Flora Names In The Avar Toponym-Conversions


The article describes the system of toponymsconversions based on appellatives denoting the names of the flora of the Gergebilsky, Gumbetovsky, Kazbekovsky and Khunzakhsky, Bezhtinsky and Tsumadinsky districts of Dagestan and considers toponyms containing a biological term or name that exists in the Avarian toponyms and reflect different stages of the regional history. The article describes their ways of reflection and features of functioning in microtoponymy. The issue of the formation of regional phyto- and zootoponymy are of particular interest to onomatologists, since they touch upon nteractions between proper names and appellatives, semantics and functioning of toponyms. Due to the diversity of the botanical representatives of the phytotoponymic semantic type, in our opinion, in this article it is advisable to consider only the semantic type “Names indicating the tree species”, in which the initial appellatives are differentiated as coniferous and deciduous. The relationships within the Avaro-Ando-Tsezian toposystem denotes a circle of lexemes of the thematic group under consideration, capable of transforming into an onim-converse functioning in the toposystem of these areas. The possibilities of the appellatives of this group are not the same in the toponymy of the presented regions. Phyto-appellatives are mainly used as a generating basis for proper nouns. Almost all names are primary. The study analyzes the toponymic material of the Avar, Andean, Bezhtin, Dargin and Lezgi languages belonging to the Avaro-Ando-Tsez groups of the Dagestanian languages. The topographic names and microtoponyms collected by the authors in several areas of the Republic of Dagestan.

Keywords: Toponymic conversionappellativemicrotoponymy; semantics of a toponym; geographic terms; botanical terms


The toponymic space of Dagestan is due to its geographical position, which is already reflected in the name of the region – Dagestan is "Country of Mountains". Due to the fact that the intersection of several natural zones is observed on the territory of this region, it is natural to assume the presence of diverse vegetation, therefore, within the framework of the thematic group the semantic types of phytographic names are distinguished: 1) names indicating the tree species; 2) names indicating shrubby vegetation; 3) names of grassy vegetation (names of berry and fruit plants are also included here). The generic name for many trees is the appellative of рохь – "forest": РохьомегIер – “forest hill” (Tagirova, 2014).

Problem Statement

The toponymy of Dagestan is considered as a certain toponymic space in which phytographic names are considered as part of the toposystem. In the toponymic system of Dagestan, certain local phytonomination systems of a regional nature are observed. Continuing the study of the theory of a toponymic system, we are developing the idea of a toponymic system at a new linguistic and methodological level. The scientific novelty of the study is due to presentation pf semantic types 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 toponyms in Dagestan in the areas of residence of the Avars and Andians. Regional toponyms in various studies are investigated mainly by the traditional approach, i.e. in the system of linguistic disciplines. We consider the subject of research from the point of view of distribution area, lexical-semantic classification and structural-derivational characteristics – any proper name (toponym).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to describe the system of toponyms-conversives, the basis of which was the appellatives denoting the names of the flora and fauna of the Khunzakh, Kazbekovsky, Gergebilsky, Gumbetovsky, Bezhtinsky and Tsumadinsky districts of Dagestan.

It was found appropriate to divide the material collected in the field into two thematic subgroups – “Flora of the region (Phytographic names)” and “Fauna of the region (Zoographic names)”. In addition, in our materials, each thematic subgroup is represented by several semantic types.

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. The comprehensive description and analysis of toponymic facts can’t be performed with historical methods of research. 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, 2014).


The traditional structural approach focused primarily on identifying relationships within the toposystem, marking the lexical units of the thematic group, capable of transforming into an onim-conversion, functioning in a toposystem of the above mentioned districts. Toponymical conversion is the process of forming new words by changing part of the speech of the original word without adding any word-forming elements. At the same time, the basic form of the original word and the basic form of the new word are the omonims (Arnold, 1986).

However, when it comes to the formation of place names from nouns for example the definition of conversion above is not entirely fair, since both the original and newly formed word refer to the same part of the speech. Therefore, the term "way with zero toponymical affixation" or simply "place-name conversion" proposed by Superanskaya (1985) is used in place names.

The original word can refer not only to the category of household nouns, but also to other types of onyms (Otsomieva-Tagirova, 2007; Tagirova, 2017).

The deciduous species:

In the names of land with real property most often continue to meet the words гIечул гъветI – "apple», цIулакьо – "hazelnut", гени – "pear" and the names of other fruits and berries: ГIечул гъотIокь  – "under the apple tree», ГенугъотIохъ – "at the pear tree", ГенукIкIалахъ ицц – "the spring in the gorge where pear trees grow", Собо мегIер -"mountain of cherries" (Tagirova, 2014).

People who inhabited this area in the past, giving the name of a certain area, often proceeded from what vegetation or which tree species prevail in the area (Murzaev, 1976; Nikonov, 2011; Tagirova, 2017).

