2020, Volume 17, Issue 2

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Elena E. Ivanova
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Names and Naming Patterns of the Gemstone Mines of the Urals

Voprosy onomastiki, 2020, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp. 107–134 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2020.17.2.020

Received on 11 March 2020

Abstract: The so-called Semiprecious strip of the Urals has developed a unique toponymic system (names of quarries, mines, veins) which reflects the entire history of the discovery and development of deposits. Until now, a comprehensive study of toponymy associated with the extraction of gems has not been conducted. This paper is a first attempt to classify the names of the Ural gemstone mines using new data collected in conversations with informants, extracted from maps, works on geology and local history, archival sources, and geological forums. The author introduces a new term, fodinonym (from Latin fodere ‘dig, excavate’), to describe the names of mining workings (mines, quarries, veins). The article deals with the geographical terms included in fodinonyms (kop, gora, yama, rov) and clarifies their meanings. Based on the motivational approach, key naming patterns of the gemstone mines of the Urals are identified, including those solely applicable for this category of place names. The unique nature of the identified naming patterns is primarily linked to the features of the named objects such as the occurrence of stone in the subsoil, the form or size of crystals, the specific geological structure of the veins, or the way the deposit was discovered. Other original patterns are explained by the specific mentality of miners, their reliance on luck (the motive of a random finding, an indication of the capacity of the mine). Thus, the paper considers the toponymic system in view of the anthropocentric approach, according to which the unity, organization, and coherence of place names are primarily due to the common psychology of the language community of this territory, its system of priorities and values.

Keywords: toponymy, names of gemstone mines, motives of naming, naming patterns, history of the Urals, Semiprecious strip of the Urals.


The research is part of the project “Regional Identity of Russia: Comparative Historical and Philological Research” funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia (project number FEUZ-2020-0056). The author thanks Ildar I. Artemyev, Dmitry V. Voroshchuk, and Aleksey K. Kutovoy for their valuable advice in preparing the article.


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