The Placenames of Ballaugh
Talk by Phil Kelly on Thursday 17 January in the Bowling Club
It must have taken many hours to prepare this talk, as Phil had photographed a wonderful selection of road and house signs, producing a useful record of how we identify our homes in the early 21st century.
We now know that it is a tautology to add ‘Farm’ after a name beginning with ‘Balla’, rather as ‘Creg Willy Syl’ (Willy Syl’s Hill) turned into ‘Creg Willy’s Hill’ (‘Willy’s Hill Hill’). But we also learned the meaning of a number of other frequently used terms, many of them describing a physical feature or geographical location. The Squeen, for example, is from Old Norse, and indicates a place where woodland was cleared by burning. Considerable attention was also paid to the way the names are pronounced, and Phil frequently consulted the audience for the Ballaugh way of saying things, making us aware that there is not necessarily a standard ‘Manx’ pronunciation.
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