XI Международная студенческая научная конференция Студенческий научный форум - 2019


Шарипбаева Асель Маратовна 1, Жасарова Динара Галиаскаровна 1
1Евразийский национальный университет имени Гумилева
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The actuality of research. The toponymic vocabulary of any language is an internally organized and orderly system. The study of this subsystem of language has great importance both for onomastics and for linguistics as a whole. Anthropocentric direction in the study of toponymic vocabulary is perspective, focusing on the study of the units of the toponymic system in close relationship with the mental and spiritual and practical activities of man, as it allows us to explore this system as a product of human cognitive activity. Thus, the cognitive-pragmatic foreshortening of the consideration of the toponymic system of language, taking into account its reflection in the ethno-cultural consciousness, taking into account the laws of the linguistic nomination and human thinking in the sphere of the use of toponymic vocabulary, seems most promising and relevant.

The comprehensive approach to the study of the national toponymy presented in this research study makes it possible to trace the patterns of the formation and functioning of the toponymy of the English language in its most marked territorial variants, and also to establish the connection of toponymic nominations with other layers of vocabulary.

The aim of the research is to conduct a complex multidimensional study of the American and British toponyms for establishing structural, semantic, motivational and cognitive-pragmatic features.

To achieve this aim, the following objectives were set:
1) to make a review of the literature on the research topic (ways of word formation, toponymy);
2) to conduct an etymological and derivational study of the toponyms of the North American continent;
3) to make a classification based on place names origins;

4) to make a morphological classification of place names.
Research methods: descriptive method, statistical analysis method, etymological method, derivational method, classification method, method of component analysis.


Toponyms are linguistic signs of the natural language, indicating certain fragments of the topographical space. These linguistic signs form a system that is artificially contractual in character and called a toponymic system (toponymy). Toponyms are a kind of repositories of the political, social and cultural views of society, in which "certain language trends, peculiarities of word formation and word changes" are displayed [1,84].

According to the dictionary-reference of linguistic terms, the word toponymy is formed from two Greek words (topos "place, locality" and onoma "name", i.e. "referring to the name"). Toponymy is defined as:

1) a division of onomastics, exploring geographical names (toponyms), their functioning, meaning and origin, structure, distribution area, development and change in time [2];

2) a set of geographical names of a certain territory (toponymy) [3,491].

In the geographical encyclopedic dictionary, the following definition of toponymy is given: "The branch of knowledge, comprehensively studying geographical names, their origin, semantic meaning, changing spelling, pronuncia-tion, etc." [4, 39]. Toponymy deals with the origin and evolution of geographical names, explores their origin, determines the area of ​​distribution of toponyms, studies functions, meaning, structure of toponyms, develops rules for spelling and orthoepy (correct pronunciation).

Toponymic system in the modern linguistic paradigm

A.S. Shcherbak on the material of urban-lexical vocabulary highlights the following principles, which allow us to speak about the systemic toponymy:

1) transformation (in the toponymic space can be represented any segment of the picture of the world, which received actualization in the status of the toponym);

2) animation (a lexical unit can receive the status of a toponym without losing the common generative basis of the name of the common name or the name of its own);

3) projection (common everyday vocabulary related to different spheres of human activity, to different thematic, lexical-semantic groups and types of proper names, mainly anthroponyms and toponyms);

4) actualization (as a basis for the formation of toponymic units, any lexico-semantic groups of words or any names that will act as motivating units for new names that can be used);

5) delay (in onomastics, such a linguistic picture of the world is reflected, which is more archaic in comparison with the real linguistic picture of the world, as toponymy preserves linguistic archaisms);

6) correlation (in toponymic vocabulary there is a correlation of the nomination with the area of ​​the producing base that generated it);

7) objectivity;

8) integrity;

9) structured;

10) hierarchy;

11) openness;

12) encoding (the presence of repeated toponymic nominations) [5,115].

