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the branch of onomastics that studies toponyms (place names), their meaning, structure, origin, and area of distribution. The aggregate of toponyms for a given area constitutes its toponymy. Microtoponymy is the study of the names of such smaller geographical units as localities, springs, whirlpools, and farmlands. Toponymy is closely interrelated with geography, history, and ethnography.

Toponymy is an important research tool in historical lexicology, dialectology, and etymology. Some toponyms, particularly hydronyms, preserve archaisms and older dialectical features and often originate in the substrate languages of a given area. Toponymy aids in reconstructing the history of peoples and in defining the boundaries within which they lived. It also helps to determine the areas in which languages were once prevalent and to locate former cultural and economic centers and trade routes. The transcription of toponyms establishes their original spelling and the period of their introduction into other languages; this information is used in military cartography and in all types of communication.


Nikonov, V. A. Vvedenie v toponimiku. Moscow, 1965.
Popov, A. I. Geograficheskie nazvaniia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Zhuchkevich, V. A. Obshchaia toponimika, 2nd ed. Minsk, 1968.
Pospelov, E. M. Toponimika i kartografiia. Moscow, 1971.
Murzaev, E. M. Ocherki toponimiki. Moscow, 1974.


References in periodicals archive ?
Wales historic place names are an important part of our history and culture, which is why the Welsh Government included the requirement for a statutory list in its Historic Environment (Wales) Act.
The statutory list is the first of its kind in the UK and pulls together place names gathered from a variety of historical sources.
Evans doubts this claim--fair enough, Lucky lists at least 94 places--and estimates this large country of ours has around four million place names.
It shows how this corpus of early modern place names can bring us beyond Edmundo O'Gorman's theory of the invention of America.
For example, on page 54, Nash describes an alternation between the definite and indefinite articles (dar and ar) in place names as following a phonological assimilation rule of dar > ar/C_ when following a preposition.
I often think that the most poetic language is found in the conversation of those with the least formal education, and some of the best place names are created by those, such as the Native Americans, who live closest to the land.
He added that a few days ago a Larnaca bookshop was selling "a multitude of books" -- presumably with non-standard place names -- as were a number of petrol stations.
Through these transcriptions, place names and associated stories emerge as an embedded and embodied collection of wisdom that includes metaphysical descriptions of Raven; haunting stories of the non-human people, ircenrraat; and insights into the changing patterns of subsistence practices over time.
It is also a sign that the actual place name is not fully understood - certainly I think in the case of Merthyr Tydfil and many other longer place names.
A new book - A History of Whitby & Its Place Names by Colin Waters (Amberley, pounds 14.
As Caroline Taggart reminds us, English place names evolved through our history and were in large part the creation of invaders, be they Celts, Romans.
Sierra Nevada Place Names From Abbot to Zumwalt, third edition