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Metadata for text 22
No. words in text3218
Title Eoin an Aite
Author Breeze Jones, E. V.
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1986
Date Of Language 1950-1999
Publisher Acair
Place Published Stornoway
Volume N/A
Location NLS
Geographical Origins Unknown
Register Education, Prose
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 21.6cm x 15.7cm
Short Title Eoin an Aite
Reference Details NLS: S3.86.150
Number Of Pages 43
Gaelic Text By Rennie, Frang U.
Illustrator Williams, Islwyn
Social Context This volume contains information in Gaelic about 20 different birds. Each bird is presented on two facing pages. On one page is a colour picture of the bird, stationary; the Gaelic text is on the opposite page. Underneath or beside the text, is a small black and white drawing of the bird in flight.

This book has the appearance of a child’s reader. It is hardback, slightly bigger than A5, and has a glossy cover with a picture of a bird on the front. The title of the book and the names of the ‘authors’ are underneath the picture. It is clear that the volume was intended for educational purposes, whether in school or family context.
Contents This volume begins with a Clàr-Innse (p.3) listing the names of each of the birds and the page numbers on which they appear. The page numbers refer to the pages on which the text is printed.

The twenty birds included in the text are as follows: Traon (p. 4), Naosg (p. 6), Feannag (p. 8), Deoch bhuidhe (p. 10), Clamhan (p. 13), Cearc Uisge (p. 15), Cuthag (p. 17), Liath thruisg agus Sgiath dhearg (p. 19), Gealag bhuachair (p. 20), Iolaire (p. 22), Gòbhlachan (p. 24), Muir-bhuachaill no Bun-bhuachaill (p. 26), Gealan an t-sneachda (p. 28), Amadan mòintich (p. 30), Gealan beinne (p. 32), Iolaire iasgaich (p. 35), Pàraig (p. 37), Gearra-breac (p. 39), Calman creige (p. 41), Geadh bhlàr (p. 43).

Sample Entry
Each entry is divided into a number of sections, as illustrated below. The entry on page 30 is as follows:

Amadan mòintich

Fad 21.0cm

As t-samhradh tha mullach a chinn agus a dhruim donn-glas, tha a sgiathan dorch-dhonn is glas agus tha a bhroilleach soilleir-dhonn is bàn le strìoch gheal. Tha a bhrù dubh, fo-itean earbaill geal agus a chasan buidhe.

Anns a’ gheamhradh tha a dhruim soilleir-dhonn is bàn, tha a bhroilleach ruadh le strìoch gheal agus tha a bhrù buidhe-bàn.

An Cèitean – An Dàmhair

Beanntan agus uaireannan air a’ mhòintich agus air an oirthir.

Cuileagan, daolagan, damhain, dearcan, uaireannan seilicheagan is boiteagan.

An Cèitean – An t-Og-mhìos; 3; Soilleir-bhuidhe no ruadh is breac-donn.

The first section (Dreach) provides a description of the bird. The second section details the times of the year when the bird can be seen (e.g. An Cèitean – an Dàmhair, eun tadhail a’ gheamhraidh, eun imrich). The third section (Tadhal) details the types of places where the bird can be found. The fourth section (Biadh) gives details of the types of food the bird eats. The last section (Uighean) provides information about the bird’s eggs, including breeding times, the average number of eggs, and the colour of the eggs.
Language This volume lists the names of twenty birds. Only one Gaelic name is given for nineteen of the birds in this volume. Two Gaelic names are given for the Great northern diver. There is no indication as to whether the names represent any particular dialect.

On comparing the terminology in this volume with that in Dwelly (1977), An Stòr-dàta (1993), and Mark (2004), it becomes apparent that none of the terms in this volume can be found in all three dictionaries.

