Is it legitimate to state that the landscape communicates by means of place names? It definitely is: by means of new place names coming into use over the centuries by human communities, as the result of the way in which their place of settlement has been inhabited, exploited and organized. However, caution should be exercised concerning what the names actually ‘communicate’, either explicitly or obscurely, and on occasion even ironically, so as to highlight specific natural or human characteristics, or even ‘deny’ them, as is the case with names like Montaùto (monte acuto i.e. sharp mountain) to the south of Florence, which is neither a mountain nor sharp. And a name like Bosco del Lupo, what does it mean? A woodland where a wolf was once seen or a woodland where usually wolves live? Characterized by a notable suggestive charge, place names reflect both objective conditions and perceptions, as evidenced by the frequent use of metaphorical or antiphrastic expressions. In Italy, from the Alps to Sicily, the frequency of metaphors is very high, and the landscape often speaks in allegories. The relationships between place names and landscape can be investigated by examining single environmental categories or the entire toponymic corpus of sample areas. If we look at some significant characteristics of the landscape, such as vegetation, the terrain shapes, waterways, human activities (including names concerning the world of agriculture and livestock), settlements, and roads, the terms of this fascinating “dialogue” between names and the landscape can be easily identified. Many examples are illustrated in the volume Nomi e carte. Sulla toponomastica della Toscana (Place names and maps. About Tuscan toponymy), edited by Laura Cassi, Pisa, Pacini, 2015.

Landscape and placenames / Cassi Laura. - STAMPA. - (In corso di stampa), pp. 0-0.

Landscape and placenames

Cassi Laura
In corso di stampa

Abstract

Is it legitimate to state that the landscape communicates by means of place names? It definitely is: by means of new place names coming into use over the centuries by human communities, as the result of the way in which their place of settlement has been inhabited, exploited and organized. However, caution should be exercised concerning what the names actually ‘communicate’, either explicitly or obscurely, and on occasion even ironically, so as to highlight specific natural or human characteristics, or even ‘deny’ them, as is the case with names like Montaùto (monte acuto i.e. sharp mountain) to the south of Florence, which is neither a mountain nor sharp. And a name like Bosco del Lupo, what does it mean? A woodland where a wolf was once seen or a woodland where usually wolves live? Characterized by a notable suggestive charge, place names reflect both objective conditions and perceptions, as evidenced by the frequent use of metaphorical or antiphrastic expressions. In Italy, from the Alps to Sicily, the frequency of metaphors is very high, and the landscape often speaks in allegories. The relationships between place names and landscape can be investigated by examining single environmental categories or the entire toponymic corpus of sample areas. If we look at some significant characteristics of the landscape, such as vegetation, the terrain shapes, waterways, human activities (including names concerning the world of agriculture and livestock), settlements, and roads, the terms of this fascinating “dialogue” between names and the landscape can be easily identified. Many examples are illustrated in the volume Nomi e carte. Sulla toponomastica della Toscana (Place names and maps. About Tuscan toponymy), edited by Laura Cassi, Pisa, Pacini, 2015.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1291255
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