Glaswegian

abenr

Senior Member
English, USA
Might anyone here know the origin of "Glaswegian," meaning a native of Glasgow? One who lives in Moscow is not called a Moswegian, so I find the term very curious.

I await eagerly any light that can be thrown on the subject.

Cheers,
Abenr
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    According to a meander through the OED, Glaswegian is modelled on Galwegian (a resident of Galloway), which is modelled on Norwegian (a native of Norway) which derives from any one of a large number of variants such as Norwegia, Norwege .... old names for Norway.

    What it doesn't explain is why an ending that is appropriate for places ending in -way came to be applied to Glasgow.
     

    MissFit

    Senior Member
    My dictionary says that Glaswegian is a contraction of Glasgow + Galwegian. According to Wikipedia (a notoriously unreliable soure) a Galwegian is a person from Galloway or one who speaks the dialect spoken in Galloway and Galloway is a region of southwestern Scotland comprised of the former counties of Wigtown and Kirkcudbright. Glasgow is not in Galloway, but it is close by to the north.

    My guess is that the Galwegians moved to Glasgow in large numbers at some point in history, bringing their dialect with them, and eventually Glasgow Galwegians comprised the majority of Glasgow residents. Then the name became associated only with the city when Galloway no longer existed as a political region. Perhaps there is a Scotsman out there who could confirm or refute that?
     

    stranger in your midst

    Senior Member
    English / Scotland
    My guess is that the Galwegians moved to Glasgow in large numbers at some point in history, bringing their dialect with them, and eventually Glasgow Galwegians comprised the majority of Glasgow residents. Then the name became associated only with the city when Galloway no longer existed as a political region. Perhaps there is a Scotsman out there who could confirm or refute that?
    I am a Glaswegian. This etymology is interesting but extremely hard to believe. Historically, the demographic shift went the other way, i.e. from the Borders to Glasgow (and indeed, from everywhere to Glasgow, which was where there was work from the industrial revolution onwards, as well as educational opportunities etc).

    That said, one of the dialect words for Glasgow is 'Glesgay', the last syllable of which rhymes with 'way', although more common now is 'Glesca'.

    It seems to me many towns have names for their citizens which defy logical analysis. The inhabitants of Edinburgh are 'Edinburgoynians', not 'Edinburgers' which would seem more natural. The inhabitants of Bristol are, I belive, 'Bristolians', whereas 'Bristolites' seems more natural.

    Who can say ? Perhaps these terms were invented by some bored academic locked up in a cloister for too long.

    Folk in Moscow are, I belive, 'Muscovites', bythe way.
     

    winklepicker

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    The inhabitants of Bristol are, I belive, 'Bristolians', whereas 'Bristolites' seems more natural.
    But Bristol is a relatively new spelling of the town which was called Bristow. It is a feature of the local dialect the words ending in a vowel get an 'l' added to them. So you'll hear people say " You're not from round this aerial, are you?' - which can be deeply confusing.

    So inhabitants of Bristow (Bristolians) changed the name of their town to Bristol.
     

    abenr

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    According to a meander through the OED, Glaswegian is modelled on Galwegian (a resident of Galloway), which is modelled on Norwegian (a native of Norway) which derives from any one of a large number of variants such as Norwegia, Norwege .... old names for Norway.

    What it doesn't explain is why an ending that is appropriate for places ending in -way came to be applied to Glasgow.
    Thank you for your learned reply.

    Sadly I do not own the OED. Does it offer a year for the first published use of Glaswegian?

    Regards,
    Abenr
     
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