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Fotografisk mekanisk eller anden gengivelse af denne bog. eller dele heraf er ikke tilladt if lge g ldende dansk lov. om ophavsret,Afdeling for Navneforskning,Nordisk Forskningsinstitut. Det Humanistiske Fakultet,K benhavns Universitet,Photo by Rob Rentenaar. Freely available internet publication, the Faculty of Humanities University of Copenhagen. Copenhagen 2008,ISBN 978 87 992447 1 3,The psychology of place name changes. A large number of the place names that we use without hesitation. every day appear quite unintelligible on second thoughts at least. compared with other words in the modern language This does not. however mean that they are any the less Danish in origin than other. words in our language, One reason why we cannot identify place names with familiar.
words is the fact that many names are of great age and over the. years phonological changes have altered their form to such an. extent that we do not recognise the words from which they were. formed This may be true even if the words actually exist in the. modern language Who could possibly recognise Odins vi n s. and hejrehals 1 in the place names Vojens Ans and Hejls for. instance In addition to phonological changes a number of words. have been lost in the course of time The vocabulary is constantly. changing as some words disappear and others are added Conse. quently place names may become opaque to modern speakers. because the words from which the names were once formed are no. longer part of our vocabulary For instance we are not familiar with. a word nibe meaning a protruding hill but this word was current. when the place name Nibe was coined In the same way the words. yew tree and kost meaning coppice have been lost but the. words were still current at the time when a thicket of yews was. given the name Ikast, In a large number of place names we recognise familiar. words e g pr st vicar and island in Pr st havn harbour in. K benhavn and skov forest in Nakskov However we often notice. that the meaning that can be read out of the name is not very appro. priate for the locality in question For instance Pr st is a town. rather than an island and the clergy are no more prominent here. A revised and translated version of Stednavne ndringers psykologi In. Almanak Skriv og Rejsekalender K benhavn 1977 pp 127 134. The Danish etymologies mean Odin s sanctuary river headland and. heron s neck respectively,The psychology of place name changes. than in other towns Normally we do not even consider the meaning. of names i e whether the elements of the name can be associated. with familiar words Neither do we ponder as to whether the char. acteristics deduced from the names are actually consistent with the. locations There is no need to reflect on these matters for place. names generally function perfectly well even if we do not under. stand them or if their semantics make no sense After all the pri. mary function of a place name is not to describe a locality to which. it refers Rather its linguistic function is solely to single out a cer. tain locality i e to function as a recognised and stable appellation. for a specific locality, We may still reckon that the linguistic unit that gained the. status and function of a place name bore a meaning related to the. place it denotes at one point in its development namely the moment. the name was formed Identifying the meaning of the names at the. moment they were coined has been the main task of traditional. onomastics Knowledge about linguistic changes from pre historic. times until today often enables us to reconstruct the form and. meaning of the name at the time of formation In the first place this. is a prerequisite for clarifying fundamental onomastic issues namely. the principles at play when place names are formed In addition the. etymological analysis as the process is called is a base that enables. us to use place names as a source for cultural history The words. contained in place names often refer to phenomena in the society in. which they were coined e g pre Christian religion old administra. tive units communications and settlement agriculture etc Thus. place names may be an important source of information in such. In recent decades onomastic research has turned to other. aspects than etymology To some extent this is a result of current. trends in modern linguistics focusing on language as a means of. communication In addition an extension of the field has emerged. internally as onomasts have addressed new questions For instance. studies with a more theoretical focus have attempted to define and. delimit proper nouns including place names as opposed to other. words in the language These have pointed at the lack of meaning as. a distinctive characteristic of place names Moreover it has become. The psychology of place name changes, relevant to discuss the function of proper names in the usage in. communication, Above it has been suggested that it is irrelevant for speakers.
