Sunday, March 3, 2013

Algerian Society of Onomastics will come soon into the world

Society devoted to the onomastics is in process to be created in Algeria on the initiative of several researchers, as it was announced on Wednesday in Oran during a national symposium dedicated to this topic (, "Colloque d’Oran sur les noms des personnes et des lieux")

This plan will be effected "soon", giving rise to an official visibility which is indeed going to give a significant impetus to the Algerian onomastics, underlined Ouardia Yermeche, member of the scientific committee of this meeting organised by the Centre of research and social anthropology (CRASC), based in Oran.

"Toponymy and Anthroponomy in Algeria: political and practical. 50 years after independence", as the topic of this symposium, unites several national competences having in their assets research works in approached domains.

The organization of such a Scientific Society will be also supported by the edition of an Algerian magazine of onomastics, pointed out Mrs Yermeche, member of Research unit on the systems of name in Algeria (RASYD / CRASC) created some months ago.

With her communication titled "The Algerian onomastics: balance sheet and perspectives", Mrs Yermeche informed us that some steps have been done under the administration supervision in order to introduce modules specific for denominative forms within the university programmes.

These initiatives will also allow to enrich the data bank already set up as part of the national Research programmes (PNR), she said, mentioning the inventory of anthroponymes (77.000), while the Algerian researcher Brahim Atoui collected 140.000 toponyms.

These data are only a drop of water in comparison to the reality, noticed Mrs Yermeche to put necessity forward for the researchers to multiply inquiries and publications in regard to this area of study.

A reflexion on the norms of transcription of proper names, both for placenames and personal names, can be initiated by referring to anomalies in their orthography.

"Problems linked to placenames and personal names can find solutions only with competition and goodwill of all academics, institutions and the society generally", Mrs Yermeche suggested.

In its turn, the researcher Brahim Atoui (CRASC / RASYD)  in his intervention threw into relief dysfunctions raised across the odonymic road signs (placenames: street, place, building) as part of his scientific investigations.

Among other anomalies, a narrow rise of staircases called "avenue", a broad artery called "street", inadequate sites of road signs (hung on a window or even on the wall), false translations or wrong transliterations (ouled el aam Hamadi in "cousin Hamadi", or else "Debil" while the good orthography of the name of this locality of the Wilaya of sila Me is Ed-Dbil).

The researcher also mentioned, by places, "a dilapidated state of signs and a survival of some signs going back up to colonial period which hung sometimes next to the new post-colonial appellations".

"Naming the Algerian space is the most delicate task, but very urgent", pointed out Mr Atoui, because that it is about "our sovereignty, about our culture, about our memory and about our history".

My liberal translation from