Lexicalization of Adjectives in Latvian Onomastics Cover Image

Adjektīvu leksikalizācija latviešu onomastikā
Lexicalization of Adjectives in Latvian Onomastics

Author(s): Laimute Balode
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Theoretical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Lexis, Baltic Languages
Published by: Latvijas Universitātes Akadēmiskais apgāds
Keywords: leksikalizācija; onomastika; antroponīmika; toponīmika; adjektīvi;

Summary/Abstract: The modern linguistic term of lexicalization is well-known not only in the analysis of appellative lexica, but also in the derivation of proper names. This article gives a small insight into the possible result of the process of lexicalization, illustrating it with examples of Latvian anthroponyms and toponyms, mostly hydronyms. They are Latvian first-names whose etymon - adjective with an indefinite ending (Smuidra, Vingra), some of them are found only in ancient documents (Bargs, Mazs). The only Latvian first-name, which comes from the adjective with the definite ending - Siltais - considered to be occasional name, recorded only once, in 1931. There are significantly more such anthroponyms of de-adjective nature among Latvian surnames: mostly they are motivated by person’s outward appearance and the person’s character. The most popular surnames of this group are coined from the adjectives with definite ending: Baltais, Platais, Resnais, Smalkais, Kuplais, Lielais. Quite often surnames are recorded with the same root both with definite and indefinite ending Jauns – Jaunais (even comparative degree Jaunākais), Skaists – Skaistais, Sīks – Sīkais. This type of the lexicalization of adjectives is especially frequent among Latvian nicknames: Bēdīgais, Čirkainais, Garais. Many compound names might be treated as questionable de-adjective or de-substative anthroponyms - Baltace, Melgalvis, Lielbārdis. Such lake names as Akls, Dūks, Rūgtens, Strups, also Nelabais in Latvian toponymy can be seen as traces of possible process of the lexicalization of adjectives, though now apparently, by analogy, most of these names are used together with the nomenclature word, for example, Nelabais ezers. Processes of lexicalization, in traditional onomastics called as substantivization and onymization, has not yet sufficiently been studied in Latvian.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 49-60
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Latvian