Toponyms constitute a significant part of the onomastic lexical language fund. According to researchers, the toponymic layer is 2-3% of the common vocabulary [6,56]. Nameless physical and geographical objects become less and less as mankind learns the geographical objects of the surface of our planet and expands its geographical horizons. The geographical name is part of the lexical system of the language of a particular people, which is formed according to the basic laws of the language and functions in speech in accordance with its basic rules and traditions [7,55]. Any geographical object has both a geographical term, which calls the type of object, and toponymization, hence the so-called topographic object is "named twice, so the semantics of the toponym is additionally enriched" [8,175]. Toponyms are characterized by the secondary nature of the language elements that participate in their creation, as well as the long duration of many of them [9,19]. The lost information can be restored during the etymological study; For example, the names of English settlements that start with the caer element "city" represent only a small part of that oikonymy that came to us from the Britons: Caerleon, Caernarfon, Caerphilly, Caerwent, Caerlaverock, Caerlanrig. After the arrival of the Romans in Albion in the I century AD many geographical names with the caer element have been changed, for example, Caergrawnt → Cambridge, Caergaint → Canterbury, Caerliwelydd → Carlisle, Caerfuddai → Chichester, Caerloyw → Gloucester, Caerwysg → Exeter, Caerhirfryn → Lancaster, Caerlŷr → Leicester, Caerlwytgoed → Lichfield, Caersallog → Salisbury , Caerwynt → Winchester, Caerwrangon → Worcester.

Any proper name is an onomastic sign reflecting a complex of knowledge about the proper name (linguistic and encyclopedic knowledge) and serving to organize onomastic knowledge in the human consciousness [10,10].

According to the classification of toponyms according to their origin and the assignment of a topo basis to a certain lexical-semantic or thematic group of vocabulary are distinguished into anthropotoponyms, topotoponyms, ethnotopo-nyms, zootoponyms, phytotoponyms, ergotonyms and etc. Anthropotoponyms are geographical names derived from anthroponyms (Columbus, Baltimore, Washing-ton, Fort Johnson, Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Cape Kennedy); Topotonyms (topony-mic metonymy) - geographical names derived from geographical terms or from existing toponyms (Mississippi River → Mississippi State, Missouri River → Missouri State); Ethnotoponyms are toponyms derived from the names of tribes, peoples and other ethnic units (Kansas, Massachusetts, Dakota, Utah, Essex, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hitchin, Oundle, Threekingham, Normanton, Irby); Zootoponyms - names given to geographical objects by species (Bearpaw Creek, Beaver, Buffalo, Squirrel, Butterfly, Eagle, Fox, Lizard); Phytotoponyms - toponyms reflecting the flora (Big Oak Mountain, Birch Creek, Willowwood Park, Alder Lake); Ergotonyms - geographical names reflecting the social status and professional activity of a person (Artist Point, Butcherknife Canyon, Driver, Hunter Creek, Lawyers Hill, Patroon Creek, Weaver) and etc.

By etymology, toponyms are divided into aboriginal, borrowed and hybrid. Borrowed names are subject to change and reinterpretation over time, adapting to the phonetic and grammatical features of the borrowing language. So, the toponyms of the United States unite the names of Anglo-Saxon, Indian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Finnish, Greek, East Slavic, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Japanese, Czech, Arab and Armenian origin.

According to the principle of distinguishing the number of designata (items denoted by a geographical name) one can distinguish single-pattern, multi-degenerate and empty toponyms. One-biased or ideal toponyms in the highest degree perform the function of individualization, i.e. these are such toponyms that refer only to one geographical object (the city of Dinosaur, located in the state of Colorado, the city of Viper, Kentucky). The multi-geographical toponyms have a large number of referents (Kentucky - the name of the settlements in the states of Mississippi, Illinois, Arkansas, the settlements with the name Arizona are found on the maps of the states of Texas, Nevada, Louisiana, the city of Petersburg meets 35 times, Moscow - 24 times). Empty toponyms do not have any real-world geographical objects, for example, names of never-existing fictitious geographical objects (on the high-road to Needham, in Queer Street). Based on the same principle D.I. Ermolovich subdivides toponyms into single and multiple [11,107]. Single toponyms are those that are associated with one toponymic object in the linguistic collective consciousness (London, New York, Washington, Paris), although they can belong to many other, as a rule, smaller geographic objects (in the United States there are 7 settlements with The name New York, 19 - London, 23 - Paris, 35 - Washington).Multiple toponyms do not communicate in linguistic consciousness with any one geographic object. This includes the rest of the mass of place names. An example is the toponomination of Big Lake, whose designata are lakes, reservoirs, marshes and settlements that occur in the United States according to the GNIS Information System of Geographical Names 183 times or the Little Creek toponym, referring to 506 different designatums.

Word-forming and motivational features of American toponyms

According to approximate estimates, at present there are about 3 million functioning names in the United States and about 1 million names that have disappeared. The database of this study contains about 3,000 US toponyms, which, being only a small part of the entire toponymic system of the United States, give a clear picture of their etymology, structure and internal form. American toponyms are heterogeneous in their composition (age, source language, morphology, semantics). Compared with the toponymy of Great Britain, the toponymy of the United States of America is very young: it began to take shape less than four hundred years ago, and many features characteristic of American toponyms began to form in the last quarter of the 18th century. The historical conditions for the development of the United States determined the originality of the toponymy of the country, thus, in the toponymy of the United States, in accordance with their etymology, it is possible to distinguish aboriginal, borrowed and hybrid toponyms.

