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The toponymy of the Republic of Moldova: an etymological, lexical-semantic and derivational study and the principles of its regulation

Author: Anatol Eremia
Degree:doctor habilitat of philology
Speciality: 10.02.01 - Romanian Language
Scientific consultant: Nicolae Corlateanu
doctor habilitat
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 28 December, 2004
Approved by NCAA on the 27 January, 2005


Adobe PDF document0.64 Mb / in romanian


acronym, allonym, anthroponymy, conversion, designation, endonym, eponym, exonym, formant, hodonym, hydronym, hydronymy, morpheme, geographical, name, proper name, onomastics, oronym, radical, semantics, standardization, topography, toponym, toponymy, transcription, transliteration, vocabulary


In his published works forming the base of his philologhiae doctor habilitatus dissertation, the author investigates several aspects of the present-day toponymy, such as its lexicalsemantic stock, its derivational structure, as well as the principles of its regulation. The toponymic material was collected by the author who applied the questionnaire method in about 2000 populated areas, and from historical sources as well. The essay of the dissertation includes its introduction, five chapters and a conclusion.

The Introduction contains information concerning the topicality of the subject, as well as the object and the task of the research, its scientific novelty, its theoretical and practical importance and of its scientific results being approuved. Chapter I Theoretical bases of toponymic studies deals with problems of the status of toponyms as compared with appellative names, the place of toponymy and its relations with other branches of science, its research methods, the sources of toponymic studies etc. Several semantic, derivational and grammatical differences between some given word classes are also examined, as well as, first of all, their common function, i.e. that of being the means of language communication, provided all of them posses a meaning, while bearing a certain information. The informational importance of toponymy for other branches of science (history, geography, ethnography etc.) is also marked out. In dependence of the task put, according research methods are applied, such as the historical – comparative, the typological, the cartographical (that of linguistic geography) and the statistical ones.

The main task of Chapter II The etymological stratigraphy of the toponymy of the Prut-Dniester area is to identify the main toponymic strata as related to the degree of their remoteness in time and their belonging to a given language. As those forming the most ancient stratum are regarded the inherited hydronyms of geto-dacian origin, such as Dunăre, Nistru, Prut etc. According to the data of ancient sources, their original forms were identified, the names receiving new etymological interpretations. The overwhelming majority of the local toponyms are formed by names of localities and populated areas of Romanian origin. Antiquity, social-historical, economic, cultural and psychological factors are pointed out, which favoured the appearance of several categories of toponyms, as well as the, lexical-semantic base and derivational structure of toponymic formations and their territorial diffusion. As borrowed from other languages, toponyms of Slav, Turkic ( Pecheneg-Kuman, Nohay-Tartar,Turkish, Gagauz) and germani c origin are also adduced.

Chapter III The lexical-semantic base of Romanian toponyms deals with analysis and classification of geographical names subject to their initial (pre-toponimic) meaning, a method which furthered the identifying of their main semantic groups, such as: the topographic ones, with their subdivisions, i.e. oronyms (Bîrnagu, Găvanu, Măgura ), hydronyms (Barcu, Gîrla, Otmocu), floronyms (Dumbrava, Frunzariu, Păiuşca) and zoonyms (Bătcăria, Hidrariu, Lupăria), then the social-historic ones, with such subdivisions as the anthropological (Costeşti, Mărculeşti), the ethnonymical (Bulgărica, Lipoveni), the oiconymical ( Cîşla, Satul Nou, Tîrgul-Vertiujeni), the social (Ocniţa-Ţărani, Ocniţa- Răzeşi) and professional ones (Cărăuşi, Răcari) etc. Such toponyms are examined in connection with the social-historical, pshysical-geographical and natural conditions they appeared in.

Chapter IV The derivational structure of the toponymic formations regards the derivational system of the local toponomastics. As object of structural analysys appear synchronically and diachronically, both simple and compound toponyms. Among the simple ones, primary names are identified as those formed through onymization of appellatives and geographical terms, as a results of metonymical and metaphorical processes, while the compound ones contain formants, mostly suffixes. In the Romanian toponomastics, the suffixes are the most productive means of forming several categories of toponyms. The most frequent are the suffixes –ani/ -eni (as in Parcani, Şercani, Alboteni, Vorniceni), -eşti ( as in Mănoileşti, Pănăşeşti, Sturzeşti), -a/-ea/-ia (Gangura < anthrop. Gangur, Sîngera < app. sînger, Oxentea < anthrop. Oxente < Axentie ), -ar (Cînepariu, Hidrariu), -eţ ( Cahuleţ, Pruteţ), -iş (Cărpiniş, Stejăriş), -işte (Inişte, Curechişte ) and so on. As those already formed ones, the local toponomastics absorbed slav names in –ov/-ev, -ovţi/-evţi, -inţi, -ovca/-evca (as in Lozova, Teleşeu, Grinăuţi, Mateuţi, Borisovca, Eleneuca etc.) and Turkic ones in –ly/-li ( > Roum. –lia), -lyk/-lic ( Baimaclia, Taraclia, Gargalîc, Cealîc, etc.). The processes of their adaptation by Romanian, the formation of their respective toponymic areas are also traced.

In Chapter V the regulation of the national toponymy, taking into account the results of the works published, the basic principles of linguistic regulation of the present-day toponymy are formulated requiring correct writing, both in Romanian and in its foreign language transliteration, of local geographical names. The use of correct and adequate proper names and denominations is required by the relations, steadily developping in our time and by close contacts between people in several domains and spheres of activity (economics, culture, politics), both on national and international levels.