Vol. 72 No. 2 (2024): NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics

Gender and the Urban Linguistic Landscape: Polish Street Naming Practices

Krzysztof Górny
University of Warsaw
Ada Górna
University of Warsaw,

Published 2024-06-06


  • toponymy,
  • hodonym,
  • linguistic landscape,
  • urbanonym,
  • gender,
  • Poland
  • ...More


This article examines the issue of gender (im)balance in street and roundabout names in Poland’s three largest cities: Warsaw, Kraków, and Łódź. The focus of this research falls within the area of urbanonymy, a field that has recently gained in international popularity. However, so far, Poland has received scant attention in urbanonymy, especially in the context of gender imbalance and feminist geography. As the current statistical analysis shows, Polish urbanonyms derived from male names considerably outnumber those derived from female names in Warsaw, Kraków, and Łódź. This paper provides a detailed data onomastic analysis of each of these cities, broken down by borough.1 This data presentation is preceded by a description of the public debate on urbanonyms and the role of women’s names in public spaces in Poland. This debate is becoming increasingly frequent in Polish media and public discourse; this topicality has resulted in campaigns to have the gender imbalance in Polish eponymous urbanonyms redressed. In Kraków, one in three streets is named after a man, and urbanonyms named after males outnumber those named after females by 12.2:1. In Warsaw and Łódź, 1 in 5 eponymous urbanonyms is named after a man, and those named after a male outnumber those named after a female by 9.4:1 and 7.4:1 respectively. As this research shows, many of the reasons for this disproportion are to be found in the histories and contemporary socio-political profiles of Poland’s individual regions.


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