Peter Jordan / Paul Woodman (eds.)
Proceedings of the Symposion in Rome, 17–18 November 2014
– in englischer Sprache –
Hamburg 2016, 500 Seiten
[...] Insgesamt macht der Tagungsband eindrucksvoll deutlich, dass Namen durchaus nicht außerhalb der Gesellschaft und politischer Wandlungen beziehungsweise Einflussnahmen stehen, sondern vielmehr gewachsene Strukturen beziehungsweise politische Macht spiegeln und auch als ihr Instrument genutzt werden. Die Ausdehnung des behandelten Raumes zeigt gleichzeitig, dass es sich um ein globales Phänomen handelt. Schon aus diesem Grund ist der Band lesenswert. Sicher wird nicht jeder Beitrag jeden Leser gleichermaßen interessieren, doch ist gewissermaßen für jeden, der sich mit dem Thema Namenwechsel befasst, etwas „dabei“.Kirstin Casemir, in:
Beiträge zur Namenforschung, BNF 53.1 (2018)
Languages are promoted by political powers and are dependent on them. In a historical dimension languages come and go depending on political support. Place names as elements of language are part of this historical fluctuation. Due to their symbolic role as markers of geographical features, territories and space-related identities, however, they are even more exposed to political change.
At any time the replacement of the dominant political or cultural force within a given society can result in place-name changes. A recent example is the rise and fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. But the commercialisation of our societies also has its impact on toponymy. New commercial names replace traditional ones, prompting the question whether place names should perhaps be regarded as a part of the cultural heritage and be protected for this very reason.
Upheavals of the namescape are certainly caused by a change of dominant political forces. But the emergence of new official names, e.g., due to standardization and public recognition of place names of indigenous and non-dominant groups, can also result from new cultural directions and attitudes in a given and otherwise stable society, when for example strong efforts are made to codify the languages of indigenous peoples and to display their place names subsequently in public space. Place-name changes often affect the names of streets and of urban spaces in general, since many of them have a commemorative function and are thus closely related to certain historical periods and powers. But names of populated places and especially cities are also frequently subject to name changes due to the prominence of these features and their importance in politics, culture and the economy.
It is also interesting to see how place-name changes are received and accepted by the users, i.e. the local community and the outside world. It frequently occurs that the old and the new name remain in use simultaneously for some time – the use differing by age groups, political directions, or between insiders’ and people from the outside.
Thus, the topic of this book is highly space-related and geographical, but also has very significant historical, sociological and political dimensions.
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