whether they are able to associate a meaning with place names and. what kind of meaning they are able to deduce Though this is true. for the vast majority of place names the claim is somewhat simplis. tic There are a number of place name changes that can only be. explained if we take into account an intentional contribution on the. part of the speakers These seem to prove that the semantic content. speakers associate with a name is not always subordinate. Some of the intentional name changes seem to be due to. mainly external changes If the characteristics of a locality change to. such an extent that there is an obvious discrepancy between the. apparent signification of the name and its actual location the name. may be changed completely Alternatively the element that stands. out as manifestly inappropriate may be replaced by another that. seems more adequate For reasons not yet identified such changes. are rare for names of towns and cities I have already mentioned. town names formed from words that denote other localities than. habitations Other examples include e g Holb k brook Roskilde. spring Neks lake There are some examples of name changes. however e g Sakstorp changed to Saksk bing when the village. changed into a market town For non habitation names there seems. to be less tolerance towards the lack of correspondence between the. names in particular the generic and the actual locations. Some name changes have practical reasons It causes confu. sion for speakers if two localities within a limited area have identical. names or names that are easily confused In the case of identical. habitation names the problem is normally solved by adding an ele. ment to one or more of the names e g Lille N stved N stved. Br ndbyvester Br ndby ster Kirke S by S S by etc 2 In recent. times it has been necessary to change street names that are identical. or similar enough to cause postal confusion Thus Enighedsvej and. Randersvej in Frederiksberg have been changed to Edisonsvej and. Lille little vester western ster eastern kirke church s lake sea. The psychology of place name changes, Priorvej to avoid confusion with Enighedsvej and Randersgade in. other parts of Greater Copenhagen, In the majority of cases however the motive for place name. change should be sought in the mind of the speakers Psychological. factors may have been at play even in the examples given above but. in many cases the reasons for changes seem to be purely psycho. Name taboo is related to superstitions in former times It was. imagined that evil powers could be warded off if one avoided men. tioning the names of the localities to which they were connected In. many cases this resulted in new inoffensive names so called noa. names It may be difficult to prove that such name changes have. taken place since it is rare for us to know the original name that was. lost owing to the taboo Some scholars have suggested that names. containing the element hellig holy may be such taboo names e g. Helgen s and Helles The latter may have replaced a tabooed lake. name Sevel a name preserved as the name of a village and parish in. Aesthetic and ethic standards change over the years Quite a. number of names have been changed on the grounds that speakers. have considered them to be aesthetically or ethically offensive. either because of the words they have appeared to contain or. because events associated with the location caused unpleasant asso. ciations To remedy the matter the whole name could be changed. or at least the offensive parts of it The name or element chosen as a. replacement was either more positive from an aesthetic or ethical. point of view or possibly neutral Thus the inhabitants of the Silke. borg suburb Aldershvile Rest for the Aged chose this name in 1873. as a replacement for the former name Pjaltenborg Ragged castle. which went back to the time when this was a poor quarter And even. though they contain respectable personal names the former even a. saint s name the Sj lland village names Ludser d Gumperup and. Rumperup were changed in the 1920s on the initiative of the. inhabitants Their first elements were associated with lus lice and. gump rumpe behind bum respectively 3 The streets Sct Peders. Their new names are H velte Klinteby and H jsted,The psychology of place name changes. str de St Peter s Street in Svendborg and Krystalgade Crystal. Road in Copenhagen acquired their present names in the mid 18th. century Until then they were called R ven The Arse and Skiden. str de Dirty Street The street Bremerholm in Copenhagen has had. it name changed twice by request in 1823 from Ulkegade to Hol. mensgade and then in 1932 to its present name Both times the. argument was that prostitution in the street had given the street name. a negative ring 4 A number of similar examples could be mentioned. However it may be difficult to bring about a name shift i e make. people use a new name This was obviously the case for the village. name Tyvk r Thieves Marsh in Jutland It retains its name5 in. spite of a royal decree from 1580 stating that its name should be. Fridtzkier Peace Marsh even though the fine for using the old. name counter to the King s orders was a good ready ox. In Denmark place name changes due to the dominance of. certain political ideologies or religious fractions at different times. are rare Politically motivated name shifts are frequent in Eastern. Europe however For instance the town called Tsaritzin in the Tsar. period was renamed Stalingrad after the Russian revolution and. Volgograd after Stalinism had been abolished Danish examples are. mainly to be found in South Jutland which was under German rule. 1864 1920 When the area was reunited with Denmark a number of. street names in S nderborg were changed for instance Kaiser. Wilhelm Allee was replaced by Kongevejen King s Road Adelbart. Strasse named after a German admiral was changed to Helgo. landsgade 6 and Baudessin Strasse was renamed du Plats Gade The. former name commemorates a German admiral the latter a promi. nent Danish major general, Ulk denotes the short spined sea scorpion and other fish of the Cottus. family It is also an old slang word for a seaman Holmen the islet is a place. However in order to conceal the negative connotations of the name its local. as well as authorised Danish spelling is now Tiufk r reflecting an older writ. ten form of the name, Helgoland or Heligoland in the North Sea was under Danish rule 1714 1814.
