Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Scots Place-Names Map

The Scots Map claims to be the first interactive map with place-name labels in the Scot's language. Scots is one of the three native languages of Scotland and is spoken by around 1.5 million people (according to the 2011 Scottish census).

Many of the Scot's place-names used on the Scots Map have been sourced from a 1994 MMA Maps in Glasgow map called 'The Scots Map and Guide/Cairte in the Scots Leid'. Many English names for Scottish places have been borrowed from the Scots, so English speakers may recognize some of the place-names on the map. Other place-names may be less recognizable to non-Scots speakers. The Scots Language Centre has produced a Guide and Gazetteer to the Scots Map which includes an explanation of some of the common forms found in Scots place-names, such as Auld (old), Brig (bridge) and Burgh (borough).

The Scots Map also includes a couple of fun tools for Scots speakers. A 'My Toun' tool allows you to zoom in on locations on the map and create a static map which can then be shared on social media. The 'Make a Road Sign' tool allows you to enter the name of a town to create your own image of a road sign, which again you are then free to share on social media.

Scots speakers may also be interested in The Scots Syntax Atlas. The Scots Syntax Atlas is an interactive map which records the different ways that Scottish people talk in the different areas of Scotland. The map includes sound recordings of Scottish syntax which were recorded across the country. The map also allows you to explore in which different areas of the country different types of Scottish syntax are spoken.

To create the map the researchers visited 145 communities in Scotland interviewing local people and recording their answers. In these interviews the researchers were particularly interested in the syntax of local dialects and in the ways that sentences are built up in the different areas of Scotland.

If you click on the markers on the map you can listen to interesting examples of Scottish syntax which were recorded in different parts of the country. You can also discover where these different types of Scottish syntax are spoken by selecting the 'who says what where' button. This option shows you where different types of syntax are spoken in Scotland. The 'stories behind the examples' button provides a grammatical explanation of the recorded examples of Scottish syntax and information on how Scottish syntax differs from more 'standard' English.

If you are interested in learning more about the meanings of Scottish place-names then you might also enjoy the Berwickshire Place-Name Resource. The University of Glasgow's Berwickshire Place-Name Resource allows you to explore and learn more about the names of villages, towns and other locations in the Scottish Borders county of Berwickshire.

The Place-Name Resource allows you to search for place-names in the county using a number of different methods. You can search for place-names alphabetically. Alternatively you can search using a string (for example entering '*hall' to find all place-names ending ....hall). You can also search using the element glossary which allows you to search by different common elements found in Berwickshire place-names.

Clicking on an individual marker on this map will open an information window providing details on the selected location. These details include its entry in the OS Name Book. If you are interested in the meaning of a place-name then the 'elements' section allows you to view a definition (where available) of any unfamiliar parts of the place-name. For example both Kimmerghame (cow's bridge) and Birgham (a settlement beside a bridge) contain derivations of 'brycg' - which means bridge.

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