Article published in:Language Contact and Development around the North Sea
Edited by Merja Stenroos, Martti Mäkinen and Inge Særheim
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 321] 2012
► pp. 53–66
Ancient toponyms in south-west Norway
Origin and formation
This chapter considers the origin and formation of old toponyms in Rogaland, south-west Norway, and relates to an ongoing discussion about the oldest toponyms in north-west Europe. A central question is whether names are formed with a productive suffix (primary naming), suggesting an early date, or from a derivative word (secondary naming). Many Norwegian island and fjord names contain suffixes used in the Germanic period or earlier, e.g. r in Sira and s in Jelsa. These suffixes are also found in some unique settlement names from Jæren (Mid-Rogaland), e.g. Goa, Soma, Lima and Orre, and they are common in old European hydronyms. Most names discussed seem to be examples of primary naming; however, while they seem to reflect ancient settlements, there is no convincing evidence for a pre-Indo-European element.
Published online: 18 April 2012