The influence of pre-Slavic ethnic groups on the hydronymy of present-day Slovakia
In this paper, we focus on the influence of pre-Slavic ethnic groups on the hydronymy of present-day Slovakia. The migration of entire ethnic groups – especially after the dissolution of the Roman Empire – led to contact between native and incoming people. Ethnic contact also affected languages of these ethnic groups, as mutual influencing and borrowing of vocabulary occurred. Incoming ethnic groups had to find their way around in the new surroundings as well as identify and distinguish important landmarks, mainly hills, mountains and streams. We can approach the issue of pre-Slavic hydronyms from two points of view: one, by analyzing the names preserved from the time period before the arrival of Slavs in the territory of Slovakia, and two, by analyzing the names whose origin some authors consider to be pre-Slavic. The oldest name of a river from the Slovak region comes from the time period before the arrival of the Slavs. It was recorded by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in years 166–180 AD as Granoua. It is a record of the river Hron at which Roman legions fought against the Germanic tribes of the Marcomanni and Quadi. Several historians and linguists believe that besides the rivers Dunaj, Morava and Tisa, other names of big rivers date from before the arrival of Slavs in the central Europe. In the paper, we analyse the names Dunaj, Morava, Váh, Hron, Tisa, Nitra and Hornád.
Copyright (c) 2016 Jaromír Krško
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