A hill of angels and fairies: Sìthean Mòr, Iona and the dynamics of Scottish onomastics

Evemalm Graham, S. (2023) A hill of angels and fairies: Sìthean Mòr, Iona and the dynamics of Scottish onomastics. Namn og Nemne, 39, pp. 51-67.

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Publisher's URL: http://ojs.novus.no/index.php/NON/issue/view/264/78


This article investigates the place-names of the island of Iona in Scotland, using it as a case-study to consider broader issues relating to theoretical and practical approaches to Scottish onomastics and name-studies more generally. The multilingual environment of Scotland creates unique challenges when working towards a process of standardisation and comprehensive name-analysis. When researching the place-names of Iona, which was historically Gaelic-speaking, it is necessary to carefully balance the interface between Gaelic and English and to examine potential tensions between the two languages in a toponymic context. Many of the island’s place-names are not recorded on published maps, creating a need to carefully analyse how they have been used and preserved in different contexts. Furthermore, this requires a consideration of authority in naming processes by asking who has the right to create and preserve place-names. The discussion will address contested namescapes in a multilingual environment by examining two place-names on Iona (Sìthean Mòr and Angel Hill which both refer to the same feature). In doing so we can elucidate the role of place-names as ideologically charged markers of cultural heritage.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This is a three-year project based in Celtic & Gaelic at the University of Glasgow titled ‘Iona’s Namescape: Place-Names and their dynamics in Iona and its environs’. Our work is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. For more information about the project and its aims see https://iona-placenames.glasgow.ac.uk/
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Evemalm Graham, Dr Sofia
Authors: Evemalm Graham, S.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Journal Name:Namn og Nemne
Publisher:Norsk Namnelag
ISSN (Online):2703-737
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Author
First Published:First published in Namn og Nemne 39:51-67
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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