CMLR Research Seminar: 'The importance of song in place-name studies, linguistic research and research impact'

This is a past event

The Centre for Modern Languages Research welcomes Dr Alasdair C Whyte to give a talk as part of their Research Seminar Series at the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen.


Gaelic song is a generally underused source in place-name studies and the wider field of linguistics. In this seminar, I will present findings from my main research project, Ainmeannan-Àite Mhuile is Ulbha / The Place-Names of Mull and Ulva, with particular focus on Gaelic song as a key source. I will perform some of the songs, discuss the contexts in which they were composed and where they can be found, and discuss important place-name forms within them and what these reveal about local Gaelic and local society. I will go on to discuss public engagement with place-names and songs and the role of researchers in contributing to the safeguarding and revitalisation of Gaelic and wider cultural heritage. 

Dr Alasdair C. Whyte is a Lord Kelvin / Adam Smith Research Fellow in Celtic Onomastics at the University of Glasgow. His main research project is Ainmeannan-Àite Mhuile is Ulbha / The Place-Names of Mull and Ulva. He is also a Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project Ainm-thìr Idhe / Iona’s Namescape. His forthcoming book on Glasgow’s Gaelic place-names is set for publication in late 2021 / early 2022. His wider research interests extend broadly to include all aspects of Celtic, Gaelic and Scottish Studies, including the intersection of place-names studies with historical linguistics, dialectology, folklore, literature, song and environmental studies. In addition to his academic work, he is a singer, songwriter, playwright, actor and presenter. In September 2021, he published Maim-slè, a book of original and traditional Gaelic poetry and prose about language shift and ecology, based on his writing for a stage play in which he also performed (MAIM, 2020) and an album with the band WHYTE (MAIM, 2021). He was named Gaelic Ambassador of the Year by The Scottish Government in 2019. 

Maim-slè and MAIM are available via The Bothy Society 

Dr Alasdair C. Whyte, University of Glasgow webpage 

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