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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
a salt-crust lifted our country) verse 31,49 54 kanaka kerrenha leparlay nerray ntyeranha lana anwekakerrenh=arl perlayn-irr+enty ar+enh+erl-an+ek lpl.POS.SMOG=REL plain-INCH+DS see+PATH+LIG-CNT+PST Our country, Pelaynirrenty, came into view on our journey verse 46 55 kanaka kerrenha lamperrnga loway anwekakerrenh+el amperrng=arl iw+ek lpl.POS.SMOG+ERG sad=REL throw+PST Our country made us sad verse 3,32,24 56 kelarnka rlenangka lerrarlil pengka Lernkarlaneng+el arrarleylpengk+ek (?)+PST PLACENAME I At Lemkelaneng..
Contributors in the section 'Documenting Placenames' explore further the intricacies of translating Aboriginal place names into English.
The creative process of writing linguistics, and the linguistics of writing and mapping, started to develop into a dialectical pilgrimage; I had engaged with people through language (English and Norfolk, the Norfolk Island language), had discussed their languages (Norfolk, Norfolk English, and (South) Australian English), and I was now travelling through and analysing their language in the form of the placenames (toponyms) I had documented.
In East Anglia, for example, another kingdom to convert to Christianity relatively late, there is not a single placename with a pagan origin.
Placenames may shed some light on issues of primacy of country; where there is a preponderance of placenames from a specific language, and only scattered names from a neighbouring language, it may be possible to argue that the names that are more common support the primacy of those clans.
Lastly, I explore the shores of Hudson Bay in search of the origins of the placename New South Wales, often found there on maps from the seventeenth to mid-nineteenth centuries.
They called it Whiteway, a rough English equivalent of the Russian placename Yasnaya Polyana.
After my virtual trip around Great Britain and my discovery of 600 new placename transposals (see August 2003 Word Ways), I decided to attempt a similar trip around California.
The Anglesey town, called Llanfair PG for short, has the longest placename in Britain.
The placenaming, cartography, and community consultation which took place during the rabbit eradication programme and the proclamation of Phillip Island as a part of the Norfolk Island National Park during the late 1980s starkly depicts how several toponymic ideas have been at odds with each other and how their coming together, conflict, or clash have resulted in different placename maps.
This may include where a country or placename is used in the name of the food, or where written or illustrative information would give the impression that the food had a particular country of origin.
Just to show it's not forgotten, here are our fifty longest (and therefore best) Canadian placename transpositions (province abbreviations in parenthesis).