Names Of Geogenic Objects Among Dagestan Microtoponyms


Microtoponymy represents the world as it is seen by a rural resident, a toiler, the world in which he lives, which he contemplates, senses, comprehends, cognizes, reflects and reflects – the immersion of a villager in specific conditions of life. And this diversity is reflected in toponymic names. The subject of this study is a review of the main types of geogenic microtoponymic names in the territory of the peoples of Dagestan, which are one of the components of their toponymic worldview. They, as the most ancient onyms by their origin, are of particular value for research, contain information about the nominated geographical object, give an idea of human life and the relationship between society and nature. The study of geogenic formations, as the most ancient lexical strata, is relevant in terms of identifying their potential in objectification of the physical and natural conditions of the Avar ethnic group, the type and characteristics of economic activity, allows you to establish a historical past, restore the boundaries of settlement. They reflect any real or metaphorical features of the object. The names of the Avar geogenic objects are considered from the point of view of the principles of their nomination, their specificity is revealed and characteristic features are highlighted through a systematic description of the onomastic vocabulary of a particular region. Once arisen, microtoponymy was developing gradually, in parallel with mankind which for centuries has been characterized by both the appropriating and production types of economy.

Keywords: Regional toponymyproprialitygeogenic objectsappellativemicrotoponymsemantics


Microtoponymy is closely connected with the surrounding reality, with a person, his consciousness, his spiritual and practical activities. It represents the world as it is seen by a rural resident, a toiler, the world in which he lives, which he contemplates, senses, comprehends, cognizes, reflects and reflects – the immersion of a villager in specific conditions of life. Microtoponymy distinguishes names of geogenic and anthropogenic objects. Reflecting certain features of geographical objects, they give an idea of human life and the relationship of society and nature. The natural-anthropogenic system consists of natural systems partially altered by human activity. Examples of natural anthropogenic systems include mountain meadows under the influence of grazing. Anthropogenic environment consists of man-made natural systems, which, however, develop under the constant influence of man. Human settlements present the most altered nature. And this diversity is reflected in toponymic names (Tagirova & Khalilov, 2018).

Problem Statement

The toponymy of Dagestan is considered both as a specific toponymic space, and as a kind of toposystem. In any language system, there is a special category called the propriety category, which “... can be represented as a class of language elements – words, names, distinguished, existing on the basis of such a general parameter as the relation to the object of reality (person, living being, object) established in the process of endowing, naming it with a special, special name for marking purposes and being the cumulative result of this naming” (Klimkova, 2008, p. 43).

The category of propriety is opposed to the appellatives (common nouns) onyms (proper names). A toponym is the proper name of any geographical object (Podolskaya, 1978). A microtoponym is the proper name of a small natural physical-geographical or human-created object which is known within a small group of people living in one place and which usually reflects the nature and properties of the named object (Popov, 2007). Moreover, according to Aldinger (2008), “a plan of onyms' content can be more complicated than a common name, because proper names, as a rule, have vivid national-cultural semantics” (p. 37).

The scientific novelty of the study is due to the fact that geogenic formations are presented as the most ancient lexical strata of a toponymic system, based on an analysis of its functional properties and a systematic description of onomastic vocabulary of a particular region.

Research Questions

The subject of the research is the linguistic features of the names of geogenic objects of Dagestan in the areas where Avars, Andeans, Dargins and Lezghins live. We consider the subject of research from the point of view of the history of the emergence of a toponym, its etymology, distribution area, lexical-semantic classification and structural-derivational characteristics.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of this study is the analysis, description and preparation of material for the vocabulary representation of geogenic object names within the toponymic system of Dagestan, presented on the example of the Avar, Andean, Dargin and Lezgin languages. Geogenic objects being the most ancient are of particular value for research. They, as the most ancient onyms are of particular value for research, contain information about the nominated geographical object, give an idea of human life and the relationship between society and nature.

The main goal of the simultaneous study of toponyms of a given region is to determine the organization of different toponyms of one territory and establish a toponymic system.

