Fifth International Symposium on Place Names 2019: Recognition, regulation, revitalisation: place names and indigenous languages

Chrismi Loth's picture
September 18, 2019 to September 20, 2019
South Africa
Subject Fields: 
Linguistics, Geography, Humanities, Languages, Urban Design and Planning

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.

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

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