An Stòr-dàta provides a wide selection of names for many of these birds. For example it includes eight additional terms for ‘corncrake’, including bramach-roid and corra-ghoirtean, and thirteen additional terms for ‘snipe’, including croman-loin, eunarag, and gobhar-oidhche. In some cases, however, as in ‘white fronted goose’, it gives only one term, which corresponds to the terminology used in this volume. Many of the names in this volume can be found in Dwelly, but a number of terms, such as gealan an t-sneachda and sgiath dhearg cannot be found. In some cases Dwelly has alternative translations for these terms, and in others, he gives a slightly different Gaelic word. For example, Dwelly has traghna, treunna and trèan rather than traon, iolair rather than iolaire, and paraidh rather than pàraig. He also translates gòbhlachan as ‘turnstone’, ‘sandpiper’, or ‘dipper’, rather than ‘great crested grebe’. Again, gealan beinne does not appear in Dwelly, but gealan is given as meaning ‘sparrow’ or ‘mountain linnet’. While Mark includes the terms traon, pàraig and sgiath dhearg which cannot be found in Dwelly, he agrees with Dwelly’s translations of gòbhlachan and gealan, and does not include ‘great crested grebe’ or ‘snow bunting’. Both Dwelly and Mark contain the term gobhachan, meaning ‘little grebe’. Given that it appears to contain forms that are idependent of other printed sources, this volume should be considered a potentially useful source of modern ornithological terminology.

This volume is also a wonderful source of terminology relating to bird-parts (and parts of the body in general) and colours, and it is also a useful source of vocabulary for places, insects and small animals, and for months of the year.

The sections describing the birds’ appearance include a number of terms for bird parts, some of which are also applicable to humans, e.g. druim, sgiathan, broilleach, brù, mullach a chinn, casan, earball, fo-itean, sgòrnan, maol, gob, amhach, and cùl na h-amhach. This section also includes a wonderful array of colours to describe the different parts of the birds, including bàn, donn, dubh, geal, liath, orains, pinc, ruadh, dubh-dhonn, ruadh-dhearg, liath-ghlas, liath-bhuidhe, buidhe-bàn, buidhe-dhonn, buidhe-liath, buidhe-uaine, donn-ruadh, dorch-dhonn, dorch-ghlas, dorch-uaine, soilleir-bhuidhe, soilleir-dhonn, soilleir-dhonn-bàn, soilleir-gorm, soilleir-liath, soilleir ruadh, soilleir-uaine, and also the terms breac and breacadh followed by a colour, e.g. breac-ruadh and breacadh dorch-dhonn. In most instances, when two terms or colours are placed together they have been hyphenated. It is possible that the instances where there is no hyphen are the result of typing errors. This section also contains a number of other terms to describe the exact placement of colour on the bird, such as srian, strìocadh, bàrr, bun, creabailtean, strianagan, strioch, troighean, and blàr.

The section on Tadhal, which details the places where each bird can be found, contains terminology relating to habitat, such as fèithichean (monaidh), inbhirean, achaidhean, pàircean feòir, creagan àrda, am measg choilltean, linneachan, lochan uisge, an cois aibhnichean, air cnuic, an oirthir, faisg air uisge, air a’ mhuir, anns na h-eileanan mu thuath, and am measg nan creag.

The section on Biadh contains a number of words for types of food, including small animals, insects, and vegetation, e.g. feur, seamrag, duileagan [sic], gràinne, buntata [sic], fiolain, sìol, iseanan, iasg, measan, losgannan, rabaidean, bratagan, dearcan luchrach, fliodh, cuileagan, maorach, feamainn.

The following months of the year are also mentioned in the text: Am Màrt, An Giblean, An Cèitean, An t-Og-mhìos, An t-Iuchair, An Lùnasdal, An Dàmhair, An t-Sultain.

This volume, then, is a good source of terminology relating to birds. In particular it provides a wealth of vocabulary for the parts of the bird, for colours, for bird names, and for geographical locations.
Orthography The orthography appears to be that of the late twentieth century. There are no accents on capital letters.
Edition First edition.
Other Sources A number of other sources contain Gaelic names for birds. These include Alexander Robert Forbes’s Gaelic Names of Beasts (Mammalia), birds, fishes, insects, reptiles, etc. (1905), Collins Scottish Birds (2005 edition), and Skye Birds, written by Bob McMillan (see See also an e-mail from Mike Pennington (an Englishman living in Unst in Shetland), who was involved with a project to write a third Birds of Scotland (BS3, see which was organised by the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (see One small part of the project was to establish standard Gaelic names for birds regularly occurring in Scotland. It was hoped that they might be adopted as the ‘official’ names in Gaelic. See further Tristan ap Rheinallt, Obair gun duais: Alasdair MacGilleMhìcheil a’ tional ainmean Gàidhlig eun (Kershader, 2010).
Further Reading An Stòr-dàta Briathrachais Gàidhlig, 1993.
Dwelly, Edward, The Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary, 1977.
Mark, Colin, The Gaelic-English Dictionary, 2004.
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