Toponymy(redirected from Placename etymology)
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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.
REFERENCESNikonov, 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.
V. P. NEROZNAK