Onomastics in Interaction With Other Branches of Science. Volume 2.

Hungarian Family Name Typology and the Question of Onomastic Dialects

János N. Fodor
Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary


Similar to common words, the spatial division of proper names is a natural by-product of linguistic change. During the process of language change, the influence held by territoriality can be demonstrated (to differing degrees) within the total linguistic system; the existent dialects that emerge as a result of this influence thereby justify the separate examination of linguistic levels. The international study of geonomastics emphasizes the connections and correlations between dialects and proper names. A question still remaining for researchers to answer is whether the territoriality of proper names is merely the result of dialectological properties, or if a deeper process is at work: do names indicate a different level of name dialects? In opposition to its earlier definition, in this case “onomastic dialect” does not refer to one particular name’s isogloss, but rather to regional onomastic units. This investigation concluded that territoriality exerts a fundamental influence on the name types found in a given language’s surname system. The paper introduces some name typological, regional differences found in the Hungarian name system as analyzed by the Atlas of Historical Surnames in Hungary (AHSH) Project. Analytical measurement methods (Bray-Curtis dissimilarity, clustering) was applied in this investigation. I found that in the Hungarian surname system, regional groups of surname types can be distinguished, which can actually be considered as “surname dialects”.

onomastic dialect, geonomastics, anthroponomy, surname region, typology, clustering

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