2020, Volume 17, Issue 2

Back to the Table of Contents

Polina A. Rozhkova
Maria E. Ruth

Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Commercial Ergonymy in Pre-Revolutionary and Present-Day Russia: A Shift of Patterns

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp. 303–311 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.2.029

Received on 12 March 2020

Abstract: The paper presents a comparative study of modern and pre-revolutionary ergonyms of Ekaterinburg, analysing two data snapshots (taken on the turn of the 19th–20th centuries and these days), based on advertising texts in regional media. The study of modern ergonyms also uses the Yellow Pages business reference book of local companies. The descriptive pattern of ergonyms formation is found most preferred in pre-revolutionary Ekaterinburg, viz. more than a hundred years ago, which allows the authors to trace its development through the century. It shows how cultural codes and ergonyms’ functions are changing, expanding, and gaining research significance. For instance, the style of using the owner’s name in the name of a company or store, which dominated pre-revolutionary ergonymy, is almost completely outmoded after a hundred years. By contrast, the most recent trends in ergonymy display the prevalence of associative naming. Cumulatively, such examples reveal the picture of the changing pragmatic attitudes of the name-givers, as well as the impact of extralinguistic factors on advertising. The same transition from direct descriptive to abstract associative naming appears to shape the urban ergonymic context. It is evident that the former practice of using owner-related names (“description of the sphere of trade + official company name + the name of the merchant or seller”) and names referring to places of production, jointly taking up to 95% of ergonyms in pre-revolutionary Russia, is gradually displaced. And thus, another significant point of the study consists in discovering the pragmatic implications behind ergonym creation of the late 19th — 20th century and in the modern period.

Keywords: naming, naming pattern, pragmatics, onomastics, commercial name, ergonym, anthroponym.


The study was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Foundation of Basic Research in the framework of the research project 18-012-00586 “Urbanonyms as Part of the Linguistic Landscape of the City: Traditions and Perspectives for Rational Development”.


Goryaev, S. O. (2000). Nominativnye intentsii sub’’ekta onomasticheskoi nominatsii (na materiale russkikh pragmonimov) [Intentions of the Subject of Onomastic Naming (Based on the Study of Russian Pragmonyms)] (unpublished doctoral dissertation). Ural State University, Ekaterinburg.

Vepreva, I. T. (2019). Sovremennyi ergonimikon: v poiske novykh form vyrazheniia [Modern Russian Ergonymy: In Search for New Forms]. Voprosy onomastiki, 16(4), 168–179. https://doi.org/10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.4.051