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An etymology for the name of A Coruña

Theo Vennemann

Pages 1 - 41

The Galician city named A Coruña is – and was in antiquity – the most important harbor between the Mediterranean and the North Sea, both for long-distance traffic and for coastal cabotage. Many etymologies have been proposed for the name, none of them convincing. I follow ALBAIGÈS (1998: s.v.) who sees Latin Caronium (Latin and Mediaeval variants: Coronium, Corunium) as the precursor of Coruña. This finds support in the name of a near-by ancient road station named Caranico, which looks like an -ic(-um) derivative of the name of the harbor city. In the present article, Caronium is analyzed as Latinized Phoenician ’a k. arn, Punic ’a k. arcn, meaning ‘the horn’. This etymology satisfies the Realprobe: A Coruña is situated on a promontory jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, the type of location favored by the Phoenician traders and often named ‘Horn’ in various languages, including Phoenician. The Phoenician article ha/’a is assumed to have survived as part of the name in local substrates and to have later been reinterpreted as the Galician feminine article a (< Latin illa(m)), to which then the termination -(n)ium was adjusted as -(ñ)a.


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