The place names of the North East of Scotland reflect the languages of the peoples who have made it their home. The Picts, Vikings, Gaelic-speaking Scots and Doric- or Scots-speaking Scots.
Pictish, the earliest of these was probably a goidelic language similar to old Welsh with some fusion with that of the earlier Bronze age peoples. It survives only as a few geographic descriptions.
As it was purely oral, little survives though there may be an ogham inscription using an Celtic/Gaelic writing technique to render some Pictish names on the Brandsbutt stone at Inverurie (see picture)
“Pit” a portion of land e.g. Pitsligo
“Aber” at the mouth of a river e.g. Aberdeen
“Pert” a copse or wood e.g Perth
“Dol” a water meadow e.g Glen Doll or Dollar where Gaelic and Pictish are amalgamated
Gaelic, the languge of the Celtic Scotti and, after the Picts, the dominant tongue in the area gives us:-
“Bal” a settlement e.g.Balmedie
“Kin” at the head of e.g.Kinnairdy
“Rait/rath/roth” a fort e.g.Rothiemay, Rathven
“Logie” a hollow or howe e.g. Logie
“Kil” a church, usually associated with a saint
“Inver” at the confluence of rivers or at the mouth of a river e.g.Inverurie
"Tilly" tulach, a knoll or small hill
"In(s)ch" an island or a dry area in a marsh
Norse. There are fewer place names of Norse origin compared to other parts of Scotland, possibly due to their lack of success in the area.
Findlater (Castle) possibly from the Viking for white cliff.
Sand Haven old Norse "hofn"