Highlands & Islands

Public consultation on list of Gaelic shellfish names

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A public consultation on recommended Gaelic names for the most common shellfish in Scotland's seas has been launched.

Scottish Natural Heritage has published a list of 85 marine mollusc names, Gaelic terms for parts of the animals and for different seashell shapes.

The meanings of many of the names have also been explained in English.

The recommendations have been produced by a team from Scottish Natural Heriatge and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Gaelic-speaking environmental educator Roddy Maclean has been leading the project.

He interviewed 14 older Gaelic speakers, mostly from the Western Isles, to obtain guidance on the names they use for marine mollusc species.

Mr Maclean said: "There was a general agreement on the names for the most common species.

"But there were some species where people had different terms, or none at all. This challenged us to make a choice and also provide names for species with no recorded Gaelic form."

Some of the suggested names and terms include:

  • Mollusc - Moileasg
  • Seashell - Slige mhara
  • Filter feeder - Sìoltachair
  • Shellfish harvested by moonlight - Maorach-èalaidh

Robyn Ireland, SNH's Gaelic officer, said: "Our natural heritage and the Gaelic language have an inseparable link.

"We are committed to encouraging Gaelic speakers and learners to use the language in connection with nature, and hope that this project will help.

"We welcome the thoughts of anyone with an interest and encourage them to submit their comments to the consultation."

SNH and Bòrd na Gàidhlig hope that, once in its final version, the vocabulary will be used by teachers, biologists, naturalists, rangers and parents, along with the wider Gaelic community who wish to discuss the seashore.

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