after a successful Danish conquest,The psychology of place name changes. Though the conversion to Christianity must have meant a total. upheaval it did not really leave an imprint in the form of place. name shifts with religious motivation The new faith only appears. indirectly to give rise to occasional name shifts Since it is known. that most churches were built in existing villages of a certain size. we may assume that some of the villages called Kirkeby and Kirk. erup Dan kirke church etc have previously borne other names. We know little or nothing about these original names but there is no. reason to assume that they were particularly heathen This can be. deduced from the fact that other church villages have retained their. names in spite of their reference to the old religion e g N r Tise. and Thors containing the names of the gods Njord Tyr and Thor. The reformation appears to have had a somewhat stronger influence. on the stock of place names For instance the names of monasteries. were occasionally changed after the royal takeover e g Sct Hans. Kloster in Odense to Odenseg rd, An early instance of place name shift caused by an owner. shift is attested in Sor Abbey s register of donations from about. 1440 in the words G kstorp qvod nunc Knutstorp dicitur mean. ing G kstorp which is now called Knutstorp It can be deduced. that at some point in the Middle Ages the masculine name Knut. replaced another masculine name G k as a specific in the village. name which is now called Knudstrup near Sor It is probably safe. to assume that the personal names refer to owners or tenants We do. not know to what extent personal names in place names were. replaced in medieval times as old sources rarely make reference to. such changes In most cases only one form of the name is recorded. which is identical with the form that has survived until the present. day However this can also be construed as showing that the custom. of indicating the names of changing owners or tenants had stopped. by the time our oldest sources were written possibly because there. was no longer a chieftain in the village, We know however from later periods and other localities that. changing ownership may result in changing names In the late 16th. century it became fashionable in the Danish royal family and the. aristocracy to give their manors and castles etc names indicating. ownership This tradition influenced by foreign patterns continues. The psychology of place name changes, into modern times It causes a large number of name shifts partly. because old names had to give way to new names of this kind and. partly because names of the new kind replaced each other concur. rently with changes of owners There are numerous examples and. only a random sample is presented here In most cases the family. name is included in the new name Examples of such changes are. Holmekloster to Rantzausholm Iversn s to Wedellsborg Sandager. g rd to Brinkenslyst K rup to Gabelseje Finstrup to Holstenshus. and L venskjolds Pal to Schacks Pal 7 In some cases an abbrevi. ated form of the family name is included e g Rosenkrantz in Rosen. eje formerly Qvitzowsholm or an extended form such as Holck in. Holckenhavn replacing Nyg rd Brahetrolleborg formerly Rant. zausholm includes both family names Brahe and Trolle In some. cases a family name can be used as a place name without an added. generic e g Hardenberg and Brockdorff which replace Krenkerup. and Gr nlund The owner may also use his first name to signal his. claims to an estate For instance former Hiller dsholm was renamed. Frederiksborg after King Frederik II Skovkloster acquired its new. name Herlufsholm after its owner Herluf Trolle and the manor. Ulfeldsholm was renamed Ellensborg when it was taken over by the. renowned Ellen Marsvin As we have already seen names indicating. ownership often replace one another The above mentioned Rosen. eje renamed from Qvitzowsholm later had its name changed to. B ttigersholm and finally Hofmannsgave Similarly Ulfeldsholm. Ellensborg and Holckenhavn all refer to the same manor in Fyn A. name indicating ownership of no current interest was sometimes. replaced by a name with no connection to the new owner In the case. of manors it was rather common to adopt a former abandoned. name Thus Brinkenslyst Gabelseje and Hardenberg eventually got. back their original names Sandagerg rd K rup and Krenkerup. In the latter the family name Schack replaces another family name. L venskjold The generic means palace The other original names are typical. habitation names apart from Holmekloster which means islet monastery. The specifics of all the new names are Danish and Schleswig Holstein aristo. cratic family names Rantzau Wedell Brink Gabel Holsten and Schack. The psychology of place name changes, The wish to signal ownership through a name is not limited to.
