Tuesday, June 24, 2008

To Gaelic or not to Gaelic...

I've been taking a great online class through Celtic Hearts Romance Writers on the clan system and one of the recurring topics (as happens quite a bit in Scottish romance classes) is the correct terminology of "xyz" for "xyz" period. If it's before 1600 in the Highlands, usually that means its a Gaelic word.

Now here's the funny timing issue on this. Right now I'm going through the copy edits for Highland Warrior (it's so nice to have a title!) and my editor must have circled every other Gaelic word I used--meaning she wanted me to get rid of it--and I don't think I use that many. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of defining the term in context, but I guess maybe not. I basically use Gaelic for the clothing (i.e. Breacan Feile or Arisaidh) and smatter in other "local" words for flavor (i.e. birlinn; yett; barmkin).

But with each book the Gaelic gets less and less. Why? Because I think the words trip up most people other than the hard core Scottish fans and that last thing an author wants is a frustrated reader. So occasionally, this might mean I use a Scots word or English word for something (i.e. Whisky or Laird).

I thought I'd see whether you guys agree...Do you like to see Gaelic in your Scottish romances? A smattering or the more the merrier?