Today is the European Day of Languages ( #edl2017 ), and so I thought it appropriate to write a little about the influence of Lowland Scots on the west of Edinburgh. There are a few folk locally who have used it in writing such as Helen Cruickshank, but the spoken language is fading away a bit. You can hear bits and pieces of it here and there, but it is no way as broad as some places out in the countryside.
I’ve written a bit about Gaelic already, and I include some info on that in the links below.
Areas and (former) physical features
- Broomhall, Broomhouse – “Hall” and “house” are common elements in the Lothians, and would have presumably have been “ha” and “hoose” originally. “Hall” may be a corruption of “haugh” in some cases.
- Carrick Knowe – The first part is a Celtic word for a rock, and the second related to the English word “knoll”. Presumably these were the same feature.
- East Craigs, West Craigs etc – “Craig” is a loan from the Celtic word for rock.
- Gogarloch – “Loch” is a loanword from the Gaelic word for “lake”.
- Gogarmount – Mount has two meanings 1) similar to “muir” below, from the Gaelic “monadh”, and 2) is confused with the English for mountain, leading to names such as “Beechmount”.
- Gylemuir – A muir is a moor, or a grazing area near a place. Barnton used to be known as “Cramond Muir” for similar reasons.
- Roddinglaw – “law” is a type of hill.
- Roseburn – “Burn” meaning a small river, although Gogarburn probably deserved the name better.
- Saughton – “Saugh” means a willow tree.
- Stank – Common word for a drainage ditch (Gaelic: staing)
- Wester Broom – The words “Wester” and “Easter” are more traditional than “Western” and “Eastern”.
- Wester Coates – “Coates” means “cotts”, small houses sometimes used for animals.
- Broomlea Crescent – A lea is a low lying field.
- Burne Cruik – A very recent name (2010s), which means the bend of a stream or river. There hasn’t been anything like this round there for a while.
- Gogarloch Haugh – A modern name. Haugh means a meadow or the land in the bend of a river. The “gh” should be guttural. There are a few other “haughs” around Edinburgh including “Deanhaugh” in Stockbridge.
- Gogarloch Syke – a syke is a type of ditch or spring.
- Hill Park Brae – The “brae” is a bit redundant here because of the first bit, but means a hill or slope. This is a recent name. “Drumbrae” is a Gaelic name.
- Kaimes Road – Kaime(s) means a steep hill. Certainly applies.
- Kirk Loan – Church Lane
- Manse Road – A “manse” is a church minister’s home.
- Paddockholm – Puddock + holm, i.e. a dry piece of land in a marsh, which frogs live on.
- Ravelston Dykes – Dykes means walls.
- Redheughs Avenues
- Roull Road – named for Roull of Corstorphine, a mediaeval poet who wrote in this tongue.
- South Gyle Mains – Mains is the main farm of an estate. Davidsons Mains nearby used to be called “Mutton Hole”.
A few previous articles on Scottish languages
- CYCC – Fire, Freemasonry and the Gaelic novel – Discussing a few local connections to Gaelic literature
- The Heretics – a cultural group which has used both languages
- A Cuddie and an Ass – Discussing Lowland Scots poetry locally
- Dinnieduff: The Promised Land
- Water of Leith, River of Death