Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The World Gazetteer Project: Methodology and Criteria


4 - 5:30 pm. Conference 'El projecte del Nomenclàtor mundial: metodologia i criteris' (The World Gazetteer Project: Methodology and Criteria).

Conference given by Joan Anton Rabella i Ribas.

Abstract: The main aim of the World Gazetteer project of the Catalan Toponymic Commission is to set non-Catalan toponymic forms for public use in Catalan (media, dissemination work, etc.). For this reason, determining the toponymic corpus prioritises the more general forms of use that enable suitable identification of toponyms and their geographic location, either through adaptation to Catalan (e.g. Milà for Milan) or in their source language (Oxford), where Catalan has no specific form or said form is not in general use. In turn, as the project has progressed, we have seen that beyond exonyms with a historical tradition in Catalan, there are widely complex cases and situations that we have attempted to process in a standard approach, wherever possible.

The presentation will focus on setting out the main conflicts and the criteria followed by the Onomastics Commission in the Philology Unit charged with analysing toponyms from a linguistic standpoint. In this sense, it intends to provide a sample of the complexity of one of the least covered aspects in Catalan toponymics - exonyms - as well as present a project aimed at providing a useful tool for more general issues (the final project will include around 7,000 toponyms). In turn, the World Gazetteer has enabled us to see the difficulty in gathering systematic toponym approaches in such a wide and diverse field (where we must take into account the different adaptation levels of toponyms in Catalan, the existence of toponyms with more than one designation, language contact and the different recognition levels of these languages, the use of different transcription systems, etc.).

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