Research Methods

During this study, in addition to general scientific research methods, a descriptive one is a main one. The geographical method of toponymic research is based on the use of popular geographic terms.

The cartographic method is used to establish patterns of placement of toponymic phenomena, the dynamics of their development in time, spatial relationships and dependencies, both between individual toponymic facts, and between them and various kinds of social and natural realities reflected on maps. A full description and analysis of toponymic should always include historical research methods. Toponyms reflect the relationship of man to nature that has developed over a long historical period. But the main methods of our research are linguistic: etymological, formant and word-formation and semantic analysis of toponyms (Tagirova & Khalilov, 2018).


Microtoponymy distinguishes the names of geogenic objects created by nature, forming a natural landscape: forests, meadows, streams, ravines, hills, etc., and the names of anthropogenic ones created by man as a result of the use and transformation of natural and geographical objects: fields, gardens, ponds and etc. (Abdullaev, 1965; Otsemieva-Tagirova, 2017). In order to distinguish anthropogenic and geogenic objects by residents in a certain territory, proper names are used and are still being used – microtoponyms. Therefore, it makes sense to say that microtoponyms are individualized names of geogenic objects (created by nature) and anthropogenic ones (modified natural, as well as created by man in the process of his economic activity).

Noting the features of natural geographical objects, people have always sought to give them names – markers that serve to find ways around. The smallest details did not escape the attention of a person, therefore the motivation for the names is different.

Depending on the principles of nomination of geographical names on the territory of Gergebilsky, Gumbetovsky, Kazbekovsky, Khunzakhsky, Akushinsky, Dakhadaevsky, Kaitagsky, Levashinsky, Sergokalinsky Districts, the following groups of microtoponyms are distinguished:

  • based on characteristics of the object itself (qualitative);

  • connected with man and his activities (possessive);

  • based on the location of the object (locative).

Among microtoponyms, the largest group consists of the names of geogenic objects of a qualitative nature. The following subgroups are available here:

  • according to the shape of the object: Avar: Ченгèлрохь (Бакъда) – “forest that looks like a tin can”, Хьагахъ – “at the pots”, ТIассахьаг – “an upper pan”, Хьаг – “pan”, Гъоркьахьаг “lower pan”, Бóржуне гóнгал (гьадил гъутIи) – "flying hollows, hollows, beams ”, Болъода гьарáс – “a cliff on the stairs”, ЗанитIа – "a mountain resembling a boundary or gravestone”, КартIýнохъо – “hole-cave”, Хъелéкищо “hill – crest ”, ГIансáгохI “hill – staff ]", ЗангáлгохI – from зангал – "earrings (like a hare)";"hill – earrings ",ТIину бихьулареб кIкIал -"endless gorge", ГIарахъ – “the mountain is a haystack”, КIилагьоркьо – “between two mountains”, ШогьомегIер – “mountain Shokho”, ИчIгохIал – “nine mountains”, БегIер гохI – “sharp mountain”, ЧинчигохI – “Chinchi mountin”, ЧIетIераб щоб – “a narrow hob", Нухлул щоб – "a range with the road", ГIебщоб -"a wide range", Шибсаб – "Shibsab Mount , БегIераб мегIер – "a sharp mountain".

The Lezgin language: Яргъи гуьне – “a long slope”, Кьуд чIикар – “four pieces – slope”;

The Dargin language: Шурла дубура – “a mountain of Boulders”, Къалала бекI – “a head of the Fortress”, Хьар лаккила бекI – “a head of the lower lift”, Кьумур букIала кьякь – “a bump on the tray of the hill”, Хизрила хъяб “Neck of Khizri”, КIантIбукIла дубура – “a mountain of dropping”, ТIярхъбар дубура – "a holed mountain", ГIямбела дар – “a pile of layers”, Ттамла хъали – “drum house (premises)”, Карила бягI – “slope of a bakery”.

