Gaelic Words of the Week – Constituency and Region


Each week we publish the text of our Gaelic Word of the Week podcast here with added facts, figures and photos for Gaelic learners who want to learn a little about the language and about the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. This week our words are Sgìre – constituency and Roinn – region.

Yesterday saw the Scottish Parliament election – taghadh.

The results are currently being counted so while we’re waiting to see who all our new MSPs – Buill Pàrlamaid na h-Alba – are going to be, we’re going to look at two important words – constituency and region.

The Gaelic for constituency is sgìre. And region is roinn.

In the election – taghadh, there were two ballot papers – pàipearan bhòtaidh, one to choose a MSP for the constituency – sgìre and another to select which party your MSP for the region – roinn will be from, that is unless you’re voting for an independent candidate.

This is because elections – taghaidhean – use something called the Additional Member System of proportional representation. This system allows people to elect a Member for their constituency – sgìre and also extra MSPs for their region – roinn. One of the intended effects of this is to bring a more diverse range of views into the Scottish Parliament than in a strict first-past-the-post system. This results in each person having 8 MSPs – BPA – one for their constituency – sgìre and seven for their larger region – roinn.

For instance, if you lived in Greenock, – you would have one MSP for the constituency of Greenock and Inverclyde – Grianag and Inbhir Chluaidh – but 7 more for the region of the West of Scotland – Alba an Iar. Incidentally if you are a placenames fan, Greenock comes from the Gaelic Grianaig, meaning the sunny place, and Inverclyde – Inbhir Chluaidh – which means the mouth of the Clyde.

Grianaig – Greenock. Photo by ClydeCoast from Wikimedia commons.

If you want to raise an issue, you can contact any of your MSPs, whether they represent your sgìre – constituency or your larger roinn – region. Though technically you don’t have any MSPs until the count is announced over the next few days!

This week’s Gaelic words of the week are sgìre – constituency and roinn – region.

Alasdair MacCaluim

Alasdair.maccaluim@parliament.scot