German-Slavic settlement and language contact in the region between the rivers Saale and Neiße – presented on the basis of selected place names
The rivers Saale and Elbe mark the western border of the former compact Old Sorbian region. In the north Old Sorbian borders on Old Polabian, in the East and Southeast on Polish and Czech. Proper names are an important source both for shedding light on the history of settlement as the underlying ethnic, linguistic and social context, since the processes of historical settlement are reflected in the historical documentation of place names. The historical documentation of place names, their derivation and the reasons for the naming of places as well as the phonological and morphological features of proper names of the Old Sorbian contact region contain numerous traces of the Slavic-German continuity. The article, which is based on extensive studies of place names, presents some selected examples. In the Old Sorbian region a number of features of place names and their historical documentation provides indications of German-Slavic contact in settlement and language, for example:
1. Distinct determining words in place names,
2. Parallel name giving with the result of temporary parallel names for the same place,
3. Name changes in the historical documentation,
4. Translation of place names,
5. German-Slavic parallelism in the underlying motives for place names,
6. Secondary assimilation of an Old Sorbian place name to an element of the superstrate language (German),
7. German-Slavic place name doublets,
8. Distinct added elements,
9. German-Slavic and Slavic-German hybrid names.
Copyright (c) 2016 Inge Bily
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