Title: Compass toponymy and space orientation in the Southern Low Countries before 1800
Authors: Ramandt, Andy
Vannieuwenhuyze, Bram
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Generalitat de Catalunya - Departament de Cultura
Host Document: Names in daily life. Proceedings of the XXIV ICOS International Congress of Onomastic Sciences pages:1648-1658
Series Title: Bibliotheca Tècnica de Política Liguïstica
Conference: XXIV International Congress of Onomastic Sciences edition:24 location:Barcelona date:5-9 September 2011
Abstract: Generally the so-called compass toponyms (meaning toponyms with one of the four wind directions as a
component) are discussed shortly and rather trivially. However, it seems that the use of these compass toponyms
was variable from region to region and changed through the times. Until now, this phenomenon was neither
mapped nor explained. For this paper, we focus on compass toponyms in the Dutch speaking parts of the
Southern Low Countries prior to 1800. We collected data from some extensive corpuses and gazetteers
including thousands and thousands historic micro-toponyms in these regions. These data are mapped by means
of the so-called Kloeke-system in order to gain insight in their spatial distribution over the centuries. These
maps allow us to draw an imaginary line between the regions where compass toponyms were commonly and
daily used and the regions where they were more or less absent. In the second part of our paper, we endeavour to
find a historical explanation for the distribution pattern and its evolution through the times. It is possible that the
use of these toponyms was influenced by administrative traditions, but it seems that advances in navigation
methods and the introduction of cartography also have played a role.
ISBN: 978-84-393-9162-3
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IC
Appears in Collections:Medieval History, Leuven

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