Capitalising on the City : Edinburgh’s Linguistic Identities

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Title: Capitalising on the City : Edinburgh’s Linguistic Identities
Author: Scott, Maggie
Publisher: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Date: 2012
Language: eng
Belongs to series: COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 13
ISBN: 978-952-10-8578-9
ISSN: 1796-2986
Abstract: This paper examines the linguistic identities of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, and the contexts in which they are currently used. The city is known by a range of different names that are linked with its historical and contemporary identities as they are represented in Scottish Gaelic, Scottish English and Scots. In terms of its etymology, the name Edinburgh is part Celtic and part Germanic, but in modern usage it exists within the official and standard discourses of the dominant language variety, Scottish English. It is the form of the name most usually employed in other British and International Englishes. In modern Scottish Gaelic, the city is called Dùn Èideann, and of those designations which could qualify as Scots, the best known is probably the nickname Auld Reekie “Old Smoky”, made popular in 18th century literature and still in use today. Particular attention is drawn here to the role that these toponymic identities play in relation to the place identity of the city. Each name resonates with different narratives of history and culture, which, although subjectively shaped at the individual level, share at least sufficient prototypical meaning for them to be employed effectively (and further shaped and manipulated) in a variety of public and commercial contexts. It is argued here that the ways in which these three toponymic layers describe the city reveal a complex paradigm of contested space, and that by better understanding the uses of these names we can better understand the linguistic politics of the city’s image and the current roles played by Scotland’s languages.
Subject: onomastics
Scottish etymology
Rights: © author(s) & Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

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