Vol. 48 No. 3 (2000)
Research Article

From French to English: Some Observations on Patterns of Onomastic Changes in North America

Published 2000-12-01



Name studies have emerged as a true discipline of convergence, drawing on and bringing together the methodologies of several disciplines, mostly in the social sciences and the humanities. In this cross-fertilization process, there has been at times a tendency to forget that the core element of onomastic studies, the proper name, is fundamentally a linguistic unit belonging to a given language system, and therefore subject to the rules that govern the evolution of that system. Here, the sociolinguistic context underlying the transformation of names from one linguistic tradition to another is examined. More specifically, this paper deals with the evolution of French placenames in English-dominant areas of North America, and proposes a linguistically-based typology to account for such an evolution.


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