Beurla Reagaird

This article is about the Gaelic-based cant. For the Scots-based cant, see Scottish Cant.

Beurla Reagaird is a nearly extinct, Scottish Gaelic-based cant used by the indigenous travelling community of the Highlands of Scotland, formerly often referred to by the disparaging name "tinkers".[1][2]


Beurla Reagaird ([ˈpjɤːrˠlˠ̪ə ˈɾɛkərˠtʲ], previously also spelled Beurla Reagair) loosely translates as "speech of metalworkers".[3] Although Beurla today refers to the English language, its original meaning is that of "jargon" (from Old Irish bélre, bél "mouth" plus the abstract forming suffix -re),[4] with the second element being linked to the word eagar "order, array, arrangement" (cf. the Irish Béarla na Saor "speech of the smiths").[5]


  1. Evans, S. Stopping Places – A Gipsy History of South London and Kent (1999) Hertfordshire Press ISBN 1-902806-30-1
  2. "Beurla-reagaird (Travellers' Gaelic Cant)". Am Baile. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  3. Kirk, J. & Ó Baoill, D. Travellers and their Language (2002) Queen's University Belfast ISBN 0-85389-832-4
  4. MacBain, A. An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language (1896; 1982 reprint) Gairm ISBN 0-901771-68-6
  5. Neat, T. The Summer Walkers (1996; 1997 reprint) ISBN 0-86241-576-4

See also

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