back to article Visitors no longer welcomed to Scotland's 'Penis Island'

Visitors disembarking at the ferry terminal on the Scottish Isle of Bute are sadly no longer greeted with a Gaelic sign reading: "Welcome to Rothesay – The doorway to the beauty of Penis Island", after the local council moved swiftly to correct a balls-up and add a missing accent. According to The Scotsman, the sign had for …

And in such straightforward language, too. I was also impressed. It's a very small thing in the big picture, but it's nice to hear a politician act and talk like they're not a scripted Ken doll.

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Big Brother

Probably an EU welfare handout is involved

You know, one of those "bribe the minorities witless so they love us and hate their national governments, thus fomenting unrest in their countries and enabling us to extend our empire-building tentacles" ones. Usually abbreviated to "Divide and Conquer".

Would he have thundered so if the cock-up had been on an English sign, I wonder?

PS: I lived in the Highlands when all the road signs were made totally illegible with the addition of Gaelic, such that you had to stop your car and walk up to them to figure out where to go next. As the five Gaelic-speakers had lived there all their lives so knew which way to go without needing a road sign, and all the people who did need them could now no longer read them, it seemed like a typical EU project.

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Headmaster

"How refreshing for a counsellor to actually say there's a problem, and get it sorted quickly."

In all fairness, counsellors often do work hard. It's councillors who take ages to sort something out unless there's a vote or backhander in it for them.

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Anonymous Coward

"1.1 per cent of Scotland's population spoke Gaelic"

And that's why every bloody railway station in Scotland now has a Gaelic (i.e. Irish) version of its name on the signage.

Even if they have to invent one for it.

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The point surely is that it's been wrong for nine years and nobody noticed.

Because nobody on Bute speaks Gaelic and nobody ever did.

The whole thing is a complete waste of taxpayers money.

Similarly, some clown has spend 10's of £1000's replacing all the railway station name boards with bilingual ones, throughout Ayrshire - where again, nobody speaks Gaelic and nobody ever did (Rabbie Burns wrote in old Scots, which is dialect of English). I imagine most of the "gaelic place names" they've used had to be invented for the purpose, since none ever existed before.

Again a complete waste of money. Anyone would think there were no actual real problems in Scotland that the SNP idiots should be focussing on, but alas this is not the case...

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Joke

Q: How many Gaelic Language academics does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: 202. One to hold the ladder, one to change the bulb, 200 to think up a Gaelic equivalent of "Lightbulb".

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid as well as ignorant

If nothing else, AndrewDu has proved there's a Twatt on the mainland as well as those in Orkney.

I can assure you that Gaelic was spoken in Ayrshire and on Bute Andrew; just looking at a map of Ayr itself for a couple of minutes will show you place names derived from the language. I'm not sure if you're English and simply unaware or just one of Ayrshire's famous little Britishers, but the point of adding it to signs is to kindle an interest and awareness in the language, the culture and the history. That you have no interest nor the mental faculty to develop one is no reason for the rest of us to lose another part of our identity. March along now...

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rmv

"throughout Ayrshire - where again, nobody speaks Gaelic and nobody ever did"

So all those Gaelic place names in Ayrshire, like Dunure, Kilmarnock, Ardrossan and the like - they were all chosen by the non-Gaelic natives for their exotic, foreign sound?

Carrick was known to be a Gaelic speaking holdout against Lowland Scots certainly through until the early 16th Century. In 1504, William Dunbar repeatedly sneered at Walter Kennedy of Dunure's Gaelic in The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy (an early predecessor of The Register comment section and the first recorded use of the word "shit" as a personal insult).

R

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Go

@ AndrewDu

I suggest that many DID notice the error over the years, but for strange reasons best known to themselves, decided to leave things as they were....

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The Gaelic for 'lightbulb'?

Reminds me of once asking my Latin teacher at school what the latin for 'television' was.

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Maybe not Ayrshire but

Someone's house name caught my attention... it seems to be Gaelic for "Our House". I'm not sure what to make of it. Except maybe to build my own house next door, call it the same thing, and wait for the cheque to come when they win the football pools.

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Anonymous Coward

it's been wrong for nine years and...

every scots gaelic reader who saw it, had a silent giggle and strolled on...

not everyone is outraged by amusing errors on signs, y'ken

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Why leave the mainland..

When you can visit the charming small industrial town\village just north of Sheffield called

Penistone..

(The locals pronounce it "Pennystunn" BTW)

and just to keep the gender balance right there is a neighbouring village called

Wombwell

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Joke

Was: Why leave the mainland..

... there is a neighbouring village called

Wombwell

That's on Wimbweldon Common, isn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Shades of the Welsh bilingual policy

Back when I was a student in Aberystwyth, this sort of bilingual nonsense was rife. Google Translate didn't exist back then, so translating English to Welsh basically involved finding someone with a vague smattering of Welsh, and buying them a beer or two.

However, the Students Union, unrepentant uber-lefties to a man/woman/whatever, loved that policy. A politically correct yet utterly unimportant set of rules to whinge about and make everyones' lives a misery with? A gift from the Gods! In the Biology Society, we very sensibly totted up how much money a grant from said Students Union would give us, how much it would cost to comply with their nonsensical rules, and told them to get lost.

Or rather, told them to go do something with lots of syllables to a sheep, which amounted to the same thing.

These days I imagine that Google Translate will have rather taken the fun out of the matter, although I dare say they'll still be pissing money away on live translators of student union debates.

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Re: Shades of the Welsh bilingual policy

It's the same approach that lead to the two union bars being called 'Bar 9 Bar' and 'The Joint' though. If it ain't broke...

