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Scandinavian naming-systems in the Hebrides—A way of understanding how the scandinavians were in contact with Gaels and Picts?

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Chapter Summary

The Southern Hebrides can relatively safely be considered to have been inhabited by a Gaelic speaking people, as this area formed the western part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata. Whether the Northern Hebrides were also Gaelic-speaking or instead Pictish-speaking is more of a question. Archaeological evidence suggests that the material culture appears to have been largely Pictish at the time of the Viking raids, so the possibility that the Northern Hebrides were Pictish-speaking certainly exists. The place-name material of the Hebrides, more specifically the body of place-names which has been passed from Old Norse, is substantial. The study of place-names of Scandinavian origin in this area is complicated by the fact that they have been transferred into Gaelic and adapted to the Gaelic language system.

Keywords: Gaelic language system; Pictish origin; Scandinavian origin; Southern Hebrides



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