  • by color: the Avar language: ЧIегIер гIор – "black river", ЧIегIер рохь – "black forest", ЧIегIер тала – "black glade", ЧIегIер бакълъи – "black sun", ЧIегIерасул хур – "field of black", ЧIегIер хьунлъи -"a black shade sun", ЧIегIерзазикь – "by the black thorn", ЧIегIераб нохъо – “a black cave”, ЧIегIераб ицц – “a black spring”, КIалчIегIерих – “at the black mouth”,ЧIéгIератIáлу – “black lump”, ЧIегIерав чиясул ссан – “hayforel of a black man”, ХъахIрохь – “white forest”, ХъахIаб лъар «a white river", ХъахIаб хур «a white field», ХъахIаицц – "a white spring", ХъахIаб нохъо – "a white cave", ХъахIаб гIуро – "a white turf", ХъахIаб кIкIал – "a white ravine", ХъахIаб куракухъ -«by the white apricot tree", ХъахIаб нохъодул кIкIалахъ – "by the ravine of the white cave", БагIараб кьури – "a red rock", БагIархIатIикIкIал -"gorge with a red clay", БагIаркIкIал – "a red gorge", БагIараб кьурул нохъо – "a cave of the red rock", БагIара нохъо – "a red cave", БагIараб кIкIалалъул гомог – "a valley of the red gorge", БагIарлъалабалъ – "reddish area", БагIараб майдан – "a red valley", БагIараб хъирубакI – "locality with red sandstone", ГIурччинрохь – "green forest", ГIурччина хIор – "a green lake", Месе-дил хIор- "a golden lake", Меседил гохI – "a golden hill", Меседил гъогъолъ – "by golden stones", ХъахIил кьури – "a blue rock", ХъахIилаб нохъо – «a blue cave", ЦIахIилаб ганчIихъ – "by a grey rock", ЦIахIилаб гухIихъ – "by a grey hill", ХъахIикIкIал – "to the gorge where the river flows through blue land";

The Lezgin language: Яру кьил -“red small hill”, ЧIулав рагар – “black rocks”, МичIи хуьлер – “dark grooves”, Лацу рагар – “white rocks”,ЧIулав шим -“black rotten rock”, МичIи хуьлер – “dark grooves”;

The Dargin language: ИтIин гIянччинна къатти – “red clay ravine”, ЦIяв гIянччинна гIянччухъ – “white clay deposit”, Къарасув гIиниц -“black water source”, ХIинтIена бяхI – “red slope”, ХьанцIала хъва хъяб – "the heights of blue tilled field", БухъуцIа шури – "yellow rock" , ХIинтIин ше гIиниц – “red spring water”, ХьанцIа гIиниц – “blue spring”, ЦIуба гIиниц – “white spring”, Бухъуше гIиниц – “yellow water spring”.

  • by natural resources: the Avar language: РикIкIинохъó from «рикIкI» -“Alum Cave”, ГIеркъинохъó – “a cave with earthen lumps”;

The Lezgin language: Къизил дере – "golden ravine", Накьв эгъуьндай пел – "the slope where clay is mined";

The Dargin language: ХIягунаг дубура – “silicon mountain”, ЦIицIбукъкъалла шери – “a pond of leeches”, Ирзенна къатти – “a gorge of forest onions”, ХIянкулла къатти – “a gorge of wild garlic”, КIварас гIянччинна гIянччухъ – "pottery (construction (yellow, sticky) clay", Гъургъулла къаттала хьхьуни -“the road of the gorge of stones” (in the territory of the village of Amuzgi gurgul “a hard rock of stone from which millstones were made for mills”).

  • according to the size of the object: the Avar language: ГIатIидáкIкIалалъул кьýрай – “rocks of the wide gorge”, ГIатIидакIкIал – “a wide gorge”, КIудянохъó – “a big cave”, КъвачIилкъор – from къваридаб i.e narrow” – “a narrow cave”, ГIáчIгохI – "a salient hill", Къваридаб кIкIал – "a narrow gorge", КIудияб кIкIал -"a big gorge ";

The Lezgin language: Чхи муьрз – “a big crest”,Дар кIам – “a narrow gorge”, Гьяркьуь рекьин пел -“the beginning of the wide road”;

The Dargin language: Хула эркI “a big river”, БиштIел шур – “a little boulder”, ГъярцIа иникъ – “a narrow cave”, Хулай ругири – “a big hollow”,ДибгIя ругурти – “a small hollows”, Хула шури – “a big rock”, Хулал хъуми – “big arable lands” , Бухъен хъу – “long arable land”, Хула гIями “a big hole”, Ахъил зиндяв “a high pipe/duda”.

