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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

The Correlation between Part and Whole in Altai (South Siberia) River Names

Author(s):
O Molchanova
Szczecin University, Poland, Poland

Throughout the ages, many philosophers, psychologists, logicians, etc. have attempted to establish one irrefutable approach to the problem of parts and wholes. Philosophers emphasise the priority of a whole over its parts (holism). Psychologists’ basic principle is that the integrated whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As for logic, it deals with the relation of part to whole and the relations of one part to another part within a whole. Without going into minor detail, I will try to present a few general characteristics that enable me to introduce the concept of part-whole into toponomastics. Among them are sequential properties for identity which include splits and mergers. Thus, a series of tributaries can merge into one river, and each tributary bears a part of the main river's name and its own identity, in this way contributing to the identity and integrity of the whole river basin – a fact considered so important in river exploitation. For example, in the Altai region, the Čarġï (river) has the following tributaries: the Čičke-Čarġï, the Muqur-Čarġï, the Tüs-Čarġï, the D'aan-Čarġï, the Ulus-Čarġï, and the Üstigi-Čarġï; the river D'aan-Korgon has the following tributaries: the Antonov-Korgon, the Belogolovcev-Korgon, the Bol'šoj-Korgon, the Gorelyj-Korgon, and the Malyj-Korgon; or the lake Kindiktü-Köl has its splits labelled D'aan-Kindiktü-Köl and Kičü-Kindiktü-Köl. River or lake basins are perceived as an integrity not only on account of interconnected names of tributaries and splits with the main river or lake, but also because of including upper and lower reaches of a river, for example, into the integral system of one and the same split entity by giving the names of the main river (Čarġï-Bažï, Čarġï-Oozï; Qayïŋčï-Bažï, Qayïŋčï-Oozï; Balïqtu-Kool-Bažï, Balïqtu-Kool-Oozï, and others).

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