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The Toponomastik even Toponymie or Toponymy (from ancient Greek τόπος tópos , location 'and Attic ὄνομα ONOMA or aeolian - Doric ὄνυμα ónyma , Name'), German toponymy or place names research , deals as a branch of the general name of research and linguistic geography with all place names, So locality names or place names in the general sense of the word.

Toponyms are central data types in geoinformatics and components of cartography and topography . They are the basic category of geography and topography of other celestial bodies.

Classification of toponyms

The terms explained below fall under the generic term toponym .


Choronyms (from the Greek χώρᾱ chṓrā , country, space ') or space names designate certain regions and areas , in particular the political structures that can be represented with regard to settlement geography , cultural history and other human sciences. In particular, these are:

Field names (in the broader sense)

The names of the uninhabited landscape elements (from the point of view of physical geography and geomorphology ) include:


Hydronymes (from the Greek ὕδωρ hýdōr 'water') or names of waters denote waters . These include:


Oikonyms (from the Greek οἶκος oĩkos 'accommodation'), settlement names or place names in the narrower sense denote settlements . They include:

Kunze and Kamianets have also suggested various sub-types:

  • Ekklesionyme (from Greek ἐκκλησία ekklēsía , place of assembly, church ') for monasteries , churches and other sacred buildings as well
  • Nekronymes (from Greek νεκρός nekrós 'dead') for burial places.

Hodonyms or dromonyms

The two special types of dromonyms (from Greek δρόμος drómos 'way') and hodonyms (Greek ὁδός hodós 'street') for traffic routes and places in urban open space are new suggestions by Kunze and Kamianets and refer in particular to:

This group is often put under the term settlement name (oikonyms) in the more general sense.


Astrotoponyms (from the Greek ἄστρον ástron 'star') are names for the topography of objects outside the earth , i.e. they refer to the extraterrestrial toponymy , i.e. H. Surface shapes of celestial bodies, such as other planets, including those that are also found on earth (such as mountains, valleys, craters, etc.), but also autochthonous forms. Not to this category but belonging Astronyme (name of the celestial body itself) and Kosmonyme (name for Weltallzonen, celestial spheres).

Historical and sociological importance

Toponomastics is an important auxiliary science of the historical sciences and historical geography . Toponyms are often very stable and old in relation to time and therefore document the history of the settlement. Here the endonyms (own names) are just as informative as the exonyms (external names). Water names ( hydronyms ) play a central role in linguistics and history because in many cases they are the oldest traditional toponyms.

The  names of origin - the anthroponyms related to toponyms - are also particularly informative for the migration movements of individuals . In particular , the names of the homes should be mentioned here, which represent the relationship between the general toponyms and the place names in the narrower sense.

Political importance

Toponomics can also play an important political role, especially in national or ethnic conflicts. Often the toponomastics is instrumentalized in order to lead the proof that a certain area belongs to a certain national or ethnic group. Examples in the German-speaking area are the toponomastics during the German occupation of Poland 1939-1945 , the former German eastern territories after 1945, the toponomastics of Alsace-Lorraine and the toponomastics of South Tyrol ( Prontuario dei nomi locali dell'Alto Adige by Ettore Tolomei ). The dispute over the latter, also from an Austrian point of view, is still very topical today.

See also


German language area
Reference works, international

Web links

Wiktionary: Toponomastics  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Toponym  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. The compilation follows
    • Ernst Eichler u. a. (Ed.): Name research : An international handbook on onomastics. / Name Studies: An International Handbook of Onomastics. / Les noms propres: Manuel international d'onomastique . First edition. Volume 2 (= pp. 980-1890). de Gruyter, Berlin and New York 1996, ISBN 3-11-014879-X (contributions partly in German , English and French ; hardback edition). - In particular: Frederic G. Cassidy: Place Name Study: Getting Started . Cape. 219, p. 1426-1429 (English).
    • Wolodymyr Kamianets: On the division of German proper names . In: Institute for Linguistics of the University of Graz (Ed.): Grazer Linguistic Studies . tape 54 (autumn 2000), ISSN  1015-0498 , p. 41–58 , especially p. 47 f. ( PDF file at, accessed on June 29, 2015).
    • Konrad Kunze : dtv-Atlas onenology: first names and surnames in the German-speaking area . dtv, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-423-03234-0 , p. 88-105 .
    • Rosa Kohlheim, Volker Kohlheim: Duden Lexicon of Family Names . Origin and meaning of 20,000 surnames. Dudenverlag, Mannheim 2008, ISBN 978-3-411-73111-4 , chap. The 200 most common German family names and their origins. , S. 48 f .
  2. ^ Otto Back: Name Studies / Namenforschung / Les noms propres . 1996, 205. Typology of country names: names of states, countries, landscapes , p. 1348-1356 .
  3. Kamianets, p. 47, notes: "It should be emphasized here that the choronyms occupy an intermediate position between the EN [proper names] of natural and artificially created objects."
  4. Field names have produced one of the richest names in both toponyms and personal names, as they radiate toponymically and anthroponymically : This is how Schönwieskogel describes the 'mountain with beautiful meadows', Schönwiesmahd the meadow itself, Schönwiesen the location according to which the associated farmer Schönwieser called. After the mountain, the stream that comes from it is also called Schönwiesbach, etc.
  5. ^ Hans Tyroller: Name Studies / Namenforschung / Les noms propres . 1996, 221. Typology of field names (microtoponomastics): Germanisch , p. 1434-1441 .
  6. These can also be added to the field names in the broader sense.
  7. Kunze 1998, after Kamianets 2000, p. 46 ff.
  8. Hans Ramge: Name Studies / Namenforschung / Les noms propres . 1996, 176. Flurnamengeographie , p. 1169-1175 .
  9. Analogous to the term orography , which was originally limited to pure mountain forms, but today generally describes the theory of height structures: cf. Kamianets 2000, p. 47.
  10. These landscape elements also fall under the term Oronym, Kamianets 2000, p. 47, or Riednames, Fuhrmann / BEV 2008
  11. Kamianets 2000, p. 47.
  12. ^ Albrecht Greule: Name Studies / Namenforschung / Les noms propres . 1996, 234. Water names: morphology, naming motifs, layers , p. 1534-1539 .
  13. "Micro-objects within the settlements" in Kamianets 2000, p. 48.
  14. a b c Kunze 1998 and Kamianets 2000.
  15. Kamianets 2000, p. 45 f., Places this category as “objects of extraterrestrial space” explicitly and independently next to the “objects of terrestrial space” in the sense of geography (ie, “doctrine of the earth”): “The entire inventory of EN [Proper names] in German can be divided into three large groups ”(p. 45). The third large group would be the proper names of living beings ( anthroponyms , zoonyms and phytonyms ).