2019, Volume 16, Issue 3

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Guriy V. Sudakov
Vologda State University
Vologda, Russia

Settlement Names: Problems of Conventional Usage (with Reference to Oikonyms of the Vologda Region)

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp. 193–204 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.3.039

Received 24 January 2018

Abstract: The article discusses the modern usage of settlement names in Russia and the problem of standartization regarding their spoken and written forms. A particular focus is made on the names of rural settlements which make up the majority of oikonyms in the Russian language. It is noted that a sharp reduction in the number of villages and the related land consolidation leads both to the disappearance of old names and to the emergence of duplicate names within the same administrative unit. The study provides a historical perspective on the oikonyms considering the correlation between settlement names and archaic geographical terms that denote different types of settlements. The typical cases of modern spelling that deviate from the spelling norm are described accordingly. The article observes the ways of spelling standartization under the Federal Law of 18 December 1997 No. 152 “On the Names of Geographical Objects” and instructions of the Government Commission on the Russian Language concerning the use of the letter ё. The author stresses the importance of establishing pronunciation norms, since place names are more frequently used in oral speech than in writing. The article lists several cases of the names’ mispronunciation in the speech of the non-local population, including radio and television presenters. It is indicated that toponymic studies can have a large impact on orthoepic normalization, with researchers recording stress and pronunciation features, and creating pronunciation and spelling guidelines for the names of localities. Another (ad hoc) solution lies in adding stress markers or other pronunciation features to the official place name lists, such as the State Catalog of Geographical Names and the All-Russian Classifier of Objects of Administrative-Territorial Division (OKATO) or the official websites of local authorities.

Keywords: Russian language, vocabulary, settlement names, linguistic geography, Russian North, types of settlements, spelling norms, orthoepic norms, stress.


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