Ever wondered what the Gaelic name on that bi-lingual road sign means, or what its origin is? If so, the answer is at hand. The new website for Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA), the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place-names in Scotland, was launched today (22 September 2017).
Following support of £7,100 from the Scottish Government, the new website includes AÀA’s renowned database of Gaelic place-names which may be accessed free of charge. The database offers definitive forms which can be used by local authorities, the media, researchers, local communities, walkers and climbers or anyone with an interest in place-names. The database includes historical information, local sources and sound files to help with pronunciation.
Roy Pedersen, Chair of AÀA said: “AÀA’s two members of staff, Eilidh Scammell and Jake King, and Vanessa Lopez and Chris Mitchell from Lumberjack Digital have put in a power of work to create this ingenious on-line lexicon. I praise them for their efforts in pulling the whole thing together in a very cost effective manner. Many thanks are also due to the Scottish Government who provided funding for the project at a time when we were struggling to access the necessary financial resources. There is a growing body of people with an interest in place-names and in Gaelic, not least those worldwide visitors inspired by the “Outlander” series. I am sure that they will find the new website invaluable, but I hope that it may also draw in a wider public to this fascinating aspect of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.”
Welcoming the launch of the new website Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “We are very pleased to be able to support this new website, which will be a valuable resource for many people by providing a central point of reference for Gaelic place-names.
“The Scottish Government recognises that Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland’s heritage, national identity and current cultural life and we welcome initiatives such as this which strengthen the position of Gaelic within everyday life, helping to ensure it has a sustainable future.”
Users also have access to valuable place-name PDF downloads, research resources and an interactive map provided the Ordnance Survey’s open source map.
Gaelic Officer, hill walker and frequent AÀA user, Janni Diez, based at Skye’s Gaelic college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig said: “The new website is a fantastic resource and it is now even easier to find out more about place-names. I love how you can now search the map for place-names and find grid references with one click.”