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Silver badge

Obligatory Toy Story Joke

nice butte...

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True story..

The village hall near my workplace was "PANNAL VILLLAGE HALL" for at least a year before anyone noticed it..

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/10997138.One____L____of_a_mistake_on_village_hall_sign/?ref=rss

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Re: True story..

Would they notice if the P and one of the N's disappeared?

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With all due respect to Gaelic speakers...

This kind of thing makes a mockery of your language.

When you change the meaning of a word so completely with an accent then you are setting yourself up for misunderstanding. The purpose of written language is to be understood by those who read it. In the majority of cases accents are used to guide pronunciation - not meaning - for the well displayed reasons in this paper. Half of the mistranslations in biblical scripts are because the ancient Hebrew used accents above or below the general text to denote vowels - with the predictable results as the texts became old and the accents were lost in transcription by non-speakers.

I am sure there is some College of Gaelic scholars somewhere who are desperately working to "keep the language pure", but they are doing no good to keeping the language alive if they don't allow it to modernize.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: With all due respect to Gaelic speakers...

As I understand it, the word itself is more a slang term derived from the word for "old man" - bodach. You know, like the English slang for a penis - "old man" or perhaps the English term for a penis - "cock" which could be confused with a male chicken? Or dick, which could be confused with a chap's name. I could go on...

Perhaps the guardians of English should be forced to ensure the clarity of all the above.

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rmv

Re: With all due respect to Gaelic speakers...

It's better than English in that respect; If I "take a bow", there's nothing in that to tell you whether I'm acknowledging your applause or getting ready to shoot you full of arrows. Except the context of course, but Gaelic shares that too.

I'm sure there are some Gaelic speakers who want to "keep the language pure" but hey, you can say that about pretty much any language; You just need to absent-mindedly drop a split infinitive in English and the language pedants leap out of the woodwork.

I can barely string two words together in Gaelic as I have no talent with languages whatsoever. But my wife's family from the Hebrides speak it as a first language. The eldest of them is in his seventies and the youngest has just turned 21, and when they're rabbiting away, it doesn't seem like a dead language to me.

Here's the Gaelic for Punks lessons if you want to learn a bit:

https://soundcloud.com/an-t-uabhas/sets/togaibh-ur-guth/

R

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Re: With all due respect to Gaelic speakers…

100113.1537, the difference between bhoid and Bhòid is to guide pronunciation — the ò indicates a longer vowel sound than o has, and they’re not allophones in Gaelic. As you’d stated, the purpose of written language is to be understood by those who read it; if you believe that the length mark is the cause of the change of meaning, then you haven’t understood what its purpose is. It is no more the cause of the change of meaning than the trema is the cause between “coop” and “coöp” in English; in both cases, the diacritic is used to indicate a different word altogether, not to cause it.

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Re: With all due respect to Gaelic speakers...

It's two words not one, with different meanings and pronunciation. The accent indicates pronunciation and the meaning is usually obvious from context. You don't have a problem with words like "watch" having several meanings, do you?

The article mentions two, but as far as I know, there aren't that many examples. Bàta (boat) and bata (stick) are the only ones I can think of (admittedly my command of Gaelic is limited)

I'm not aware of any organisation trying to stop Gaelic evolving. The acute accent dropped out of use in the 20th century, largely unchallenged. Bòrd na Gàidhlig is is only interested in the language surviving..

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Re: With all due respect to Gaelic speakers...

The 'accent' is a key piece of orthography (spelling) in the Gaelic languages that I'm familiar with. You might as well say that the English words 'cop' and 'coop' are somehow the same and likely to be confused! English spelling tends to use doubled vowels as a length indicator, whereas the Gaelic languages signify that with the sínead fada (long accent) instead so you never see 'aa', 'ee' and so on. Oddly, Irish and Scottish Gaelic have differently slanting fadas. Manx orthography, just to be different, does tend to use vowel doubling as a length indicator despite being quite closely related to Irish.

Take your pick: cop/coop or fear (man) féar (grass) in Irish, with distinctly different pronunciations in each case. There's numerous examples where two entirely different words in either language differ only in the length of the vowel sound.

I can't vouch for the meaning in Scottish Gaelic, but when I've heard 'bod' in Irish, it has a substantially earthier implication than the rather medical 'penis'.

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Anonymous Coward

The sooner they erectify it the better.

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bjr

Athol, MA

In Massachusetts we have a town named Athol. A former governor, Endicott Peabody was said to be so popular that they named four towns after him. Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead and Athol.

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Quite obviously..

A spelling mistake is a hard on to spot.

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Has anyone looked at the picture of the island upside down? "Penis Island" seems quite apt...

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The Bhoid mightier than the sword!

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I vote yes

have your independence and with it your own taxes to spend on shite like this

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Go

All very amusing

Such errors tend to occur from time to time and good on the local council that they want to fix this one, albeit a little late. I imaginge the locals generally knew what the sign actually meant and Tourists hadn't a clue - so storm in a tea cup?

Then again, in the village of Loose near Maidstone in Kent there is the "Loose Womens Institute" and that is no error.

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Obvious

The owners of Rentboy.com (see a previous article) should relocate there.

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Silver badge

Two pages of comments and no-one has used the phrase "cunning linguists"?

For shame, people, for shame.

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So is a fèis feis

an orgy?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh God

Does that mean the Welsh translated forms on the website of the charity I work for are going to be full of howlers like this?

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Coat

The gist of the article

No penis is an island.

Gettin' me coat...

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