2015 №1 (18)

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Kamill P. Volsky
Independent researcher
Severoonezhsk, Arkhangelsk obl., Russia

Dvina is a Russian Name

Voprosy onomastiki (Problems of Onomastics), 2015, Issue 1 (18), pp. 197–202 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2015.1.011

Received 23 February 2014

Abstract: The note gives a brief review of the most known versions of the origin of the name Dvina and provides some arguments in favour of its Russian origin. The author offers two versions of the Russian origin of Dvina. The first one brings the name into correlation with the dialectal word dvina attested in Smolensk Region with the meaning ‘a lot, a great amount of something’. The second one, which the author considers more plausible, suggests an etymological link between the river name Dvina and the Russian numeral dva ‘two’. This second version is supported, firstly, by the physical geographic characteristics of the Northern Dvina River formed by the confluence of two other big rivers — the Sukhona and the Yug. Secondly, in the dialects of the Russian North there exists a common noun dvina designating different “double” objects: ‘twins’, ‘uterine brother’, ‘double distilled wine’. The appellative word dvina corresponds to the structural and word-formational rules of the Russian language and is present in the microtoponymy of the Russian North. The author does not rule out that the name of the Western Dvina may have originated from the old Russian word dvina since it may be a secondary name derived from Dvina, the name of the lake at the head of the Western Dvina River.

Key words: Russian language, hydronymy, Northern Dvina, Western Dvina, etymology


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