2019, Volume 16, Issue 3

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Larisa V. Voronina
Yuliya N. Melnikova
Tatyana N. Skokova

Belgorod National Research University
Belgorod, Russia

Word-Formation Patterns in German Toponymy: A Dynamic Perspective

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp. 78–90 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.3.032

Received 9 May 2018

Abstract: The article continues a series of publications exploring word-formation patterns in German toponymy. This paper aims to study the dynamic aspect of structural and semantic modeling of German place names. Due to the fact that toponyms are secondary (derived) names, they are etymologically connected, both in formal and semantic aspects, with full-valued lexical units as sources of their motivation. The motivated nature of place names explains their specific status as lexical units: the word-formation process is fixed in them, and as long as the word preserves the traces of this process in any convolute or derivative form, it retains its status of derivative word. In this paper, the authors focus on specific “borderline” cases of wordformation patterns in German toponymy at the intersection of composition and derivation processes. The interpretation of the relevant toponymic units is complicated, both historically and synchronically, since in the course of their formation they are truncated or contracted (and sometimes combine both processes, timed, however, to different synchronic sections of the German language history). The analysis shows that abbreviated place names and imperative names are relatively young formations, while contractures and shifted word groups, as a rule, appear in the Old High German and Middle High German periods. Phonetic changes that occur in the course of toponymsʼ historical development tend to modify their morphemic composition of the word which leads to a change in the type of the word-formation pattern. Consequently, many toponyms can evolve over time from a motivated form in direction to an unmotivated one.

Keywords: German language, toponymy, word-building pattern, contraction, syncopation, compound clipping toponyms, toponym shifts, motivated and unmotivated names.


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