Gaelic place-name policy consultation – Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba

Issued by Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba

Leugh sa Ghàidhlig

Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA) has put its Gaelic Place-name Policy out for consultation to give the public an opportunity to have a say on how place-names are dealt with throughout Scotland.

As the national advisory partnership for Gaelic place-names in Scotland AÀA follow a set of guidelines whilst conducting place-name research. These guidelines are designed to ensure that the Gaelic forms of place-names are determined in a coordinated manner to a national standard, thus strengthening their impact on Gaelic development and usage, and minimising the time and uncertainty for those implementing policies involving Gaelic place-names. 

It is also intended to give the place-name forms credibility with Gaelic users and non-users alike and to facilitate popular use.

The review of AÀA’s Gaelic Place-name Policy is integral to the visibility of the Gaelic language throughout Scotland to ensure that Gaelic place-names are dealt with in a consistent manner.

Particular attention should be made to the following sections when reviewing the document: 

Section 2.1 is the crucial part on which the rest of the policy depends. This explains AÀA justification on how different place-names of various linguistic origins are treated.
Section 3 deals with orthography and how AÀA deal with various issues such as hyphens and capitalisation.

Section 4 explains how AÀA deal with names for which there is no direct evidence for a form in Gaelic.

Roy Pedersen, Chair of Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba, and author of the first Gaelic map of Scotland, said: “Determining the Gaelic form of many Scottish place-names, gives meaning and colour to the origin and history of our communities and geographical features, in ways that are not otherwise obvious. Interpretation can be quite a subtle and complex process however, and sometimes in the past variable and erroneous interpretations and spellings have been adopted. It is important, therefore, that the robust research and procedures are followed to ensure that the spellings formally adopted are correct. That is why we are seeking feedback to ensure that our methods are the best that they can be.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Ceannard (CEO), Shona MacLennan said: "AÀA play an integral role in the standardisation and awareness raising of Gaelic place names across Scotland.  We welcome this consultation to help strengthen the already good practices which currently exist to determine Gaelic place-names."

Responses should be sent to Eilidh Scammell at AÀA, by email ( or post to Eilidh Scammell, Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Sleat, IV44 8RQ no later than Wednesday 15th of February 2017

A PDF copy of the draft Gaelic Place-name Policy is available at:

*Please note that the draft policy is currently in English only. The policy will be translated and available as a bilingual document once the content has been finalised.

13 Dec 2016
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