2014 №1 (16)

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Olga L. Karlova
Petrozavodsk State University
Petrozavodsk, Russia

Collective Nicknames of Karelian Villagers

Voprosy onomastiki (Problems of Onomastics), 2014, Issue 1 (16), pp. 75–83 (in Russian)

Received 4 October 2013

Abstract: With reference to Karelian villages’ proper names inventory, the article deals with collective (local group) nicknames which constitute a particular class of proper names having, as opposed to stylistically neutral names derived from toponyms, an explicit evaluative semantic component. The author focuses her attention to the most stable types of Karelian collective nicknames reflecting typical activities and crafts of local population, linguistic features of rural inhabitants, their food preferences, character traits, behavioral habits, and ethnic status. As it is shown in the paper, in some cases Karelian collective nicknames lack transparent motivations which makes them semantically ambiguous, their correct interpretation requiring the use of a wide range of different sources: lexicographic data, information on collective nicknames in kindred and neighboring peoples, informants’ accounts and commentaries as well as folklore texts providing confirmation of motivations of some names. The author points out that the number of collective nicknames varies considerably in different zones of Karelia which is due to local linguistic habits and, up to a point, to gaps in the collection of collective nicknames. The analysis enables to conclude that the inhabitants of a settlement can have several parallel nicknames, the local group nickname often attached to the name derived from the corresponding toponym, and the expressive characteristic relevant to the nickname being most commonly negative.

Key words: Karelian language, Karelia, personal names, collective nickname, local group nickname, katoikonym, inhabitant names derived from place names, pattern of naming


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