Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fifth International Symposium on Place Names 2019


First Call for Papers
Fifth International Symposium on Place Names 2019:

Recognition, regulation, revitalisation: place names and indigenous languages
Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens, South Africa, 18-20 September 2019
The Department of South African Sign Language and Deaf Studies (SASLDS) at the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with the Joint IGU/ICA Commission on Toponymy, is pleased to announce the next international bi-annual symposium on place names. Inspiration for the ISPN 2019 theme stems from the fact that the United Nations have declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The toponymic landscape of any place is inscribed with names from different periods of human history. These place names are not only records of natural and social events, but also of indigenous languages and language contact. Very often, place names are all that remain of certain languages and even communities. However, place names are often not recorded in their original languages but have been adapted or translated into other languages over time. Researching the etymology of place names is one way of uncovering this treasure of indigenous knowledge. ISPN 2019 aims to explore the processes of researching, maintaining, and restoring indigenous place names, as well as the preservation and promotion of the indigenous languages from which these place names originate.
Potential subtopics
Abstracts (250 words) can be submitted online at in the following (but not limited to) categories of research by 4 March 2019:
- Place names and indigenous languages
- Etymology of indigenous place names
- Regulation and standardisation of indigenous place names
- Indigenous place names and language development/maintenance/promotion/revitalisation
- Indigenous place names as artefacts of languages, cultures, or historical events
- Other dimensions of indigenous place names: Administrative, commercial and/or economic, cultural and historical/commemorative, physical, political or linguistic, including place-naming in Sign Language(s) and by deaf communities
Keynote speakers
- Prof Charles Pfukwa (Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)
- Prof Peter Jordan (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria)
Queries can be directed to Dr Chrismi Loth at
Workshop: Geographical Names: Management and Practice*
The symposium will be directly preceded by the workshop (16-17 September 2019, same venue).
The ISPN committee is dedicated to the development of toponymy as a field of research in Southern Africa. In addition to the biannual symposia, we now offer a workshop in collaboration with international experts. The aim of the workshop is to train a new generation of toponymists and to provide current, non-specialist researchers as well as practitioners with the knowledge to improve the quality of their research. This workshop offers a unique opportunity to students and researchers alike to hone their skills at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains under the direction of the foremost experts in the field.
The workshop will cover the following topics:
- Geographical names and language
- Palaeotoponymy
- Social and practical applications
- Cartographic and technical applications
- Standardisation
- Research methodology
- Consultation with experts on participants’ own research
For more information on the workshop, contact Mrs Jani de Lange at

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