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Place Names as Identity Markers

Place Names as Identity Markers

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Title: Place Names as Identity Markers
Author: Helleland, Botolv
Abstract: Place-names are first and foremost labels attached to one’s surroundings, as useful today as in prehistoric
times. Since place-names have been coined as descriptions of the features in question, or of circumstances
that influenced the naming process, they are vital for the knowledge of our past. They also make out a part
of one’s identity both as linguistic expressions and as identifiers of the landscape. As such they convey
particular values to those who are familiar with the names. The multiple quality of place-names also
strengthens their role as part of the intangible cultural heritage. After having dealt with some aspects
relating to terminology, function and meaning of names, especially place-names, the author discusses the
role of place-names as identity markers both from an individual and social point of view. By means of
some named landscape features from his childhood he argues that the names trigger the mental relationship
between the name users and the named places. One main challenge will be to collect reliable data which
may be done by use of questionnaires and sound recordings. Also systematic literature studies will no doubt
contribute to a better understanding of the role of names as identity markers.
Subject: Names and the Naming Process
Place Names as Identity Markers
Type: Article
Rights: The following articles are © 2009 with the individual authors. They are made available free of charge from this page as a service to the community under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivative Works license version 3.0. For full details go to http://creativecommons.org.licenses/ny-nd.3.0
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/3986
Published: York University
Citation: Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences
ISBN: 978-1-55014-521-2
Date: 2009

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