Rich Veins of Name Research - A survey of Mine-names in the Forest of Dean

Ryan McGeer

English Language

4th

Year of study:

With the rise in the use of renewable energy sources becoming more prevalent and necessary in the economic and environmental landscape in the UK, the decline of coal mining as a major industry has been inevitable. Attention must turn, then, to preserving the historical and cultural artefacts of the industry that will be left behind. Given the abundance of place-names which label and contextualise many parts of our landscape and industrial practices, a study questioning the significance of names in this profession . My research consists of a survey of mine-names in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, attempting to understand how labels of mines reflect the culture and practices surrounding the profession. The project looks at over 400 names compiled with a view to distinguishing what name-givers deemed valuable and interesting about their livelihoods. This talk will aim to share interesting interpretations collected from field interviews and introduce others to the wide and varied interests in name-studies.

My name is Ryan and I’m currently in my final year as an undergraduate in English Language and Linguistics. I was born in Port Glasgow, a few miles down the river from the university, however I spent my teenage years living in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Despite coming as an outsider, living in a rural area meant taking an active interest in the local heritage and history that has only grown since moving to university. This project offered a chance to combine my interest in that local history with my passion for language and meaning. Outside of name studies, my linguistic interests focus mainly around semantics as well as the history of our language. I have spent the last 6 months working on the Historical Thesaurus project here at Glasgow, dealing with issues of classification of meaning, which has been extremely helpful in developing the knowledge needed for this project. Outside of academia I’m a keen long-distance runner and enjoy all things outdoors.

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