2023, Volume 20, Issue 1

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Olga V. Peteshova
Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University
Kaliningrad, Russia

Renaming of Natural Features in the Kaliningrad Region

Voprosy onomastiki, 2023, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp. 167–182 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2023.20.1.010

Received on 17 October 2021
Accepted on 11 November 2022

Abstract: The paper describes a large-scale renaming of water bodies, forests, natural boundaries, and landforms on the territory of the former North-East Prussia after becoming a part of the USSR. The source of the linguistic material, totalling 1,214 East Prussian — Soviet toponym pairs, was a list of renames made by the decision of Kaliningrad Oblast Executive Committee, refined on the basis of cartographic data. Comparative semantic analysis of original and new toponyms proves that the form or the meaning of the original toponyms were considered in 34% of renaming cases. There was an attempt to align the old names and the new ones by means of translation (full, partial, or pseudo-translation), reinterpretation, common thematic reference, associative naming, borrowing and metonymic relevance. It is substantiated that the choice of some method is conditionally predetermined by the linguistic origin of the original toponym. Specifically, the names of German origin were usually translated, and those of Baltic origin (as well as names with unclear bases) were subject to reinterpretation. In addition, the paper provides a comparative description of the main lexical-semantic groups of original and new toponyms, the set of which is almost identical. It is noted that the names of settlements predominate on both Prussian and Soviet maps but in the first case, the preference is given to indigenous names, while in the second case, most oikonyms are borrowed from other regions of the country. Finally, the study showed that there is no drastic decrease in the share of theotoponyms (names referring to mythological / sacred places of the past) under the renaming process, and the number of memorial toponyms does not increase as significantly as it is usually presented in European humanities research.

Keywords: renaming; toponyms; hydronyms; drimonyms; oronyms; Kaliningrad region.


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