Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Gaelic

Recently we featured a quote from the Nairnshire Telegraph concerning the origin of the Nairn name 'Maggot':
''A similar location in Inverness is also called The Maggot. Roddy MacLean in the Gaelic Place Names of Inverness says the name is a mystery but, alluding also to the Nairn Maggot, he suggests that both names may be derived from Gaelic magh, a plain, flat area. '
Dwelly's Illustrated Gaelic -English dictionary gives some more interesting words that might also have a connection with the origins of Nairn's maggot.
'Magar -air, -airean, sm Bait to fish with, artificial fly, fly for saith. [also ite-mhaghar]. 2 Spawn, young fishes. 3 Moving about when fishing, in contradistinction to “air chruaidh” (at anchor) — Uist. 4 Act of fishing for young saith, &c with a fly — iasgach a' mhaghair — (AH).'
Interesting isn't it Gurnites? The Dwelly dictionary is a remarkable document and came to the world in 1911 like a bolt out of the blue or 'a stone out of the air' as is said in Gaelic (mar chlach as an adhair). The compiler of the dictionary Edward Dwelly was a remarkable man and his story is told on this wikipedia page.
More recently his dictionary was made available on-line after ten years of hard work by a learner of Scottish Gaelic Micheal Bauer - Dwelly-d (short for Dwelly-digiteach "Digital Dwelly"). The digital version allows you to search from English to Gaelic an option that was never available in the original. This remarkable internet resource received no funding from the Gaelic authorities which irritated some Gaelic language activists considerably considering the project received over £200,000 in all. There are those that consider that the Gaelic quango Bòrd na Gàidhlig has lost its way over this and other issues but that is perhaps a Gurn for another day. In the meantime if you wish to read more about the controversy then this page on might interest you: ' Why did they spend a quarter of a million?'

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