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Colonial Place Names in a Comparative Perspective

Thomas Stolz, Ingo H. Warnke, Nataliya Levkovych

Pages 279 - 355

The paper is meant to demonstrate that it is worthwhile studying European colonial toponymies in comparative perspective. Examples from fourteen cases of European colonizer nations which have had an impact on the maps of their overseas possessions are presented. They represent the prototypical exonymic construction which involves an anthroponymic constituent alongside a classifier element both of which are taken from the language( s) of the colonizers. It is shown that the employment of this construction type for the purpose of place-naming is common to all of the European colonizers across time and space. The question is raised why and how this commonality has come about. In contrast to this shared property, there is also dissimilarity in the sense that the possibility of using bare anthroponyms as place names is scarcely attested in the German colonial toponomasticon whereas it is a frequently applied strategy in the toponomasticons of other European colonizers. The co-existence of similarities which hold for all European colonizers and dissimilarities which are indicative of sub-divisions and individual behavior calls for further inquiries into the systematicity of European colonial toponymies.


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