2020, Volume 17, Issue 3

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Olesya D. Surikova
Ural Federal University
Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the RAS
Ekaterinburg, Russia

The Variety of Proper Names in E. Barsov’s Lamentations of the Northern Land

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp. 104–155 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.3.037

Received on 28 August 2020

Abstract: The paper deals with a broad variety of names featured in the three-volume Lamentations of the Northern Land published by Elpidifor Barsov in 1872–1885. The toponymy of lamentations has been repeatedly addressed by researchers as the most prevalent and diverse class of proper names due to its symbolic weight and a pronounced local colour. This study aims to bridge the gaps in the systemic description of other categories of names presented in this collection (ethnonyms, chrononyms, theonyms and hagionyms, anthroponyms, and onomastic derivatives). These may lack the diversity of toponyms but are intrinsically related to the genre of lamentation in terms of their composition and usage. Therefore, a comprehensive description of these classes is required, primarily from the standpoint of linguistic pragmatics. Christian onyms (theonyms, hagionyms, chrononyms, ecclesionyms, names of icons (iconyms)) are most frequent in lamentations, which reflects the later influence of Orthodox worldview on this archaic genre and the proliferation of Christian naming patterns. Alternatively, the same could be explained by intergeneric influence, meaning that Orthodox vocabulary and semantic oppositions in lamentations could be assimilated from spiritual verses. The fact that lamentations were only performed by women also speaks on favour of the genre-driven nature of their onymic composition, abound in proper names reflecting the “female” perspective. These include regional toponyms forming a local image of space, mentions of “female” calendar holidays, religious names reflecting a special role of the Mother of God cult. The onomasticon of lamentations is also an important linguo-geographic source. For example, the predominance of Olonets toponymy in Lamentations and its hydrocentricity (a large share of names of water bodies and settlements located near large lakes and rivers) attests to the North Russian origin of this genre. Frequent mentions of the names of monasteries and the near-by holy sources, facts of ecclesiastical naming of cemeteries, and other local features also highlight the regional specificity of this collection.

Keywords: linguistic and folklore studies, lamentations, “Lamentations of the Northern Land,” onomastics, toponymy, chrononymy, hagionymy, anthroponymy.

The reported study was funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project number 20-012-00205 “Lamentations of the Northern Land Collected by E. V. Barsov: Materials for a Dictionary”).


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