the upper classes but we know more about its manifestation in. naming tradition among the nobility Even if farms and houses. belonging to common people have borne names indicating who their. owners were we rarely know the circumstances around their forma. tion or which names they may have replaced This naming practice. is still alive for instance when summer cottages are named. The so called memorial names are another group of names. associated with a certain prestige Their purpose is to honour a per. son or an event by referring semantically to that person or event. This sometimes means that established names are abolished For. instance the owner of Vedtofte renamed his manor Brahesholm in. honour of his aunt Christence Brahe Hagenskov acquired its new. name Frederiksgave Frederik s gift as an expression of gratitude. towards the donator King Frederik II and strup Slot was renamed. Fredensborg Dan fred peace to commemorate the peace treaty. after the Great Nordic War Above all memorial names abound in. street names coined from the 19th century onwards A couple of. Copenhagen street names demonstrate that these too have occa. sionally replaced existing names H C Andersens Boulevard. replaced Vester Boulevard in 1955 and Dag Hammarskj lds All. formed a part of sterbrogade until 1961 The latter change also. appears to be politically motivated As for such shifts as well as for. other types of psychologically motivated name shifts discussed. above there may be underlying complex motives, Above we have seen that the introduction of new naming. practices has led to the replacement of names For there are fashions. within name formation too and the desire for a more up to date. name may be one reason for name change The changes from. Nydamshuse and Lundehuse to Skovly and Lundely reflect a 19th. century trend in naming patterns when ly shelter became a popular. generic The changes from Abrahamstrup Ibstrup and Tubberup to. The psychology of place name changes, J gerspris J gersborg and Hjortespring8 are heavily influenced by. foreign German patterns, Influence from existing place names is important in another. kind of place name change as well Place names are sometimes. reshaped so that they appear to have the same generic as a large. group of other place names although they were originally com. pounded with completely different words It is not however every. frequent type of place name that can attract any place name. whatsoever A certain phonetic similarity between the attracted form. and the attracting one is required Thus such changes differ from the. free substitution of place name elements observed in the examples. above On the other hand these substitutions have no reference to. actual circumstances relating to the locality Their main function is. to give these names a more familiar form i e make them resemble. other well known place names For instance there was once a. village name Gr sholte in Sj lland This developed a form Gr ste. which was reinterpreted as Gr sted under the influence of other. names in sted which is still the name of the village The names. Strellev Veders and Gren in Jutland are all original compounds. with the generic h j mound In the first h j developed into w. and as the specific ends in l it was interpreted as the familiar. ending lev 9 and was spelt accordingly The two latter names also. developed dialectal forms with an sound and an o sound. respectively Under the influence of other village names ending in. s and they were reinterpreted as containing these words This. kind of reshaping has sometimes been called folk etymology The. term is somewhat unfortunate partly because these forms rarely. emerge as popular pronunciation forms but much more often as. scribal forms in official documents Moreover such changes are not. necessarily due to attempts to etymologise names or to restore older. more original forms The first element or specific is subject to. The original names are typical Danish settlement names with the generic torp. dependent settlement The new names mean Hunter s Praise Hunter s. Castle and Deer Leap cf German Hirschsprung, lev is an Iron Age name element denoting inheritance what is left for. The psychology of place name changes, reshaping too Jordl se and Kildebr nde do not originally refer to.
jord soil earth or kilde well Instead they contain the old words. i r wild boar and g ldi probably denoting a stretch of infertile. land When the words went out of use they were replaced by two. familiar words that were phonetically close Reshaping based on the. phonetic form may be combined with other motives e g avoiding a. name that does not appear sufficiently aesthetic The changes from. Svineborg to Svendborg and from Fuleb k to Fugleb k10 can. probably be seen in this light Occasionally place name reshaping. can be ascribed to learned persons who wish to restore the original. etymology of a name A well known Danish example is Hertadalen. near Roskilde The form is due to the antiquarian interest of medical. practitioner Ole Worm who wanted to see the heathen goddess. Herta in the rather mundane place name rtedalen pea valley. The examples quoted above combine to prove that name shifts. cannot always be ascribed to phonetic development over the years. In some cases psychological factors lie behind such changes and. these may overrule organic developments However we should bear. in mind that most place names develop independently of conscious. external chance Moreover changes that do not depend on language. internal development are always irregular Under what seem to be. identical circumstances some names remain untouched whereas. others are replaced or reshaped in some of the ways discussed. It has been maintained that conscious name changes prove. that the linguistic information a name appears to convey is relevant. to the speaker after all From this point of view I shall look at one. final group of extralinguistic name changes the so called elliptical. names In such names the information appears to be reduced since. one element of the name is omitted This is the case with village. names Fuglebjerg and Borre which are recorded as Withfugl byerg. and sterburgh in the Middle Ages Blegdammen for Blegdamshos. pitalet Bakken instead of Dyrehavsbakken and Sundet for re. Svin pig swine is replaced by a masculine name Svend and ful adj foul. by fugl bird,The psychology of place name changes, sund 11 In the initiated circle where such ellipses arise the elliptic. form is no less informative than the original form however After. all the functional impact of a name is determined by the persons. who use them at different times,Bibliography, Dalberg Vibeke 1977 Stednavne ndringers psykologi In Almanak Skriv og. Rejsekalender K benhavn pp 127 134, Withfugl byerg may either have meant hill with woodland birds or at the. hill with the birds sterburgh meant the eastern stronghold Blegdamshos. pitalet the hospital at the bleaching ground Dyrehavsbakken the hillslope at. the deer park and resund the sound at the gravelly sandbank.

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