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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Alpkultur - A Project with New Methods in Onomastics

Author(s):
G Rampl
Austrian Academy of Science, Austria

This presentation introduces the results of a three-year project, „ALPKULTUR - Cultural-historical documentation of toponyms in the Alpine region,“ of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In this project, the historical evidence of all the names of alpine pastures/alps and mountains of the region of Osttirol (a county of Tyrol, Austria) were collected and analysed according to linguistic and culture-historical criteria. The region of Osttirol was of special interest, because it was the settlement for the members of three important language groups: the Romance, the Slavic and the Germanic (Bavarian) language groups. All three groups left linguistic traces in the landscape of names in this region.
Some results of the study, for example, selected interesting etymologies and their relation to the historical and cultural context of this region, are shown in this presentation. A special focus is on names referring to mining activities and ore deposits (as a support for the HiMAT-project at the Universtiy of Innsbruck). Another example is the reflection of the rural culture in the naming of certain places.
The project ALPKULTUR is particularly innovative, because it systematically studied name-data with the help of a Geographical Information System (GIS) right from the beginning. By means of this new technology essential progress is made both in the analysis and in the illustration of results. A plot using Thiessen-Polygons serves as an example for these up-to-date possibilities; it shows language and name layers respectively. Furthermore, it is intended to illustrate how the use of digital terrain models can improve the presentation of both these layers.

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