Scots Place Names

www.scotsplacenames.com









History of Scots

Home Page

Languages

Place Names

About

Problem Words


Incl. ASH (Anglo Saxon Heresy) Chronicle

What’s in a name?

Languages of the peoples of Scotland

Brythonic is the oldest recorded language of Scotland and is the base, Eidyn of Edinburgh, which had Gaelic, Dunedin, and Norse, Edinaborg, versions later. It was the language of the Brythons/Britons and the Picts and related to its fellow Celtic tongue, Gaelic. It eventually became what we know as Welsh today, as spoken by the people of Wales. In Scotland its death knell was sounded after the siege of Dunbarton, the ‘fortress of the Britons’ in 870 by mainly the Norsemen, but almost certainly with the help or collusion of the Scots.
Thousands of Britons were taken to Dublin as prisoners after this three month siege. The Britons that remained after submitting to their Norse and Scots masters, left in a mass migration some years later. It was possibly at this time also that the Britons of the East in the present day Lothians also left. Now not all of them left as we know by personal names of some years later and some possibly returned. It is claimed that the family of William Wallace returned to Scotland in later years. Brythonic families like the Cospatricks of Dunbar (Gaelic name with a Brythonic origin) may have never left.

Gaelic, the language of the Scots who came from Ireland, gradually spread throughout Scotland, so that by the end of the 9th. century, it would be heard in every part of Scotland-but with perhaps an Old Norse accent. Gaelic names like MacLeod, MacAulay, MacDonald, MacQueen, have a Norse background. Many of these Gaels were known as GallGaels, ‘Foreigner Gaels’, that is, Gaels from the West who had intermarried with the Norse and allowed their sons to be fostered by the Vikings. Their activities are well recorded in Ireland and Scotland. In East Lothian there are a couple of references to Achingall, or some variant, which means the ‘field of the foreigner’. It is also recorded that before 870, Kenneth MacAlpin, who’s daughter married the Viking king of Dublin, Olaf the White, had burnt Dunbar to the ground five times. Whether the Gaels were established in the Lothians at this time is debateable, but after 870 there was nothing to stop Gael or Norsemen from taking over the whole country, and the place name evidence points to this outcome.

Old Norse. The language of the Vikings, who in the case of Scotland, came from Norway, via the Orkneys, the Western Isles and Ireland. How do we know what their language was at this time? Because they settled Iceland about this time and Iceland was not exposed to the changes of contact with the continent of Europe or anyone else for that matter. Their tongue remained in a time warp for many centuries. The Icelandic language of the last few centuries is pretty close to that spoken at the time of the Vikings. This tongue was spoken in every part of Scotland and is the base of the old Scots tongue and gives the lie to the Anglo-Saxon heresy. How do we know? Because all the main towns and cities can be shown to be of Gaelic, Brythonic or Norse provenance and our ‘Scots’ speech is full of Old Norse (Norwegian variety) words, which are very different to Old English and Danish. You want more proof? Read my books.

French, Norman French. Because of Scotland’s ancient alliance with France, the ‘Auld Alliance’, it is hardly surprising that there are many French words in the Scots language. Words like ‘stank’ from le stang, ‘a pool’; an ‘ashette’, une assiette; to ‘footer’ aboot, from foutre ‘to f...’. (My granny used to say this all the time). There was also the famous Garde Écossais, formed as the French royal guard after thousands of Scots fought with Joan of Arc against the English in the Hundred Years War. Scots had also been made automatic citizens of France, which unfortunately only lasted to the beginning of the 20th. Century, when a ‘British’ government only signed the ‘Entente Cordiale’ after the citizenship privilege given to Scots was removed.
Norman French words are many: Brother, sister, father, mother, cousin, nephew, duke, marquis, viscount, baron, parliament, veal, venison, pork, mutton, fraud, jury, verdict, plaintiff, poverty etc., etc.



These are the main languages which went into the formation of the non-Celtic Scots, but of course other nations have contributed since then.

Concise of Scots Dictionary, (COSD) and (DOSL), Dictionay 0f Scots Language, is
www.scotsdictionaries.org.uk/

They claim that many Anglo/Saxon old words come from the old Scots word. They claim for example, the Law, has come from the Saxons because their old hills in Scotland after they died. This is nonsense, mainly because NO SAXONS HAVE EVER BEEN DISCOVERED IN SCOTLAND. The word LAW are named after many Laws, all over Scotland. It comes from the Old Vikings, the Norseman from Norway, settled in Scotland and used the hills to use as the LAWS to find evey week so that people would send the Laws that were made. Here is one in Edinburgh. In 1996, Stuart Harris books claimed that in 17th c Lowsie or Lusilaw, that Anglian or Norse found that Lús means a ‘louse’ which meant it was a little Law. Imagine, a ‘louse’ is rather a ‘little’ louse! This is NONSENSE! The word from the Normans means the word, Cleasby and Vigfusson’s Icelandic Dictionary states ‘Norse Lýsa, means ‘to proclaim, publish, give notice of, as a law term...’ It is a well explained all over Scotland from the meanings of this Laws words.

There are many words from DOSL which are now shown the nonsese that many of them Saxon/Anglian mistaken that have. The Scots will be soon in the new book, ‘Place Names of Scotland’.

Next

Norse

TOP

Brythonic

Gaelic

Three East Lothian Villages

Copyright © 2005 by Iain M.M. Johnstone. All rights reserved