Aboriginal toponyms (toponyms of Anglo-Saxon origin) constitute the main part of the toponymy of the USA (1621 units, 51.6%). They are most often fully motivated and their meaning is easily revealed: Yellowstone "yellow stone", Long Beach "long beach", White River "white river", Old Town "old town", Hot Springs "hot springs", Mountain Home "mountain house", Garden City "Garden City", Little Rock "Little Rock", Salt Lake City "Salt Lake City", Red River "Red River", Blue River "Blue River", Long Island in New York "Long Island" etc. Among the toponyms of English origin there is a significant number of symbolic toponyms that have a positive evaluation: Liberty "freedom", Hope "hope", Harmony "harmony", Pioneer "founder, first settler", Prosperity "prosperity, well-being", Paradise "paradise", Freedom "freedom", Independence "independence", Desire Area "desire"and etc.

In the US toponymy there is a large number of "toponyms-migrants", that is, twins of already existing geographical names of other countries, mainly from Great Britain. The list of toponyms from the UK, presented in Appendix 1, includes 249 units, which is 2%, and in the north-east of the country (the territory of New England), there are about 20% of such geographical nominations. The population, migrating to a new place of residence, thanks to patriotic attachment and the desire to preserve the memory of the Motherland, transfers native toponyms to a new territory. The defining particles can be added to the toponyms: Great- (Great Barrington), West- (West Tisbury), East- (East Greenwich) and the most common adjective New- (New Cumberland, New England, New Chester, New London, New Boston, New Hyde Park, New Brighton, New Gloucester, New Hampshire, New Cumberland, New Manchester, New Windsor, New Lyme, New Kent, New Kensington, New Oxford, New Plymouth, New Windsor).

The degree of borrowing of foreign names and their influence on the creation of new (American) place names in different geographical regions of the country are different. This difference is determined by many linguistic and extralinguistic factors [12,61]. Among the borrowed toponyms, taking into account the language source, we can distinguish the following groups of toponyms: Nomadic, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Finnish, Greek, East Slavic, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Japanese, Czech, Arabic and Armenian.

Toponyms of Indian origin (indigenous toponyms of pre-European origin, the so-called "aboriginal toponyms") have been preserved almost throughout the United States. Most indigenous names are found in areas inhabited long ago and settled, where Europeans in close contact lived with the indigenous population and adopted their geographical names. V.A. Nikonov on the one hand points to a certain exotics of such toponyms, on the other hand, notes their neutrality with respect to borrowed nominations, which was one of the reasons for preserving Indian names to this day. V.A. Nikonov writes: "To prefer the French, English or German state name means to give the advantage of one of the rival groups to the detriment of others who would not be reconciled with this. In such an acute competition, Indian toponymization turned out to be the only neutral one"[13,158]. Moreover, after the Indians ceased to pose a serious threat, fear replaced them with admiration for these "noble savages", and Indian names were perceived as the most suitable.


Toponymic vocabulary is a unique cognitive-pragmatic means of cognition, accumulation, reflection, storage, transmission and evaluation of the phenomena of the surrounding world. Toponyms are linguistic signs of the natural language, indicating certain fragments of the topographical space. The toponymic layer of vocabulary is characterized by many processes and phenomena inherent in common names such as semantic variation (polysemy, synonymy, antonymy, hyperonimia, paronymy), word formation, motivation (morphological and seman-tic types), internal form (the image underlying) Motivated nominations, figurative meaning (metaphor and metonymy), a pragmatic aspect (manifestation of emotionality and appraisal).

The toponym has both a linguistic and a speech meaning. The value is represented mainly by the denotative component, which indicates the correlation of the toponym with the designated object; the significative component, which is associated with the ability to denote the denotation of an entire class of objects, also occurs in certain language contexts. In addition, as in common vocabulary, the connotative (pragmatic) component is distinguished in the structure of the meaning of toponymic vocabulary, as an emotionally expressive and evaluative reflection of objects of the external world. Important is also the linguodidactical trend of toponymic research, since the study of language should occur in close connection with the knowledge of culture, history, traditions of the people speaking this language. Toponymic nominations as a subject of study in English classes are one of the most striking vocabulary layers that accumulates cultural knowledge about the world.


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