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(1) In linguistics, the study of proper names and their origin, as well as the changes that they undergo as a result of long use in the source language or in connection with their borrowing into other languages.
(2) Proper names of various types (onomastic lexicon), which, in accordance with the objects designated, are divided into an-throponymy (study of personal names), toponymy (place-names), “zoonymy” (in Russian, zoonimiia; proper names of animals), “astronymy” (astronimiia; names of stars), “cosmonymy”(kosmonimiia; names of the zones and parts of the universe), “theonymy” (teonimiia; names of gods), and so on.
Onomastic research helps elucidate the routes of migration and places of former settlement of different peoples, as well as the linguistic and cultural contacts of these peoples. Onomastics is also useful in determining the older states of languages and the relationships of their dialects. Toponymy, especially hydro-nymy, is frequently the sole source of information on extinct languages and peoples.
REFERENCESChichagov, V. K. Iz istorii russkikh imen, otchestv i familii. Moscow, 1959.
Tashitskii, V.“Mesto onomastiki sredi drugikh gumanitarnykh nauk.” Voprosy iazykoznaniia, 1961, no. 2.
Superanskaia, A. V. Obshchaia teoriia imeni sobstvennogo. Moscow, 1973.
Bach, A. Deutsche Namenkunde, vols. 1–3. Heidelberg, 1952–56.
Gardiner, A. The Theory of Proper Names, 2nd ed. London, 1957.
A. V. SUPERANSKAIA