2020, Volume 17, Issue 3

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Irina A. Kyurshunova
Petrozavodsk State University
Institute of Language, Literature and History, Karelian Research Center of the RAS
Petrozavodsk, Russia

Karelian Written Documents as a Source for Studying Deanthroponymic Settlement Names

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp. 156–185 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.3.038

Received on 12 April 2020

Abstract: The paper examines one group of Russian-language place names of Karelia, namely those containing possessive forms of anthroponyms. The study builds on published and manuscript sources representing four Zaonezhsky pogosts (Kizhi, Tolvuisky, Chelmuzhsky, Shungsky) with occasional reference to the materials of other Karelian areas, used for comparative purposes. Another informative source of the historical toponymy of Karelia are the comparative tables of settlement names compiled by Mikhail Vitov and other researchers for the purpose of historical, geographical, and ethnographic description of the region. Together, these data feeds serve to explicate the structural changes in the toponymic system of the region, its historical variation and standartisation. The author uses cross-sectional approach to show the evolution in the number of name components and the factors of possessive formants choice. It is noted that the scribes played a major role in the way geographical objects were documented, by creating apellations that hardly reflected the real toponymy of the area. As the analysis showed, one of the components of a name (most likely, the possessive element) tended to gain more weight over time due to the change in the residents’ vision of the named place. Quantitatively, the share of names motivated by landscape features is considerably less than those referring to the name of the owner or the first settler. However, in terms of word-formation, the choice of possessive elements (-ov/-ev, -in, -sk-, -shchina) has been unstable for quite a while. The structural “stability” of this type of toponyms begins at the end of the 17th — early 18th centuries, although the spread of some toponymic patterns of this kind was geographically restricted.

Keywords: Karelia, written documents, historical toponymy, oikonymy, deanthroponymic names, possessives, possessive formants.

The study is part of the state assignment carried out by the Karelian Research Centre of the RAS.


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