2019, Volume 16, Issue 2

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Karlheinz Hengst
University of Leipzig
Leipzig, Germany

Studies in Slavic Onomastics in Germany: An Overview

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp. 269–280 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.2.026

Received 29 October 2017

Abstract: The article provides an overview of the studies focused on Slavic proper names (specifically, anthroponyms and names of settlements) attested in Germany, in the area between the Baltic Sea and Northern Bavaria. This research tradition has a rather long history that can be broken down in three stages: from the beginning of the 20th century to the 1940s (represented mainly by the works of émigré scholars from Slavic countries, of which Aleksander Brückner, Max Vasmer, Reinhold Trautmann are the most famous), from the 1950s to the 1980s (the stage characterized by the upspring of research centers for the study of Slavic onomastics throughout Germany), and from the turn of the 20th–21st century until present days. The peak of productivity was reached during the second period, as after World War II the German Slavic scholars achieved a qualitative leap in the historical linguistic studies, as well as the substantial quantitative increase. The renowned centres for Slavic onomastic studies have established in Berlin, Leipzig, and Kiel, added by Regensburg in the beginning of the 21st century. In universities, the scholars interested in Slavic languages teamed up and worked in close collaboration with specialists in German linguistics and history. Several series of monographs, dictionaries, a large number of articles in linguistic journals in Germany and Europe have been published. The present paper makes particular note of a brief overview of the monograph by Walter Wenzel (Atlas niedersorbischer Zunamen. Nach Quellen des 14. bis 18. Jahrhunderts. Bautzen, 2015), devoted to the interpretation of Old Sorbian anthroponyms and place names (names of settlements and water bodies), as well as the names of ancient Slavic tribes. A significant part of the publication is a bibliography, which provides information on the results of studies of Slavic names in Germany. The list includes the most important works in this field of research and falls into the following sections: Slavic AnthroponymicsOld Polabian ToponymyOld Sorbian ToponymyBavarian-Slavic Toponymy, and Slavic Toponymy in Germany: General Works.

Keywords: Old Slavic dialects, Old Sorbian language, Old Polabian language, Slavic anthroponyms and toponyms in Germany, etymology of Slavic proper names in Germany.