Welcome to Cornish Onomastics

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Welcome to Cornish Onomastics

Welcome to the Cornish National Onomastics Research Group. We are a project hosted by the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter. We are interested exploring unique aspects of Cornish identity and language as expressed through personal and place names, and particularly how names have been shaped by the experiences of Cornish people and the […]

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Onomastics General

What is anthroponymy?

Anthroponymy is the study of personal names, the study of names in the ancient, historical, and present era. It may use data collected from inscriptions and memoria, manuscripts, legal documents, directories, or the Internet, for example. The study of personal names can shed light on who people were, where and how they lived, their occupations, […]

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Onomastics General

What is a ‘Brittonic’ or ‘Gallo-Brittonic’ Language?

When linguists talk about ‘Brittonic’ they mean an insular p-Celtic language or group of p-Celtic languages closely related to the Gaulish group (Russell, 1995, pp.15-18). These are related to q-Celtic languages from the Goidelic and Hispano-Celtic groups, although not closely. There are two competing theories attempting to place these languages on a family tree, broadly […]

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Onomastics General

Languages and Material Culture

The distribution of material culture, even when represented by inscriptions in a given language does not guarantee the presence of a living spoken vernacular, the use of Latin for monumental purposes being an obvious example where the language of the vernacular differs from language in a specific literary context. An initial search for methodologies that […]

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Onomastics General

What is the Cornish Language?

For those unfamiliar with Cornish, it is classed as a p-Celtic member of the family of Celtic languages, which was once spoken across much of Europe, and is now restricted to the insular world and Brittany: the only surviving languages being Cornish, Welsh and Breton (all p-Celtic), and Manx, Scots Gaelic and Irish (all q-Celtic). […]

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Onomastics General

Who are the Cornish?

It is largely now accepted that Britain has been systematically farmed and settled since the Neolithic Era (Malone, 2001, p11). The implication is that a network of settlements and system of land organisation was in place by the end of that period, and it follows that any settlements and significant topographical features would have had […]

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Onomastics General

What is toponymy?

Toponymy is the study of toponyms, names associated with topographic features, such as settlements, or natural features such as hills and rivers. There are two types of toponymy: (i) synchronic toponymy, which relates to the standardisation of place names, deployed by governmental organisations in particular, and to some extent minority language enthusiasts, and (ii) diachronic […]

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Onomastics General

Why study names?

Names are not simply ‘identifiers’, but have a particular value within literature and history. The names of actual persons carry additional information that relates to their referential context. This is what individuals and communities collectively believed about these individuals and the places that they were related to, perhaps linking to real events, folk traditions and […]

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