2019, Volume 16, Issue 3

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Tatiana N. Dmitrieva
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Gábor J. Székely and his Contribution to the Study of Language and Toponymy of the Mansi and Other North-Ural Peoples

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp. 224–241 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.3.042

Received 4 June 2019

Abstract: The article is dedicated to the memory of Gábor Székely (1954–2019), Hungarian linguist, specialist in Finno-Ugric studies and associate professor of the University of Pécs. The author gives an outline of his biography and illustrates his contribution to the study of Finno-Ugric languages. Székely’s research focused on historical linguistics, uralistics, Finno-Ugric studies, including the language and toponymy of Mansi. In 2005–2014 Székely conducted five linguistic expeditions to the Northern Urals, to the Ivdel Mansi. It was the first time since the 19th century and the great trip made by Antal Reguly (whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in July 2019) that a Hungarian linguist visited the closest “language relatives” to Hungarians. The impact of the results obtained by Székely’s expeditions was enhanced thanks to the use of modern digital technologies for recording the Mansi language, which is in danger of extinction. His main contribution to historical toponomastics is related to the study and reading of the “Ethnographic and geographical map of the Northern Urals” manuscript compiled by A. Reguly in 1846, including the draft fragments of this map that have independent value. Székely was the first to read and identify 1,677 place names on the Reguly’s map, as well as to analyze their linguistic and territorial attribution. Székely’s interpretations of the Reguly’s maps led to the discovery of the earliest Mansi toponyms currently known, their variants and parallel names, same as they helped to retrieve information about toponyms that have not survived to our time. They confirm the authenticity and contribute to clarifying the existing etymologies of Mansi toponyms, explain obscure names or find new versions of their origin. The etymology of the Mansi toponyms Mān’- Jomki and Jany- Jomki, possibly having Nenets sources, is considered as an example.

Keywords: Gábor Székely, Finno-Ugric studies, Mansi language, Antal Reguly’s maps, toponymy, maps reading, etymology.


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