2020, Volume 17, Issue 3

Back to the Table of Contents

Marina V. Golomidova
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Toponymic Image-Building for Urban Locations

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp. 263–278 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.3.043

Received on 23 July 2020

Abstract: The paper looks into the specifics of urban place naming from the perspective of modern territory marketing and branding. Regarding the image of a place as a strategy, the author postulates the importance of toponymic image-building for the market economy and transformation of the socio-cultural milieu. The study focuses on the cases of urban naming aimed at managing the perception of spatial objects and supported through their specific media representation. Most of these place names belong to Ekaterinburg, although some references to other cities are made as well. The originality of the proposed research consists in using discourse analysis to explain the image-building capacities of place naming that relate both to the name choice and to the semiotics of the material landscape, as well as to the intents and purposes of stakeholders involved in the promotion process. Toponymic image-building techniques are commonly used for positioning and promotion of residential real estate, prestigious business facilities, leisure and sports grounds. This enables the author to outline the naming techniques associated with different spheres of social relations. It is noted that toponymic image-building is another means of commodification of urban space, which is not limited to the cost component as such but also adds to the social value of the urban landscape. The conditional-symbolic principle of naming proves to be increasingly productive, which, according to the author, attests to the growing popularity of individualising components in ergonymic and toponymic naming. The research outcomes, covering both linguistic and general semiotic aspects of toponymic image-building, can contribute to solving problematic issues of applied toponymy and the development of urban toponymic policy.

Keywords: urban place names, image of a place, toponymic image-building, toponymic naming, discourse analysis, semantic patterns of naming, commodification of urban space.

The study was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research in the framework of the research project 18-012-00586 “Urbanonyms as Part of the Linguistic Landscape of the City: Traditions and Perspectives for Rational Development”.


Alderman, D. H. (2008). Place, Naming, and the Interpretation of Cultural Landscapes. In P. Howard, & B. Graham (Eds.), Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage and Identity (pp. 195–213). London: Ashgate Press. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315613031.ch11

Azaryahu, M. (1996). The Power of Commemorative Street Names. Environment and Planning. Society and Space, 14(3), 311–330. https://doi.org/10.1068/d140311

Bagirova, E. P., & Gavrikova, E. O. (2015). Iazykovoi imidzh sovremennogo goroda (na materiale godonimov i ergonimov g. Tiumen’) [The Linguistic Image of a Modern City (Based on the Hodonyms and Ergonyms of Tyumen)]. Vestnik Tiumenskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Gumanitarnye issledovaniia. Humanitates, 1, 4(4), 43–55.

Basik, S. N. (2018a). Kommodifikatsiia toponimii kak fenomen sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi i kul’turnoi geografii [Commodification of Toponymy as a Phenomenon of Socio-economic and Cultural Geography]. Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo oblastnogo universiteta. Ser. “Estestvennye nauki”, 2, 59–70. https://doi.org/10.18384/2310-7189-2018-2-59-70

Basik, S. N. (2018b). Kriticheskaia toponimika kak napravlenie geograficheskikh issledovanii: problemy i perspektivy [Critical Toponymy as a Vector of Geographical Research: Problems and Prospects]. Geograficheskii vestnik, 1(44), 56–63. https://doi.org/10.17072/2079-7877-2018-1-56-63

Karimi, A. (2016). Street Fights: The Commodification of Place Names in Post-Taliban Kabul City. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 106(3), 738–753. https://doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2015.1115334

Light, D. (2014). Tourism and Toponymy: Commodifying and Consuming Place Names. Tourism Geographies, 16(1), 141–156. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2013.868031

Light, D., & Young, C. (2015). Toponymy as Commodity: Exploring the Economic Dimensions of Urban Place Names. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(3), 435–450. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12153

Masuda, J., & Bookman, S. (2018). Neighbourhood Branding and the Right to the City. Progress in Human Geography, 42(2), 165–182. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132516671822

Medway, D., & Warnaby, G. (2014). What in a Name? Place Branding and Toponymic Commodification. Environment and Planning, № 46(1), 153–167. https://doi.org/10.1068/a45571

Polyushkevich, O. A. (2017). Simvolicheskoe konstruirovanie territorial’noi identichnosti (na primere toponimiki Irkutska) [Symbolic Construction of a Territorial Identity (Based on Irkutsk toponymy)]. Upravlencheskoe konsul'tirovanie, 11(107), 80–94.

Popova, O. I., Grigoryeva, E. S., & Morozova, I. Yu. (2015). Imidzhevaia politika territorii: analiz imidzha Ekaterinburga [Territorial Image Policy: An Analysis of the Image of Ekaterinburg]. Ekaterinburg: Institut mezhdunarodnykh sviazei.

Razumov, R. V., & Goryaev, S. O. (2019). Novye oikodomonimy kak otrazhenie mental’noi karty goroda [New Oikodomonyms as a Reflection of the Mental Map of the City]. Kommunikativnye issledovaniia, 6(1), 93–111. https://doi.org/10.25513/2413-6182.2019.6(1).93-111

Razumov, R. V., & Goryaev, S. O. (2020). Transliatsiia regional’noi identichnosti v urbanonimii rossiiskikh gorodov: sovremennoe sostoianie [Manifestations of Regional Identity in Contemporary Russian Urbanonymy]. Voprosy onomastiki, 17(2), 201–219. https://doi.org/10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.2.024/

Rose-Redwood, R., Vuolteenaho, J., Young, C., & Light, D. (2019). Naming Rights, Place Branding, and the Tumultuous Cultural Landscapes of Neoliberal Urbanism. Urban Geography, 40(6), 747–761. https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2019.1621125

Shusharina, G. A. (2016). Eksplikatsiia regional’noi identichnosti Komsomol’ska-na-Amure v regional’nom onomasticheskom prostranstve [Representations of the Regional Identity of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Regional Onomastic Space]. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta, 167(2), 76–80.

Terentyev, E. A. (2016). Teoretiko-metodologicheskaia kontseptualizatsiia toponimicheskikh praktik (na primere Moskvy i Sankt-Peterburga) [Theoretical and Methodological Conceptualization of Place-Naming Practices (the Cases of Moscow and St. Petersburg)] (Doctoral dissertation). Higher School of Economics, Moscow.

Tkhakakhov, V. Kh. (2019). Identichnost’ i pamiat’ v urbanonimakh Vladikavkaza [Identity and Memory in Vladikavkaz Urbanonyms]. Diskurs, 5(6), 108–119. https://doi.org/10.32603/2412-8562-2019-5-6-108-119

Vazhenina, I. S. (2006). Imidzh i reputatsiia territorii kak osnova prodvizheniia v konkurentnoi srede [Image and Reputation of the Territory as the Basis for Promotion in a Competitive Environment]. Marketing v Rossii i za rubezhom, 6, 82–99.

Vuolteenaho, J., Wolny, M., & Puzey, G. (2018). “This venue is brought to you by…”: The Diffusion of Sports and Entertainment Facility Name Sponsorship in Urban Europe. Urban Geography, 40(6), 762–783. https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2018.1446586

Zamiatin, D. N. (2003). Gumanitarnaia geografiia: prostranstvo i iazyk geograficheskikh obrazov [Humanitarian Geography: Space and Language of Geographical Images]. St Petersburg: Aleteiia.