  • according to the characteristics of the flora (that is, geobotanical objects): the Avar language: Санидабайдáн – “barberry glade”, МáхалI -“in birch trees”, КýракукIкIал – “apricot gorge”, НуцIцIида кIкIал – “gorge at the reeds”;

The Lezgin language: ЧичIек салар тIур – "a hollow of onion gardens";

The Dargin language: Хъиххвала хIулгъи – “a walnut grove”, Кварккила бахча – “apricot garden”, Кьвярчила бахча – “a peach garden”, Ирзенна къатти – “a gorge of the forest onion”, ХIянкулла къатти – “a gorge of wild garlic”, Силби – "the field where sprouts were grown", Ччимбала хIулгъи, ЧIигIя къатти – “reed gorge”, Махъла бурхIила – “birch sunny slope”, Хъярла диркь – “a pear glade”, Серхьила кьакьа – “a gorge of wild garlic”, Жунубург – “cornel hollow”, Къябкъурела къада – “a walnut gorge.

  • by fauna features: the Avar language: БáцIикIкIал – “wolf gorge”, ГIáнгури кIкIал – “a gorge where jackals were found”, Маккикъор – “pigeon cave”, ХIáйнохъо – “a cave where donkeys take refuge”, ЦIудул кIкIал – “eagle gorge";

The Lezgin language: Данарин кул – “standing of heifers”;Чинер кIунтI – "the hill of devils ";

The Dargin language: ХахбицIалла къатти – “a gorge of the jackals”, Кьяцала музе – “a top of the goat”, Массала хъарахъ – "a winter standing for small cattle (lit. sheep)", ХIяйгванталла пермe – “a farm of animals”, Ваца ттал – “mouse-hill", Къачнелла зинукь – "calf standing", ТIужела гIямри -“holes of badgers ”, ХЪирхъала гIиниц – “jackdaws spring”, ЧIакала лис -“eagle rock ”.

  • names of objects directly or indirectly associated with natural phenomena: the Avar language: ЦIедидабайдан – “on the fire platform”, ГIайнсил рагIáл – “land with snow piles”, ЦIáгьари кIкIал -“a gorge where the Tsagar river flows (River-fire)”, ВазýнарагIáл – "the place where you can freeze”;

The Lezgin language: Мезре вирин гуьне “a slope at Mezra lake”, Мезре вирин тахта – “a lLevel place at Lake Mezra”.

The Dargin language: Ябни дирхъяб кьакьа – “a narrow gorge, where the horses were chopped”, Чибил хьянабил вацIа “forest on the upper northern slope”, Убил хьянабил вацIа – “forest on the lower northern slope”, Китти кьячIурмела хъяб – "overpass over higher turns", Утти кьячIурмела хъяб -“overpass of the lower turns”, Къяба бяхIлигьабил рабттар шури – “Boulder-book on the slope of Kyaba ”, ЖугьутI кавшиб къаттабил гIиницц – “a spring in the gorge where a Jew was killed ”, Шин духIнаб иникъла хIянкьявти – “depressions with water inside the cave ”.

A significant group is formed by possessive microtoponyms included in the following subgroups:

  • otanthroponymic names: the Avar language: ГIелýн ккура гамáчI – “the stone near which Elune was caught”, Аминил ХIажиясул нохъó (цIакъ цIаларав чи вукIун вуго), ГIабдýлагьил нохъó – “a cave of Abdulakh”, МурáдигохI – "a hill of Murad" or "the hill where they ask for the dreams to come true", СалихIилгIýро – "a glade of Salih ";

The Lezgin language: Гьажибубад гуьмбет "the grave of Hajibuba, where they ask for the dreams to come true";

