Gàidhlig / English
The Fieldwork Archive consists of collections of vernacular Gaelic made as part of the Historical Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic (HDSG) project. It consists of five types of paper and orally recorded materials dating from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s:
  • thematic questionnaires
  • wordlists
  • cassette and reel-to-reel tapes of recorded speech
  • transcriptions of excerpts of tape-recorded interviews
  • paper slips, based on the recordings and transcriptions

The surviving paper materials consist of almost 700 documents representing c. 50,000 headwords that were collected from Gaelic speakers from the mainland and islands of Scotland as well as Nova Scotia. This includes 24 thematic questionnaire types and a broad range of wordlists describing other lexical domains relating to traditional Gaelic society. Some of these contain spectacular hand-drawn illustrations; see, for instance, Murdo MacLeod’s ‘Drawing Book’. These materials can be viewed using the browse function on the Fieldwork page. The thematic questionnaires represented are:

Gaelic English
Àiteach Agriculture
Togail Bhàtaichean Boat-Building
Eathraichean Boats
Crodh Cattle
Bàs is Adhlacadh Death and Burial
An Eaglais Ecclesiastical Terms
Acfhuinn Iasgaich Fishing Tackle
Biadh is Deoch Food and Drink
Iasgach an Sgadain Herring fishing
Taigh Gàidhealach House and Furnishings
Saoirsinneachd Joinery
Cruth na Tìre Landscape Features
Iasgach a’ Ghiomaich Lobster fishing
Blàthan-Leighis Names and uses of medicinal plants
Mòine Peat Working
Coltas an Duine Personal Appearance
Nàdur an Duine Personality
Pìobaireachd Piping
Cur-seachadan: Dèideagan, Geamaichean is Farpaisean Recreation: Toys, Games, Contests
Faireachdain Senses
Caoraich Sheep
Maorach Shellfish
Sìde Weather
Obair na Clòimhe Wool Working

The semantic domains covered in separate wordlists include:

beasties, birds, boats, carts, clothing, creatures, cures, deer, domestic articles, drawings and explanation, earmarks (on sheep), farm or croftwork, female personal names, fishing, nets, fishing-tackle, flowers, forestry work, grammar, literature, human body, disease, human nature, knitting, land usage and apportionment, landscape, line fishing, thatching, Norse mill, place names, plants, plough, proverbs & expressions, riddles, sea, seashore, seaweed, sheepdogs, shellfish, survivals in Scots, wild flowers.

The words recorded are often placed in context by the provision of phrases, sentences, idioms and proverbs.

It should be noted that there is variation in the spelling of words in the Fieldwork Archive. We hope to offer a means of searching for all of the variant spellings automatically in the future and to provide standardised forms for headwords.