Wednesday, December 11, 2019
The skye times mobile

The new website for Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA) – the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place-names in Scotland – has been launched.

Following support of £7,100 from the Scottish Government, the new website includes AÀA’s 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.

“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.”

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 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.”

Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba is the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place-names in Scotland.

The purpose of AÀA is to:

  • Determine authoritative forms of Gaelic place-names across Scotland with reference to both research into historical forms and consolidation on current usage
  • Apply consistent orthography of Gaelic in place-names
  • To encourage the adoption of these forms of Gaelic place-names

AÀA developed from the Gaelic Names Liaison Committee (GNLC) established in 2000 when Ordnance Survey asked a range of organisations for advice on Gaelic place-names.

When the government started a policy of bilingual road signage in the Highlands in 2003, GNLC was asked to research Gaelic names for the signs.

In 2006 the group expanded to form the Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba partnership. Increasingly AÀA is being asked for help with bilingual street, building and path signs as councils bring their Gaelic Language Plans into operation.

The partners in Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA) are drawn from the main authorities on and users of Gaelic place-names: Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, Argyll and Bute Council, The Scottish Parliament, The Scottish Government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Ordnance Survey, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Place-Name Society, University of the Highlands and Islands and Historic Environment Scotland.

Visit for more information or to consult the online database, the National Gazetteer of Gaelic Place-names.


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