Articles / Toponymy legends

Toponymy legends

Subject / Local studies/Toponymy

Toponymia legends. A toponymia legend is an oral story passed on from generation to generation by the population group and including the information about appearing names of geographic objects (toponyms). The toponymia studies toponyms, folklore and ethnography sciences research legends and trditions. The scientific analysis permits to use toponyms as the source of the cultural and historic information. Forming and functioning geographic names are close connected with the ambient space development, the historic past and its reflection in people's consciousness. The change of the ethnic structure of the population, historic changes in languages including the loss of words or their meanings lead to the re-understanding of the origin of geographic names by people living in the definite toponymia environment. In that case the name of a geographic object can be interpreted from the position of the ordinary consciousness and include elements of fantasy and composing. Such explanation of a toponym origin is called popular etymology and opposed to scientific etymology based on the analisis of different sources. Trying to find out the sources of toponyms, people are guided by the contemporary vocabulary of the native language, folklore canon and elements of the historic knowledge. Their synthesis results are the toponymia legends, popular stories about the origin and shanging geographic objects. Toponymia legends characters often are historic characters of the state and local scale. Some explorers suppose that toponymia legends are fantastic and interesting only as folklore. However toponymia legends can contain established facts about the historic past of the region. Mostly they are stories about people who lived there before, about first settlers whose names were reflected in names of settlements. The most reliable toponymia legends are ones about foundation of neighbouring villages by close relatives. In the Boksitogorsk district there is a legend about appearing names of the neighbouring villages of Maksimova Gora and Fyedorova Gora as a result of the separation of brothers. In the Leningrad Oblast the most popular historic character of toponymy legends is Peter I. The names of several Veps villages Pozharishche and Petrovo in the Boksitogorsk district are connected with the name of Peter I. In the first village Peter burned a vacant house, in another one he was given refuge by local inhabitants. At the Staroladozhsky Canal, where the Russian Emperor really visited, the names of settlements of Dubno and Sumskoye are connected with Peter I. According to the legend, Peter I thrashed a negligent engineer with a club in the first village and he left his travel bag in the another one. The interpretation of the Baltic-Finnish toponyms in respect to the popular etymology made by Russian population is spread on the Leningrad Oblast territory. This category of toponymia legends is the most fantastic. So to the south from Ladoga Lake in the Kirovsk district territory according to the local population stories, a number of toponyms is connected with the victory of the Russian troops over Swedes in the early 18th century viz: after the victory sumptuous feast was held (from here the name of the village of Pirgora) and the wail of glasses was heard far away (from here the name of the village of Voybokalo). According to the legend the village of Milodezh of the Luga district was originally named Molodezh, because of it was founded by the unreliable young people exiled by the tsar from St. Petersburg. According to the popular etimology, the name of River Oredezh has the Swedish origin and can be translated in Russian as "boundary", since the Russian - Swedish border passed along the River Oredezh in the past. In the East of the Leningrad Oblast the Veps population has a legend explained the origin of names of some rivers in Ladoga Lake basin: "Three sisters spent the night. They had no names. In the morning a mosquito buzzed, the Syas came out the first (Veps word syask" means mosquito). Then a man went to plough, it means the Pasha went out the second. The third sister woke later then others and said "Oy, Yat". It is translated in Russian as "Oh, they lost". And this river was named the Oyat".

Yegorov, Sergey Borisovich

Peter I, Emperor

Leningrad Oblast, the/Boksitogorsk District
Leningrad Oblast, the/Volkhov District/Dubno Village
Leningrad Oblast, the/Boksitogorsk District/Fyodorova Gora Village
Leningrad Oblast, the/Kirovsk District
Topographical landmarks/Ladoga Lake
Leningrad Oblast, the/Boksitogorsk District/Maksimova Gora Village
Leningrad Oblast, the/Luga District/Milodezh Village
Topographical landmarks/Oredezh River, the
Topographical landmarks/Oyat River, the
Topographical landmarks/Pasha River, the
Leningrad Oblast, the/Boksitogorsk District/Petrovo Village
Leningrad Oblast, the/Kirovsk District/Pirgora Village
Leningrad Oblast, the/Boksitogorsk District/Pozharishche Village
Topographical landmarks/Staroladozhsky Canal, the
Leningrad Oblast, the/Volkhov District/Sumskoye Village
Topographical landmarks/Syas River, the
Leningrad Oblast, the/Kirovsk District/Voybokalo Village

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