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Gaelic Signs in Nova Scotia


Parts of eastern mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island have a large part of their population boasting Scottish heritage. It is evident in the local culture, with traditions such as the use of fiddling in local folk music are still widely observed in this part of the province. In Sydney, there is the World's Largest Fiddle located along the waterfront. There are also some speakers of the Gaelic language in Nova Scotia; enough where the province has decided to put up bilingual signs in English and Gaelic for the different towns that you pass along the way. Nova Scotia government encourages that the signs be posted, in honor to preserve and promote the Scottish heritage that many Nova Scotians claim.

In 2006, the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works started a policy that allows for community boundary signs to be posted in both the English and Gaelic languages. Some of the places on the signs may be direct translations between Gaelic and English, but other places may be the former names in Gaelic used for different communities. I think that the signs are a nice addition to the landscape and a great way to honor a special place that is unique for eastern North America.

Bilingual signage for South Haven in English and An Acarsaid A Deas in Gaelic on TCH 105 in South Haven.     

Bilingual signage for Ashdale in English and Loch A' Ghaspereaux on NS 7 northbound. Loch A' Ghaspereaux looks like a hybrid of Gaelic and French, to be honest.

Bilingual signage for Saltsprings in English and Na Tobar Shalainn on NS 7 northbound.

 Sources and Links:
Nova Scotia Canada - Gaelic Communities To Get Road Signs
Gaelic Revitalization - Top 10 Differences between Gaelic in Nova Scotia and Scotland 
Contrarian - Those Gaelic Road Signs: an interactive map, and a few questions
BBC News - Keeping Canada's unique Gaelic culture alive

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