De Origine Scoticae Linguae (also known as O’Mulconry’s Glossary) is a text composed in Ireland, originating in the seventh century. It comprises c. 880 entries, arranged into the form of an alphabetical glossary that mostly provides etymologies for Irish words from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Its Latin prologue declares its affiliation to the Graeco-Roman linguistic tradition, claiming not only an origin for the Irish language in the Greek dialects Attic, Doric, Aeolic, but also a Greek origin for the Irish people. The glossary attests to the transmission and reception of the Latin grammatical tradition in Ireland. It also shines light on the Irish knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. The text represents a major milestone in the history of European linguistics, as the earliest systematic lexical study of a European vernacular language.
The glossary was published once before, by Whitley Stokes in 1898. This edition provides a first translation and textual commentary that clarify the sense of difficult entries and discuss sources. There is a full introduction, analysing the structure and content, origins and development, linguistic issues, and relationships to other texts. The text is edited here along with a short related glossary of 232 entries, titled Irsan, which shares much material in common and sheds further light on its development.