Friday, September 22, 2017

Stylistic-rhetorical analysis of urban place names in the Copenhagen cityspace

Today I'd like to introduce Dr. Line Sandst who holds a PhD degree in onomastics from the University of Copenhagen (2016). She studied urban place names and commercial names in Copenhagen with an emphasis on the city dwellers perspective, grammaticalization, how to create a sense of place and modern name giving.
As the thesis has been written in Danish, please, find below the abstract in English. 


The PhD thesis is an exploratory investigation of urban toponymy (urban place names) in the capital city of Denmark, Copenhagen. I investigate the formation of proper names and meaning-formation by use of urban toponymy and the motives behind name choices. The main focus lies on the city user’s encounter with written proper names in the cityscape, but proper names in written forms on maps and in public archives, and also proper names in spoken language are investigated in order to reach a greater understanding of meaning-formation by use of proper nouns depending on different communication situations.

With the outset in three different study areas I investigate thee distinctive features of urban toponymy present in one of each of the study areas recorded through field studies. Each study area is a representative for one of the themes investigated, but the investigated themes are not specific in the sense of not being present outside of the study areas or in other cities.

The urban names in study area one in the Copenhagen City Centre are investigated from the angle of name formation and meaning-formation. On the basis of commercial names I present and examine four different “strategies” for coining proper names and meaning in a broader sense according to what I have observed. I present a strategy I call a positioning discourse for proper nouns in the cityscape, I investigate the potential for meaning-making by the use of multimodality in proper names, I discuss name formation using definite appellatives, and discuss a young type of proper names in Danish language coined by a prefixed locality describing appellative in a fixed appositional position to the second part of the compound name as a means of coining an ‘instant proper name’.

The urban names in study area two in the development area of the Carlsberg District are investigated from an angle of place branding. I examine an e-mail correspondence between a group of mainly city developers and the official naming board in Copenhagen prior to the announcement of twelve new official names of squares and streets on the 1st of August 2014. I examine the motives behind the suggested names by each interested party and I look into why certain names are rejected and others are chosen.

The urban names in the third study area in the district of Nørrebro are investigated from the angle of proper names used to create a notion of a city within the city by primarily investigating street names. I discuss the concept of group named areas in cities as a rhetorical tool with the potential of what I call onomastic scale reduction. I discuss how and when this strategy is successful and why and why it sometimes fails

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