The Dargin language: Чупа МухIяммахъа хъво бяхI – “the top of the arable land of Chupanov Magomed”, ГIяппи ХIяжихъа инцIабил шилкьан – “the mill of Appi Gadzhi on the shady side”, Алсунхъа хъулрела гIилатти хабри -”the cemetery behind the house of the Alsunovs", ХIявала гIиниццла итебил майдан – "a glade on the Hyava spring", ГIяппа цIилтта гIилатти хъуми – “the arable land behind Appi monumnent”, ГIяппа цIилтта гIилатти мурби – “mowing behind Appi monument”, Шейх ГIяхмадла пир – “Sheikh Ahmed’s sanctuary”, Табат хъускяряхъив хIялмук – “the path along which Tabat was dragged."

  • Names giving information about ethnicity: the Avar language: БуцIулдерил рохь – “Butsrinsky Forest”, ГьоцIдерил рохь – “Butsrinsky Forest”,

The Dargin language: ГIярабла хIябри – “Arabian cemetery”, ЖугьтIалла къатти – “a gorge of the Jews”, ЖугьтIалла хирби – “Jewish cemetery”, Эрмунтелла хIарби – “Armenian cemetery”, Эрмунтелла хIябри – “Armenian cemetery”, ГIянди шяри – "Andiysky pond", Булугунала гьуни – "Lak road", Булеччу рурсила цIелтта -“the momument of a Lak girl”, ГIарбукI хьурабиргьван мусса – “the place of rest of the Arbuktsev / Kubachintsy”.

  • Names giving information about the socio-economic situation, about the profession of people living or residing: the Avar language: ЦIогьóрасул кIáратI – “thief’s hole”, ГьардюхъазулгохI;

  • “Beggars' hill”, ВехьукIýне гамачI – “the stone on which the shepherd sits”/

The Dargin language: Уцмела гIиниц – "utsmela spring”, Уцмела хъуррела бахIла ургIурми – “thrashing-floors of the slope of Utsmiev’s houses”, ГIяшикьалла уригIи – “a thrashing floors of the beloved”, РягIят хъарахъ – “the dependent Kutan”, Бяйла хъарахъ – "Kutan bai", Шяттякьи башан гьуни – "the road on which beggars go".

  • names that in one way or another reflect the activities of people: the Avar language – РучнáкIкIал – “a gorge, where there is a corral”, КилýтIа (from хьил – “dry sheep droppings”) – “on dry sheep droppings”;

The Lezgin language: ТIула авай никIер – “arable land in the hollow”, Накьв эгъуьндай пел – “a slope where clay is mined”.

The Dargin language: ГIянччукъабас дурази “The digger’s thrashing floors”, БяхIили уттан мура – “Kosyemy Byakhi' mow”, Кьадихъа мура – “Kadiev’s mowing”, Кьадихъа мура – “on a thrashing floor", КьвятIале – “on a dryer (a place in the garden where fruits used to be smoked and dried) , Урчи руркъу хъябла хьхьуни – “a road to the horse training pass”.

In addition, we considered it possible to include microtoponyms and names in this group that reflect popular beliefs about unclean forces, since they are also associated with a person, provide information about a person’s perception of the sacred and help express his attitude to the sacred: the Avar language – Квертазул кIкIал – “a gorge, ravine with buildings."

The Dargin language: Вагьигла къада – "witch's gorge", Жагьанабла къада – "a hell, hell's gorge", ШайтIа шурми – "rocks, boulders of the devils", ШейтIунталла къатти – "the gorge of the devils"

The names of locogenic geogenic objects possess fewer microtoponyms. The following subgroups can be identified:

  • according to the name of the nearby geogenic object: the Avar language: ГьецIóхи -“Getsokhi”, ГIéмерчуда – “Emerchuda”, ХIохIóда кьурó – “the rock of Khokhod”, Сиди гьарссáл – “gorges of Sidi”, Нахъигьурди гьарáс -"behind the Gyurkuldy gorge", Гьакъýкьнохъó – "a cave in Akutl area", ЩунтIáлагохI – “the hill in the Shuntala area”, ЩунтIáла гIýро – “glades in the Alula area”, Нахъбакъда – “glades in the area of Shuntala”, Нахъбакъда – “behind the sunny side”, ГIалъада рохь – “forest in the area of Atlada”, Жанирохь “Inner forest”, Шогьо – "Shoho area";

