2020, Volume 17, Issue 1

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Andrey G. Belyaev
Elena I. Shubnitsina

Yugyd Va National Park
Vuktyl, Russia

On the Origin of Russian-Language Hydronyms of the Shchugor River Basin

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp. 95–112 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.1.005

Received 13 February 2019

Abstract: The article discusses the history of the hydronyms Shchugor, Patok, Glubnik, Torgovaya, Volokovka, Pyatidyrka, and Semidyrka, i.e. the names of the Shchugor River and its several tributaries of the first and second orders. Presently, these names mostly have a “Russian” phonetic appearance, however, their historical variants suggest that some of them may be a result of semantic adaptation of pre-Russian names. The authors suggest that the hydronyms Pyatidyrka and Semidyrka originated from Nenets names with a composite determinant -dyrma, expressing recurrence and place of action. In other examples, there is a parallel coexistence of several similar versions of one hydronym belonging to different languages, cf.: Russian Torgovaya, Komi-Zyryan Törgövöy-yu, Nenets Menyaylava. This can be regarded as a testimony to the past and current contacts of the Russian population with indigenous peoples — speakers of Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic languages. In some cases, the older pre-Russian form of a hydronym might be missing, i.e. replaced by a Russian-language variant without any trace of the substrate name. For example, the Komi-Zyryan hydronym Pyzhenyuts (from Komi-Zyryan pyzh ‘boat,’ literally “River on which boats can sail”) was replaced in the Old Russian period by the name Padun and, later, by the name Patok, both of the latter hydronyms being originally Russian. The article also analyzes native Russian names for which the most probable motivation can be established based on geographic data. Incidentally, the traditional interpretation of the name of the river Glubnik as “deep river” or “river with deep places” is called into question, since such an interpretation does not correspond to physical and geographical features of the river, the authors interpret the name as “River flowing from the depths of the taiga.” All linguistic observations and etymological interpretations of hydronyms presented in the article are based on the analysis of a large array of cartographic sources of the 16th–20th centuries; finally examples are given of the distortion of the spelling of the hydronyms of the Shchugorsk area of the Urals on the maps of various times.

Keywords: Pechora river basin, Shchugor river, hydronymy, etymology, Russian language, Komi-Zyryan language, Mansi language, Nenets language, Khanty language, semantic adaptation of toponyms.


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