IAS Invited Lecture Series on Onomastics in the study of culture and history of the Balkan region


Sofia's streets - city memory

The city, as a complex social structure, is a place of multiple communications. It is more than a place to live – it is an organizationally complex space with ever-changing sociocultural dynamics, filled with many names. The city is a kind of palimpsest, saturated with history, changing human relations and evolving identity. Therefore, names in urban space cannot be considered separately, but as a fragment of the city text. Sofia’s street names reflect the city’s identity and form its memory. The lecture aims to show how Sofia’s contemporary hodonymy serves to perpetuate national, but also local identity. 

Ass. Prof. Maya Vlahova-Angelova, PhD 

Prof. Vlahova-Angelova’s is one of the most famous Bulgarian onomasts, her research interests are related to both traditional toponymic and anthroponymic research and socio-onomastic and cognitive study. Her PhD thesis deals with the urban toponymy (2010). Since 2011, she has been working at the Institute for Bulgarian Language and has participated in several toponymic and anthroponymic projects. She is the author of numerous articles on onomastics and 2 monographs: The Streets of Sofia: Mapping Urban Identity (2013); Onomastics and Ethnobotany: a Study of Fruit Names Based on Toponymic Data from Western Bulgaria (2019).

Aspaláthos – Spalatum – Split: onomastic history of street names in Dalmatian capital city

Paper presenting a clear overview of recent research related to the name of capital city of Dalmatian country Split. It provides description and onomastic analysis of city district names, including corpus-based and inquiring analysis (in accordance with onomastic research methods) of historical and contemporary street names (hodonymy) of Split. Considering the influence of linguistic and non-linguistic factors (geographical, historical, sociological, cultural) onto the creation of names, interdisciplinary approach was required in this thesis. Therefore, at first analysis of names of the city Split, after – names of city districts (is preceded by historical development of the name Split) in order to understand more clearly the etiology of the later development of city district names and contemporary street names (hodonyms).

Josip Lasić – the most scientifically active Croatian onomast of the younger generation; completed Postgraduate university doctoral studies in Croatian Studies at the University of Zagreb. From 2004 till 2007 he worked as lecturer of courses in Croatian linguistics at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Since July 2007, he works at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, first as lector and since June 2012, as senior lector. Since 2014, he cooperates on the international scientific project of the Croatian Science Foundation entitled Comparative linguistic and cultural topics in Slavic languages (2014-2018). He is a member of Croatian Philological Society. 

Proper names with a 'bog' component in Macedonian

The Proto-Slavic lexeme *bogъ is present in the lexicon of all modern Slavic languages. Its original meaning ‘wealth, prosperity’ changed with the adoption of the monotheistic Christian religion – henceforth it came to mean the supreme being. In folk beliefs, a god was a supreme, all-powerful ruler who, unable to bear the evil that people do to each other, went to heaven, from where he comes to awaken humanity in people. Folk beliefs that differ from Christian doctrine are also reflected in them. The author is interested in first names, surnames and nicknames containing the component “bog”, which form a group of onyms connected with the religious sphere. Present in the onomasticon of all Slavic peoples, the lexeme “bog” participates in the creation of a number of proper names.

Prof. Meri Josifovska, one of the most important researchers of proper names in Northern Macedonia, is the author of the excellent monograph “Dictionary of Names in Macedonian National Creation” (2008) and dozens of articles on toponymy and anthroponymy. She has co-authored three significant national lexicographical projects on geographical names in specific regions of Northern Macedonia, as well as first and last names. She was a frequent guest at international onomastic conferences in Poland, the Czech Republic and Spain. She is a member of the Slavic Onomastics Commission at the International Slavic Committee.

About the Serbian nomenclature from the point of view of the origin of anthroponyms

Based on the insight into the structure of Serbian nomenclature from the point of view of the origin of anthroponyms, prototypical motivational bases can be determined in different languages which, in relation to Serbian, have the status of donor language – Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Turkish, Russian, etc. Motivational bases on the basis of which anthroponymic forms are induced in different languages show a high percentage match (eg zoonymic or phytonymic vocabulary as a motivator, etc.). At the same time, it is extremely important to assess the utility value of anthroponyms of foreign origin in the Serbian language, especially their active application in regard to the functionally or contextually conditioned one (eg. some names of Hebrew origin are very common [Sara, David et al.] and some of them have the status of calendar names or are in active use in the monastic nomenclature [eg Avakum, Ananije]). Anthroponyms of foreign origin are indicators of interlingual and intercultural influences, and based on the way in which these nomination units entered, adapted and integrated into the recipient language, certain cultural phenomena can be decoded. 

Gordana Štasni is a full professor at the Department of Serbian Language and Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad. She deals with lexicology and derivatology of the Serbian language. She is the author of several monographs and a large number of papers from the mentioned scientific fields. She deals with onomastics within the framework of lexicological research, with the application of modern linguistic theories – cognitive linguistics and linguocultural studies.

Nicknames in the online space, or the creativity of sports fans

Nicknames in the online space, and more specifically on fanpages, are still a rarely discussed topic. The lecture will focus on the nicknames given to the star of Bulgarian sport, tennis player Grigor Dimitrov and other world-famous tennis players. The object of the research will be 150 nicknames extracted from 3 Bulgarian websites in the period 2017-2018. It will analyze nicknames as secondary anthroponyms, their types and ways of creation, as well as the most frequently used naming models.

Prof. Choleva-Dimitrva is Chairperson of the onomastics section at the Bulgarian Language Institute of the BulgarianAcademy of Sciences. Specialized in anthroponymy and toponymy in Belgium (University of Leuven) and Germany (University of Regensburg). She is a member of the “Namen” research group at the Institute of German and Slavic Studies of the University of Regensburg. Author of 7 monographs, over 120 publications in the field of onomastics and 100 popular science articles. Editor-in-chief of the scientific journal „Балканско езикознание“/„Linguistique balkanique“.

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