Socio-onomastics deals with the use of names in society and the meanings that underlie them. The connection between the names we use in society and the role of onomastic studies in this regard will be discussed as follows.
There was an immense interest in onomastics and the study of dialects during the romanticism movement toward the end of the 19th century.
During this time, individuals and scholars looked to their ancestors in search of answers about their history. This search for identity involved studying a series of elements in the respective language. It became clear that language could be used as a tool to connect someone to their past.
The study of different dialects was believed to reveal important aspects of our past. Names were also used to locate the routes of old settlements. The study of socio-onomastics discovered that place names could form a direct link to our past. This is because the names of places do not normally change after new settlers make their home in an area.
Researchers study the lexicon included in place names to find out more about how people migrated to different regions. Furthermore, names have a strong socio-cultural function. Personal names simply make it easier to communicate with different individuals.
However, names are also useful for the social classification of an individual. A personal name can tell someone more about who the individual is and about their place in the community. The surname can even tell us to which family an individual belongs.
It is clear that the use of names is a tool we can use to connect to our past. Every name, it seems, has a connection to our past in terms of where we come from.
ICOS 2014 is an online space that allows visitors to learn more about onomastics. Readers can contact the site directly to learn more about the study of names in society.