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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 ?
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.
Both the placename and Line 52 have a similar grammatical structure, namely 'Where X did Y'.
This is the major focus of the paper by Peter Sutton 'On the Translatability of Placenames in the Wik Region, Cape York Peninsula'.
We are developing a database of placenames for the Flathead Reservation and Aboriginal Territory in both the Salish and Kootenai languages.
In East Anglia, for example, another kingdom to convert to Christianity relatively late, there is not a single placename with a pagan origin.
I]fread as a mnemonic for a history of the mind's responses to a mysterious marriage of sound and place, the placename can be a word of power--a password, perhaps" he writes (153).
Each entry includes the headword as spelled in the Geographical Names Information System, geographic location(s) of the placename, pronunciation, and etymology.
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.
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.
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.
Ki exists today as a placename on the Murray River (the Ki State Forest adjoins the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park).
Just to show it's not forgotten, here are our fifty longest (and therefore best) Canadian placename transpositions (province abbreviations in parenthesis).