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Linguist finds Welsh names in Scotland

UPI News Service, 09/13/2005 

A new book argues that many Scottish place names are derived from the Welsh language.

William Oxenham, author of "Welsh Origins of Scottish Place Names," told the Western Mail that they date back to an era when a language closely resembling modern Welsh was spoken across Britain.

Some of Scotland's most famous names are of Welsh origin, he said. That includes the capital, Edinburgh, an anglicized version of din Eidyn, or fort of Eidyn.

There are also names that are unchanged or almost unchanged, like Perth, which means a thicket or copse in Welsh. Leith, the port of Edinburgh, derives its name from the word llaid, meaning a gentle stream.

"To many people the claim that place-names which are essentially 'Welsh' in character are to be found almost everywhere in Scotland comes as something of a surprise, and is met with a certain amount of disbelief," Oxenham said.

It's enough to make a patriotic Scot go for a pull of Glenfiddich. Of course, the famous brand of Scotch whisky also has Welsh origins, Oxenham said. He believes the original place name was glyn Fiddich, or glen of Guidid, a Pictish King whose name may have originated with the Welsh word for goose, gwydd.

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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