Wednesday, October 03, 2007


The branch of semantics that studies the etymology of proper names.

the branch of lexicology that studies the origins and history of proper names

AskOxford: Place Names:

"In fact all these names have original meanings that are not at all apparent from their modern forms. That is because most place-names today are what could be termed ‘linguistic fossils’. Although they originated as living units of speech, coined by our distant ancestors as descriptions of places in terms and their topography, appearance, situation, use, ownership, or other association, most have become, in the course of time, mere labels, no longer possessing a clear linguistic meaning. This is perhaps not surprising when one considers that most place-names are a thousand years old or more, and are expressed in vocabulary that might have evolved differently from the equivalent words in the ordinary language, or that may now be completely extinct or obscure."

AskOxford: History of Surnames: "The acquisition of surnames in Europe during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in neighbouring cultures, and indigenous cultural tradition."

American Name Society: "The American Name Society was founded in 1951 to promote onomastics, the study of names and naming practices, both in the United States and abroad. It is a non-profit organization that seeks to find out what really is in a name, and to investigate cultural insights, settlement history, and linguistic characteristics revealed in names."

Gymnastics with Onomastics

Here are some useful terms to describe the study of names:
onomastics - the study of names (in general)
anthroponomastics - the study of personal names
toponomastics - the study of place names.

Structure of names
There are many different ways a culture can structure a name, and the people who speak your language may use any of the following, or a different way besides > > > :CLICK HERE


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