Ancient toponyms in south-west Norway

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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 (<i>primary naming</i>), suggesting an early date, or from a derivative word (<i>secondary naming</i>). Many Norwegian island and fjord names contain suffixes used in the Germanic period or earlier, e.g. <i>r</i> in <i>Sira</i> and <i>s</i> in <i>Jelsa</i>. These suffixes are also found in some unique settlement names from J&#230;ren (Mid-Rogaland), e.g. <i>Goa</i>, <i>Soma</i>, <i>Lima</i> and <i>Orre</i>, 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.


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