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Related to Place-name: toponym, toponymy



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 ?
Richard saw a need for his book because, while there are many local and specialist books on the subject of place-names in Glamorgan, no-one had attempted to draw all of this research together and to revise it.
Nicolaisen, 'Place-Name Index', in The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, ed.
Nagel identifies two groups of Hobbit place-names, a "Hobbiton-cum-By-water perspective" (31) and a "Celtic substratum" (30) centered about Buckand and the Marish.
I roamed around the neighbourhood where we were filming, looking out for interesting place-names, signs, inscriptions, posters ...
The Old English word is attested as a lexical item in the literary corpus of England, but does not appear to have been used to coin English place-names. Similarly, early evidence for the place-name Hesterhoh in Roxburgh (Hesterhoh c.1050; Williamson 1942: 140) indicates the use of Old English hoh 'heel, spur of land' in Scottish place-names.
Smith, English Place-Name Elements, 2 vols, EPNS 25-6 (Cambridge, 1956), I, 61, s.v.
Other provocative but tentative conclusions offered by Harrington included the following observations: due to the "large proportion of etymologically obscure place-names," the Tewa probably had inhabited their present region for a long time; individuals' place name inventories were closely correlated with their social group boundaries and immediate environments such that few names were known outside of these boundaries; and the arid and relatively unsettled region that the Tewa inhabited may have necessitated "abundance and preciseness" in their geographic nomenclature exceeding that of more diverse and settled environments (Harrington 1916:38, 94).
Both documents have proven extremely useful for the historical dialectologist in recent times and, in spite of the methodological differences in the treatment of the place-names recorded in each one of them, I would like to focus on their complementary character as informants of processes of linguistic change in early Middle English.
In consequence, it is not credible that the place-name derives from the surname Ermess.
Now, when you see the Inuit place-name Kalaallit Nunaat (Land of the People) printed on maps, you will know that the Inuit of Greenland have gained some political independence.
For example, the section on prominent people or families includes place-name essays on Sir Guy Carleton, the Fraser and Smith families, George M.
2 The foremost authority on these matters, Dr Margaret Gelling, now accepts the probability that names denoting pagan sites exist in Cheshire; see Prudence Vipond, 'Harrow Fields in Heswall-cum-Oldfield', Journal of the English Place-Name Society, xxv (1992/3), 9-10; Margaret Gelling, 'Paganism and Christianity in Wirral?', ibid., 11.