2020, Volume 17, Issue 1

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Yuri S. Kostylev
Ural State Medical University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Wrangel Island Toponymy Motivated by Zoology Vocabulary

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp. 84–94 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.1.004

Received 20 November 2019

Abstract: The paper deals with the names of geographical objects of Wrangel Island motivated by zoology vocabulary. These lexical units may refer to various species and groups of animals, characteristic features of their appearance and behavior, or include notions and terms of material culture related to hunting, animal breeding, and nature conservation. The study builds on specialized toponymic guides, memoirs and essays, cartographic materials, as well as materials of an interview with the deputy director for environmental protection of the Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve, G. Fedorov. An analysis of the selected material allows us to trace several phases of the island’s development over the rather short (about 150 years) history of its exploration, captured in toponymy as a major element of spiritual culture. Interestingly enough, a relatively large number (19%) of toponyms are motivated by zoology vocabulary, which is explained by the importance of the animal world for Wrangel Island. Moreover, the choice of specific vocabulary from this sphere is associated with the nature of human activity on the island. The island history falls into three periods, each having specific source vocabulary for place naming: 1) discovery and initial inspection of the territory; 2) hunting and fishing development; 3) reserve foundation and environmental activities. The distributional prevalence of motivating tokens speaks not only of the time the name was created or of the nominator’s occupation but also points to the objective features of the island’s animal world and the diversity of its fauna. The analysis of the presented data leads to conclude that toponymy serves both as an illustration and as a direct source of unique historical information related to specific parts of the studied area.

Keywords: toponymy, toponymic systems, motivational model, Wrangel Island, Northern Sea Route, Russian Arctic, zoological metaphor.


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