Toponym-conversions are the nomena of мах – "birch», "leafy tree with white (rarely dark) bark and heart-shaped leaves":

The Avar language:

Avar formal language, Ansaltin language: мах// махигъот1, Karakh: мах1игъвет1, Letalaw, Hunzakh dialects: мах// махигъвет1// махил гъвет1

Andalal: них1и

The Antsuh dialect: них1ил гъвет1// нех1

The Batlukh dialect: махигъвет1

The Oriental dialect: махигъет1

The Gid dialect: мах1ил гъвет1

The Zakatal dialect: нех1, the Cousur dialects: них1

The Andean languages:

The Munin talk: рохъоквешаб

The Rikvanin talk: беху

Bagvalin: идараб жвала

North Akhwahian: къеч1ул1и руша

South Akhwahian: жалол1и руша

Botlikh: г1урус руша

Godoberin: бехуй

Tindin: жвалил1а рогьа, Gakvar and Gigatlin talks: бехул1 вогьа and бехур

The Tsez language:

Bezhtin: мийе// мийеш хоьхоь

Ginukh: ми

Gunzib: мигье

The Inhokvarin dialect of the Hvarshin language: мигье// мигьес гъон

Hvarshin: мигьи// мигьис гъван

Tsez: мей

Махил рохь – "birch grove", Махилрохь – "birch forst" (old pronounced with the final –л, and the modern state – young people tend to simplify the language and omit it) (s. Mechelta, Gumb.r.), Махил гъот1охъ – "at the birch tree (locality)" (Tagirova, 2014); Мийейаъ – "where the birch tree" (hay), Мийераъ – 'where the birch tree' (gorge, mountain) (S. Bezhta) (Khalilov, 2010, 2015).

The nomen of чинари "beech», "a large tree with a smooth light gray bark and hard wood":

The Avar language:

Avar formal language, Ansaltin language: чинари, Karakh: мах1игъвет1, Letalaw, Hunzakh dialects: мах// махигъвет1// махил гъвет1// чинаридул гъвет1

The Zakatal, Kustur dialects: ц1епел

The Andi languages:

The Munin and Rikwanin talks: хо

Bagvalin: чинар

North Akhwah, South Akhwah: чинара

Botlich: чачан гьуди, Godoberyan: чинари

Karatin: чиран лъуда, Tukitin: ч1еркь

Tindin: чинари, Haquarin and Gigatin talks: чинара and чинар

The Tsez languages:

Bezhtin: пипе// пипеш хоьхоь

Ginukh: пепи

Gunzib: пибе

The Inhokvarin dialect of the Khvarsh language: лала

Tsez: пе1пи1// пи1пи1

Чинаридул гъотIохъ – "at the beech tree" (Tagirova, 2014); Пипекьа "the place where the beech grows" (arable land, hay, farm), Пипенаъ "beech's" (mountain, forest) (Khalilov, 2010, 2015).

The nomen of микк – "oak", "large deciduous tree of the beech family with strong wood and fruits-acorns":

The Avar language:

The Avar fomal language, Ansaltin, Karakh, Salavat, Khunzakh dialects: микк// миккидул гъвет1// миккигъет1//

Andalal: мик

Antsukh dialect: миккидул гъвет1

Batlukh dialect: микк

Oriental dialect: миккигъет1

Gid dialect: микк

The Zakatal dialect, the Kusur dialects: мерхъ

The Andi languages:

The Munin talk: ноджи

The Rikvanin talks: ноджи// ножи

Bagvalin: михьиц1улакьалъ роша

North Akhwah: ххалъи

South Akhwah: михьил1и руша

The Botlich, Godoberin languages: беч1уха руша

The Tindin, Gakvaran and Gigatlin talks: михъи-ц1улакьал1а рогьа

Chamalin: нику// никул1 вогьа

The Tsez languages:

Bezhtin: нигъе// нигъеш хоьхоь

Ginukh: рол1онук1а// нехук1ра

Gunzib: магь// мугь

Inhokvarin dialect of Hvarshin language: мухъурк1ас гъон

The Hvarshin language: мукъурк1а

Tsez: нах1у

Миккил рохь – "oak grove", the settlement of Dubki, Kizilyurt District, Миккирохь – "oak forest" (Tagirova, 2014); Нигъеяаъ -"in the oak forest" (pasture), Нигъеяаъас -"in the oak forest" (hey field), Нигъеъ -"in the oak forest"" (forest, arable land, hay) (S. Bezhta) (Khalilov, 2010, 2015).

The phytoappeallative of the general Avar origin – ц1улакьо "hazel nut" in the meaning of "tree bearing fruit with an edible core in the shell" completes the group with lexical units naming representatives of hardwoods trees of the Avar region.

