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Title: Hill-terms in the place-names of Northumberland and County Durham
Author: Nurminen, Terhi Johanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 9524
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2012
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The diverse and potentially highly nuanced topographical vocabulary used in English place-names constitutes a fruitful area of research within the fields of semantics and lexicology as well as onomastics. It has been observed in previous studies (Gelling 1984; Gelling and Cole 2000) that topographical terms are used in major settlement names of Old English (OE) origin consistently of landscape features of a particular type, often with highly specialised meanings, for instance OE dūn of a flat-topped hill and OE hōh of a heel-shaped one. This observation, which has been termed the Gelling hypothesis, is today regarded as valid for most, if not all, parts of England. In this thesis, I investigate the meanings and uses of hill-terms, that is, place-name elements referring to hill-features, in the place-names of Northumberland and County Durham, with special reference to previous work by Gelling and Cole. I argue that the Gelling hypothesis is valid in general in the study area, but also that the relationship between the topographical terms and the landscape features to which they refer is often not as straightforward as the hypothesis predicts. I extend the investigation to names of Middle English and Modern English origin, identifying specialised uses which suggest that the contrast in precision between the OE and later hill-terms is not as stark as the hypothesis seems to predict. I also examine the collocations of the commonest hill-terms, finding typical collocates and collocation patterns. This thesis is based on an electronic corpus containing all relevant names found on current OS Landranger 1:50,000 maps; the total number of names in the corpus is 2,227. The discussion of the meanings of the hill-terms is based on a detailed analysis of a representative sample of topographical sites through map-work and field-work, based on the methodological frameworks developed by Gelling and Cole, with the introduction of consistent and clearly defined terminology which allows for more objective analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available