Wednesday, February 24, 2021

CLIMOBLOG: Postgraduate Studies in Onomastics, Historical Toponymy and Early Brittonic


A new blog has been launched by a scholar who is writing a quantitative research thesis on onomastics in the Brittonic language of Early Cornwall. 

A wealth of historical and contemporary place name data is now available, and when blended with computer processing provides a tool able to model the processes of naming, language change and shift. However, at present there is no clear-cut methodological framework for this. 

For Cornwall and Scilly there are just under 6,000 places listed in the Ordnance Survey Open Names dataset, many of which are settlements carrying the names of individuals who lived in the Early Medieval Period. This data is yet to be ‘mined’ for potentially valuable historical, cultural and linguistic content, so a second goal will be apply what has been learned from the first part of the project to the toponyms of Cornwall and Scilly, review the geo-spatial distribution of settlement names and identify statistically significant or revealing data.

Crucially, questions of language change, retreat of the Cornish language, language shift, pattern and nature of settlement and general assumptions in toponymy will be reconsidered in the light of quantitative data produced by the project. It is intended to then make this data available for researchers in related fields.

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