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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"The preservation of Scotland's Gaelic place names and understanding the connections between the language and the land is very much at the heart of AAA."
The following sixteen book charters consist of various case studies which analyze the urban place names systems in different geographical regions and chronological periods through the prism of the underlined theoretical approaches and themes.
Finnish place name researchers have taken a wider view (see, e.g., Kiviniemi, Pitkanen, Zilliacus 1974 : 49-50; Kiviniemi 1975) and applied the term transferred name to all place names that have come into use in another place for whatever reason (metaphor, topographic contact, etc).
To what extent does appreciation and understanding of a particular literary text depend on actual knowledge of the particular places and place names specified within it?
Dr Lloyd, who attempted to create a bill to secure historical Welsh place names last year, said: "Publishing place names in a list like this will go some of the way to ensure that the standardised forms will be recorded and respected.
"With ongoing support from the Welsh Government, the list will continue to expand to record the rich legacy of our nation's historic place names. It will help to emphasise their value to our heritage and encourage individuals and public bodies to keep these precious names alive."
It is an entertaining, non-academic read with a playful manner, which charts place names from the serious--the many names for Australia, for example--to the jocular, like Australia's many rude and dirty topographic monikers.
Speaking after his visit, the minister said: "For almost three decades the Place-Name Project has been diligently compiling their incredible database which includes place names that can be traced back more than a millennium.
Place Names of Wales makes for accessible and interesting reading on a topic little covered in books for children--the origins of names of places in Wales, including influences on names from the natural landscape, colours and locations.
Products of the interplay between place names recorded in European textual sources and words heard pronounced by local inhabitants, acts of naming pitted the European cultural imagination against the social and natural worlds of the Americas.
Nash's Insular Toponymies is a new monograph on the ecolinguistics of place names in Norfolk Island and Dudley Peninsula.
As a free and independent nation, the Philippines expressed nationalism in the revision of place names. I didn't know that this goes back to the time of the Philippine Revolution of 1896.