The Avar language:

The Avar formal language: ц1улакьо, Ansalti: ц1увакьо, Karakh: микк// ц1улакьу, the Salavat and Khuzan dialects: ц1улакьо

Andalal: гьирк

The Antsukh dialect: ц1улакьо

Batlukh dialect: кьулач1о

The Eastern dialect: ц1улакьу

The Gid dialect: ц1олокъа

The Zakatal dialect: аракъи

The Kusur dialects: аракъил// мик

The Andi languages:

The Munin talk: къваал

The Rikvan talk: гъгъвагъгъвал

Bagval: ц1улакьа

North Akhwah: инкъ1ат1у

South Akhwah: инкъ1а

Botlikh: гъуркьа, the Godoberin language: ц1улакьа

Thindin: ц1улакьа,

Chamalinsky Haquinch1in and Gigatlin's talk: ц1улибакьа

The Tsez languages:

Bezhtin: гьел1е// гьел1айгъо

Ginukh: вахъи

Gunzib: гьел1е

The Inhokvarin dialect of the Khvarshin language: къ1укъ1ле

The Hvarshin language: х1ел1е

Tsez: вахъ1ар

The word is a part of the toponym-conversion as a producing basis : Ц1улакьодул рохь -"hazelnut forest», Ц1улакьодул к1к1ал – "hazelnut gorge», Ц1улакьодул гъот1охъ "at the hazelnut tree (locality)», ЦIулакьудул ах "hazelnut garden" (Tagirova, 2014).

Coniferous species

In the place names of the Avar region, the words calling conifers are represented only by the Avar Nomen, the original lexical unit of нак1к1игъвет1- "pine», "evergreen conifer with long needles and rounded cones."

The Avar language:

The Avar formal language: нак1к1// нак1к1игъот1, Ansaltin: нак1к1// нак1к1игъот1, Karakh мах1игъвет1, the Salatav, Khunzakh dialects: нак1к1игъвет1// нак1к1

Andalal: нак1к1

The Antsukh dialect: ник1к1ил гъвет1// нек1к1

The Batlukh dialect: нак1к1игъвет1

The Eastern dialect: нак1к1игъет1

The Gid dialect: нак1к1ил гъвет1// нак1к1

The Zagatal dialect: шам, the Kusur dialects: шам// шамил гъвет1

The Andi languages:

The Munin talk: рек1к1у

The Rikvan talk: беху

Bagval: гъорилъ роша

North Akhwah: ххел1у

South Akhwah: ник1к1вил1и руша

Botlikh: квана мачу гьуди, the Gogodober languages: кванйи

Karat: эжела, Tukit: рек1ул, ц1едир

Tindin: гъойал1а рогьа

Gakvar: йек1к1ул1 вогьа

Gigatl talk: ник1у

The Tsez languages:

Bezhtin: нихъе// нихъеш хоьхоь

Ginukh: ачит1

Gunzib: нихъ

Inhokvarin dialect of the Hvarshin language: зикас гъон

Hvarshin language: зекас гъван

Tsez: ачит1// зекус гъун

Often a toponym refers to a forest: Нак1к1ирохь – "pine forest" (the village of Mehelt, the river of Gumb), НакIкIил рохь -"pine forest", НакIкIирохь – "pine forest", the settlement of Amushi of the Khunzakh region (Khalilov, 2010).


The analysis of nominative units representing the thematic subgroup of Flora of the region (phyto-graphic names) suggests that many lexical units denoting the types of vegetation of the Avar regions have the ability to go into phytonyms-conversions and are recorded as in “real life” use. Though possibilities of the appellatives of this group are not the same in the toponymy of the these regions. Phyto-appellatives are mainly used as a generating basis for proper nouns. Almost all names are primary, the reason for the nomination, in our opinion, is the concentration of a particular tree species, shrubby or herbaceous vegetation on the territory of various objects (Tagirova & Khalilov, 2018). Grammatically geographical names represent a flawed paradigm (Murzaev, 1974; Superanskaya, 1957), that is, they function in the studied territory in the form of locative singular or plural cases. The names associated with the flora are characteristic of homonymy of Avars: ТIорщоб мегIер – “mountain where grass grows with ears”, КаругохI – “hill where mulberry berries grow”, Хьурулъ мегIер -“mountain where there are a lot of twigs for weaving”. In general, it should be noted that the productivity of botanical numbers in the toponymy of the region is explained by the relevance of certain plant species in economy of the region’s population. Also, the transition to phytoapellative toponyms does not lead to the final desemantization of the original lexical unit (Otsomieva-Tagirova, 2007; Tagirova, 2014).


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31 October 2020

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

Cite this article as:

Otsomieva-Tagirova, Z. M., Halilov, M. S., & Alieva, Z. M. (2020). Flora Names In The Avar Toponym-Conversions. 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. 852-859). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.10.05.114