-chair of AÀA said, “The Highland Council greatly values Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba’s expertise on place-names and the detailed research that it undertakes of historic sources. We are pleased to welcome Ruaraidh MacIntyre to the post of Chair. As a native Gaelic-speaker and scholar of the language, Ruaraidh brings a considerable wealth of experience and will be a great asset to the team. We would also like to thank Roy Pedersen for his extensive contribution and commitment over the years. We look forward to building on our positive and productive working relationship with AÀA and its partner organisations.”
Shona MacLennan, CEO, Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “We welcome the news that Ruaraidh MacIntyre has been named as the new Chair of Ainmean Àite na h-Alba. AÀA undertake important work in developing the use of Gaelic and ensuring quality advice is provided to a wide range of organisations. In addition, they also add to the aims of the National Gaelic Language Plan to normalise Gaelic. We wish Ruaraidh every success in his new role.”