2021, Volume 18, Issue 3

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Elena E. Ivanova
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

On the 60th Anniversary of the Ural University Toponymic Expedition: A Return to the Urals

Voprosy onomastiki, 2021, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp. 287–297 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2021.18.3.043

Received on 10 September 2021

Abstract: The article is dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Ural University (now the Ural Federal University) Toponymic Expedition and its new research project studying the toponymy, vocabulary, and ethnocultural information related to the extraction and processing of gems and ornamental stones in the Urals. Within the recent fieldwork of 2020–2021, the expedition visited many settlements of the so-called Gem strip of the Urals — the  territory that holds lots of historical, linguistical, and ethnographic discoveries. It is found that back in the 18th–19th centuries, prospecting activities (search and extraction of gems, their processing, collection, and trade) were totally shaping the local lifestyle, folk culture, and linguistic consciousness of its residents. The present paper describes the toponymic system of the region, focusing on the types of topographic objects (deposits, veins, mines, quarries) and their naming features. It is shown that local toponymy cannot be interpreted without considering its connection to dialect vocabulary, ethnography, and knowledge of the cultural and historical traditions of semi-precious craft. The collected material falls into several lexical groups: dialectal, professional, and local slang. Given the present decline of the craft itself that leads to the destruction of unique toponymic systems, the author calls to the urgency of preserving this study material. The article shares some innovative methods of fieldwork used by the expedition with account to the peculiarities of the studied objects as well as those driven by the development of IT. It also unlocks new locations for materials collection, such as mineralogical museums, exhibition-fairs of minerals and comments on the specificity of using data from the geological and mineralogical forums on the Internet. The conclusion provides the list of publications for 2020–2021 by the Department of Russian Language, General Linguistics and Speech Communication based on the collected fieldwork data.

Keywords: Russian language; toponymy; dialectology; ethnolinguistics; field research; method of field research; Urals; Gem strip of the Urals.


The research is part of the project Regional Identity of Russia: Comparative Historical and Philological Studies funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia (project FEUZ-2020-0056).


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Rut, M. E. (2011). Toponimicheskoi ekspeditsii Ural'skogo universiteta 50 let [On the 50th Anniversary of the Ural University Toponymic Expedition]. Voprosy onomastiki, 2(11), 61–69.