The Lezgin language: Такъилдик квай чка “a place at Takil”, Бандинал алай чка – “the place at the dam”, Саругълан къазмайрихъ – “at the dugouts of Surugalan”;

The Dargin language: Уркяряхъи аркьян гьуни -“the road is going in Urkara”, ГIуцIари хьхьуни – “the Road to Itsari”, Хайдакьла бягI – “the wall of Kaitag”,Мажалисла къатти – “Majalis Gorge”, Ирчантла бягI – “the irchants' slope, by the settlement of Irici. "

  • according to the name of a nearby anthropogenic object: the Avar language: ГIелýн ккура гамáчI- "the stone, near which Elune was caught";

The Dargin language: Чамсулвара дигIянвирган дуцца – “the forest in which Chamsulvara hid”, Шихилавли бецI кабушибил чIянкI – "the glade where Shikhilav killed the wolf", Ккиккидай кайчиб шурми – “rocks from where Kikida fell.”

  • according to the location of one object relative to other (geogenic and anthropogenic) objects from a position of range / proximity: the Avar language: Чочóлракьанда- “chval, chval”, Рóсулъа гъóркье кIкIал – “the gorge going through the village”, ТIинкIлýкь кIкIал – “the gorge, where there is a dripping spring”, РóгIорокIкIал – “the gorge through which the pipe goes,”Гьаркью гохI – “an inner hill”, ТIáдгъуни – “on the upper hill”, Щолада – “In the area of Shcholada”, Иццуда кIкIал – “a gorge at the source”;

The Lezgin language: Вини вирел – “on the upper pond”, Вине чIур – “haymaking on the upper pond”, Къвензих галай чка – “the place behind the stone ”, Шенбийрал алай никер -“ arable lands on Shenby ”.

The Dargin language: ГъвярцIа къатте чяххи – “the waterfall of a narrow gorge”, ХьанцIа хъва бухIнала – “the inner side of blue arable land”,Лаккурбалла кьакье – “at the top of the heights”, Даглигун – “the garden in the middle”, Музела хъвянтI – "the nape of peak", Chyatyalya peaks (Upper Chyabyan), Читтир хьане хъяб – "the height of the upper northen slope", УбяхI букерла къатти -“Gorge of the lower cattle site"/ (Temirbulatova, 1991).


Thus, the names of geogenic objects in the Avar microtoponymy are semantically heterogeneous. The analysis of microtoponyms showed that names of a qualitative nature prevail among them. This phenomenon is associated with the desire of people to notice the features of natural geographical objects and give them names – markers that serve to orient themselves on the ground, which is especially important for rural residents.

Thus, the human environment is heterogeneous. It is subdivided into the natural environment where natural processes dominate, and the anthropogenic one, in which processes initiated by man prevail (Superanskaya, 1957). Thus, the significance of the proper name stands out in the language plan. It levels proper names with other parts of speech, highlighting and combining them with each other. At the same time, the main thing at the language level is the assignment of a word to a proper name. In this regard, those who limit the semantics of the proper name are right to the certain extent. For example, to understand a toponymic name, it is enough to understand one or several unfamiliar words – proper names, by their sound, phonetic composition, morphological components – for a deeper understanding of the meaning, a more careful attitude to the components contained in it is required (Tagirova, 2010).

At the same time, many names of geogenic objects indicate a direct connection of geographical objects with man and his economic activity. This relationship is revealed by microtoponyms of a possessive nature. Locative microtoponyms give us approximate information about the location of objects.


Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

31 October 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Otsemieva-Tagirova, Z. M., Temirbulatova, S. M., & Ganieva, F. A. (2020). Names Of Geogenic Objects Among Dagestan Microtoponyms. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 843-851). European Publisher.