2023, Volume 20, Issue 2

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Antoni Ordinas Garau
Xavier Ordinas Ribas

University of the Balearic Islands
Palma, Spain

Geography and Onomastics: Geographical Terminology in the Oronymy of the Balearic Islands

Voprosy onomastiki, 2023, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp. 103–118 (in English)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2023.20.2.017

Received on 18 November 2021
Accepted on 11 November 2022

Abstract: Toponymy and, more specifically, toponymic generics constitute an important source of geographical terminology, which is a valuable object of study in both linguistics and cultural geography. Based on this, the authors compiled, analysed and classified the oronymic generics of the Balearic Islands (Spain) from the largest toponymic collection of the archipelago, made up of some 50,000 place names gathered for the Balearic Topographical Map at a scale of 1:5,000. A considerable part of toponyms was obtained from field work, which consisted of hundreds of interviews with informants previously selected for their special knowledge of the territory they live in. Field work allowed to obtain popular (“folk,” “unofficial”) toponyms that contain specific generics used in the function of geographical terms, often based on metaphor or another type of semantic shift. This work made it possible to bring together the terms that, in the Catalan language of the Balearic Islands, identify the diverse inland orographic morphologies of each of the islands that form the archipelago (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera). The corpus of terminology relating to the names of the relief of the Balearic Islands is formed by 120 oronymic generics. All the terms are classified into three groups distinguishing between terms related to positive relief features (macro, meso- and micro-relief), negative relief features (elongated, rounded, and elevated depressions), and neutral relief that brings together and differentiates forms of vertical, horizontal, inclined and stepped relief. Quantitative observations made by the author show the relatively wider diversity of terminology used in the names of positive relief features, in which macro-relief features are predominant. In the negative relief group, the most varied subgroup of term relates to longitudinal depressions, while in the neutral relief the biggest part of terms specifically designates sloped landforms.

Keywords: toponymy; oronymy; toponymic generics; terminology; geography; relief; Balearic Islands


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