2017, Volume 14, Issue 3

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Natalia V. Vasilyeva
Institute of Linguistics of the RAS
Moscow, Russia

Cognitive Onomastics: A Look from Europe.
Review of the book: Brendler, S. (Ed.). (2016). Cognitive Onomastics: A Reader. Hamburg: Baar.

Voprosy onomastiki, 2017, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp. 210–221 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2017.14.3.031

Received 7 July 2017

Abstract: The review provides a critical survey of the book which is the first anthology on cognitive onomastics. The book comprises articles by ten onomasticians from Austria, Hungary, Germany, Poland, and Finland for the period 2004–2014, selected by the editor Silvio Brendler as those most clearly expressing ideas and the diversity of the given research field. The book also includes the work Of Names (1655) by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, as the forerunner of the cognitive approach to language and to proper names. The articles are grouped into sections: Onomastics and Cognitive Science (1 article); Nature of Names (3 articles); Grammatical Description of Names (1 article); Meaning of Names (3 articles); Names in Literature (2 articles). Each article is analyzed in detail by the reviewer. The productivity of cognitive linguistics’ tools for onomastic research (such as Construction Grammar, the theory of prototypes, conceptual metaphor, axiological profiling, etc.) is noted. A particular attention is drawn to the fact that onomastics not only borrows ideas and tools from «wider» cognitive linguistics, but also generates its own cognitive theories, such as Ernst Hansack’s theory of name and Silvio Brendler’s nomematics. In conclusion, the reviewer emphasizes the didactic and awarenessraising value of this anthology, as well as the relevance of the genre for this new and largely controversial research area: it provides the interested readers with an opportunity to make their own judgment in regards to cognitive onomastics, drawing information from primary sources. In general, getting acquainted with this book is very useful as it raises the concern of what cognitive onomastics is in our country and whether a similar book based on domestic material would help answer this question.

Keywords: cognitive onomastics, anthology, cognitive semantics, reference, prototypicality, name axiology, nomematics, conceptualization, conceptual metaphor


Brendler, A., & Brendler, S. (Eds.). (2005). Namenforschung morgen: Ideen, Perspektiven, Visionen [Tomorrow’s Onomastics: Ideas, Perspectives, Visions for the Future]. Hamburg: Baar.

Brendler, S. (2008). Nomematik: Identitätstheoretische Grundlagen der Namenforschung (insbesondere der Namengeschichte, Namenlexikographie, Namengeographie, Namenstatistik und Namenstheorie) [Nomematics: An Identity-theoretical Framework for Onomastics (with Special Reference to the History of Names, Proper Name Lexicography, Geography of Names, Name Statistics and the Name Theory)]. Hamburg: Baar.

Croft, W. (2001). Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hansack, E. (2000). Der Name im Sprachsystem: Grundprobleme der Sprachtheorie [Name in Language System: Fundamental Problems of Language Theory]. Regensburg: Roderer.

Hobbes, T. (1989). Sochineniia [Collected Works] (Vols. 1–2). Moscow: Mysl’.

Hobbes, T. (2002). Of Names. Hamburg: Baar.

Rakhilina, E. V. (Ed.). (2010). Lingvistika konstruktsii [Constructions Linguistics]. Moscow: Azbukovnik.

Tulving, E. (1972). Episodic and Semantic Memory. In E. Tulving, & W. Donaldson (Eds.), Organization of Memory (pp. 381–402). New York: Academic Press.

Van Langendonck, W. (2007). Theory and Typology of Proper Names. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Vasilyeva, N. V. (2005). [Review of the book Namenarten und ihre Erforschung. Ein Lehrbuch für das Studium der Onomastik. Anlässlich des 70. Geburtstages von Karlheinz Hengst ed. by A. Brendler and S. Brendler]. Voprosy onomastiki, 2, 183–186.