Research topic: Onomatology

Onomatology or research into names is concerned with the meaning of names, how long they have been in existence, how they have been used, and what they can tell us about society in the past and present.

Our work examines place names, personal names and other names. Internationally, the technical term for this field is onomatology.

Onomatologists study the origins of a name and its historical and present function, both as an individual phenomenon and as part of a system.

The objective of the research is to obtain knowledge about the occurrence of difference types of names in linguistic, chronological, geographical and social variations. An important goal is to identify the meaning of a name, both etymologically (the origins of the name) and semantically (the meaning), and to discover how both the name and its usage have evolved over time.

The most important categories of names are place names and personal names, but areas of study also include animal names, boat names, brand names, the names given to official measures etc.

Other aspects of the field are concerned with names as cultural heritage, names as means of communication and names as carriers of identity. Normative processes in relation to place names also feature in our research tradition.

Onomatology is primarily a linguistic discipline, but one with strong cross-disciplinary applications. Etymology and semantics are core aspects of the discipline, and applied more widely this research provides the basis for new knowledge about natural and cultural history.

Names and their usage can also be used as sources for the study of human relations at various levels and accordingly can provide input for studies in the fields of archaeology, history, sociology and psychology.

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Published Feb. 8, 2013 12:50 PM - Last modified Jan. 3, 2014 2:39 PM