5th International Symposium on Place Names

5th International Symposium on Place Names: Recognition, regulation, revitalisation: place names and indigenous languages

Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens, South Africa, 18-20 September 2019

The Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment at the University of the Free State (UFS), in
partnership with the Joint IGU/ICA Commission on Toponymy, is pleased to announce the next biannual
international symposium on place names. Inspiration for the theme of ISPN 2019 comes from
the United Nations declaration of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages

The toponymic landscape of any place is inscribed with names from different periods of human
history. These place names are not only records of natural and social events, but also of indigenous
languages and language contact. Very often, place names are all that remain of certain languages and
even communities. However, place names are often not recorded in their original languages, but have
been adapted or translated into other languages over time. Researching the etymology of place names
is one way of uncovering this treasure of indigenous knowledge. ISPN 2019 aims to explore the
processes of researching, maintaining and restoring indigenous place names, as well as the
preservation and promotion of the indigenous languages from which these place names originate.


- Prof Charles Pfukwa (Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)
- Prof Peter Jordan (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria)

Potential subtopics

- Place names and indigenous languages
- Etymology of indigenous place names
- Regulation and standardisation of indigenous place names
- Indigenous place names and language development/maintenance/promotion/revitalisation
- Indigenous place names as artefacts of languages, cultures or historical events
- Other dimensions of indigenous place names: Administrative, commercial and/or economic, cultural and historical/commemorative, linguistic, physical, political

Important dates

Abstracts: Please note that only a limited number of papers can be accommodated, as all sessions will be plenary

- First Call for Papers November 2018
- Second Call for Papers February 2019
- Deadline for abstract submissions: 4 March 2019
- Feedback from scientific panel: 29 March 2019