National Identity Of Kazakh Toponyms In The Context Of Multilingualism


In the Republic of Kazakhstan, there are thousands of place names, and etymological bases that have been developed for centuries, which in turn are the national heritage, the heritage of the Kazakh people. At the same time, Kazakhstan does not currently have a toponymic catalog, which is systematized by regions of the country with a brief etymological meaning. In addition, it is necessary to conduct research on toponymy of Kazakhstan on the basis of historical-comparative and historical-typological methods to determine the lexicological and phono-morphological patterns of transfer of ancient names of geographical objects to the modern Kazakh language. As a result of the project, we obtained – a modern catalog of geographical names of the Republic of Kazakhstan with etymological meanings in 4 languages, followed by intellectual property protection in the form of an author's certificate. Research in this direction is not carried out in Kazakhstan, there are no analogues of such research in the country. Currently, it is very important for science to compile a list of toponyms of Kazakhstan, their interpretation in 4 languages for publication in the world, and their transfer to the Latin alphabet. Paying attention to the above, in order to introduce a huge heritage into scientific circulation and collect data on the regions of the country and their pronunciation in 4 languages, is important today.

Keywords: Catalogetymologygeographylinguisticstoponymy


We live in a world of names. Names surround us and serve as a reliable indicator of places where something is, or something has happened. Toponyms have been created by people for hundreds or even thousands of years. This is the people's memory of the events of the long and recent past, of victories and defeats, of trade and cultural ties. Therefore, we should be interested in the history of the origin of geographical names left to us by previous generations. The study of toponyms helps in revealing our rich history. This is especially important because old geographical names can often be the only echoes of bygone days and events.

Ancient toponyms of Kazakhstan as materials of historical vocabulary are very valuable. It is especially obvious that in the territory of the modern republic various ethnic groups existed throughout the whole time, and onomastic materials, like the remnants of their languages, are huge facts that contribute to the disclosure of the basic concepts and conceptual essence of these languages. In the framework of toponymy in recent decades, the formation and development of ethnolinguistic, linguistic and cultural studies has been observed, designed to identify the relationship and types of correspondence of language and spiritual culture, folk mentality, refracted in the human mind. In methodological terms, these studies represent a wide range of possible approaches to the study of linguistic material - from the reconstruction of basic linguocultural concepts of a linguistic personality and the subsequent interpretation of toponymy, the linguocultural being of a regional toponymic system in the ontological and mental aspects to the substantiation of a psycholinguistic experimental study of a verbal-associative network of reactions to toponyms, demonstrating individual strategies of human speech behavior (Baksheev, 2001). Until now, in toponymy there is no holistic concept of a linguistic personality, demonstrating the relationship and processes of interaction of toponymy, the language as a whole, the picture of the world, culture in a “spatial” perspective. Meanwhile, a reliable establishment of the linguistic and cultural specifics of the region’s toponymy is possible only taking into account the human consciousness, its linguo-cognitive mechanisms, value dominants, language competence, the degree of involvement in the cultural and historical situation of the regions of Kazakhstan (Meirbekov et al., 2014).

Problem Statement

The study of the onomastic trends in the interaction of cultures, history and traditions ethnolinguistic contacts, strengthened in the names of geographical names of population, is always an important and promising task in understanding the true values of any nation. Currently, in Kazakhstan, onomastic studies, in particular in toponymy, are carried out in fragmentary parts, so that there are still whole oblasts where any toponyms are known only in the local dialect, and their historical and linguistic origin and their semantic, etymological values are not represented in scientific sources. Also, huge information in the context of languageness, dialectometry and carrying the history of the population of the ethnic group any territory is enclosed in conservative and historical strata of the vocabulary of the language - place names. In this regard, the study of place names of any country acquires an important national and cultural value, which in turn affects the increase of patriotism of young people, love for the Motherland, spiritual development and modernization of public consciousness of the people. Research aimed at the collection, systematization and classification of toponomic materials and its introduction into scientific circulation is always relevant.

Nomination is a steady and continuous process in space, when the process of mentioning a goal, a phenomenon occurs in the process of human cognition of the environment, its decomposition into the category of zones.

And the object-the ascertaining, having the possibility of self-promotion in the world, and realizing the original activity-the person himself. However, the degree of human participation in this act is not the same. Thus, the ancient onomastic names, which appeared chronologically earlier, perceive, master and use the modern linguistic community as a result of the collective creativity of the ethnos. This is mainly a question concerning the names of geophysical natural targets.

In the process of cognition of the surrounding world, a person, naming its individual parts, on the one hand, groups common names, and on the other - individualizes the name. Due to the end of the nomination at the appellate level, the onomastic nomination will continue.

Scientists say about the onomastic nomination: "The onomastic nomination is selective concerning all named objects, except people and places where they live. Both are required to have proper names as public necessity requires. The object that falls into the field of human attention receives a proper name, either from an already existing fund inherited from previous eras, or a new one created in this particular act of nomination.

To form the structure of knowledge about the world, the universe, the individual, first of all, must fragment the accepted meaning of truth and form its own individual mental constructors. One of the ways of formation of new knowledge, mental segmentation and accumulation of the purpose in consciousness is the language name (nomination).

Geographical names are everywhere and always the result of our thinking. Without toponyms there was no civilization, relations between peoples and countries. And the development of culture and science and dynamically developing international relations lead to new, expanding reserves of geographical names in our language. This function of toponyms is the most important and necessary for human society.

The toponymic vocabulary of any language is an internally organized and ordered system. The study of this language subsystem is of great importance for both onomastics and general linguistics. Promising is the anthropocentric direction in the study of toponymic vocabulary, aimed at studying the units of the toponymic system in close contact with the mental and spiritual-practical activities of human, as it allows us to explore this system as a product of human cognitive activity. When studying the fund of toponyms in close cooperation with the national history, culture, spiritual wealth, the way of true knowledge of the nature of toponyms of the two countries opens. Therefore, the study of the national and cultural outlook of different ethnic groups from a cognitive point of view by toponyms is an urgent problem today.

Research Questions

Geographical names as a more stable and less variable part of the linguistic units of different historical oblasts in relation to the living language reflect the different periods of the evolution of ancient languages. A comprehensive study of place names allows researchers to find new forms of language units. These linguistic units provide invaluable assistance in solving the problems of linguistics, especially the problems of ethnolinguistics and ethnosociolinguistics, deeper and complete knowledge of traditions and rituals, legends and fairy tales, folk tales and all that is called the "living history" of the people. That keeps in its Color values belong to one of the oldest layers of vocabulary of any language. All color meanings, which are part of the oldest layer of vocabulary, except for the semantics of color, in many other languages, are endowed with symbolic semantics. They acquire special importance in place names (Khisamitdinov et al., 2019).

The place and importance of toponyms in the knowledge of the world through language, the definition of mental cognitive characteristics of toponymic language units is one of the urgent problems.

Thus, the most promising and relevant are the cognitive-pragmatic aspects of the toponymic system of language considering the laws of speech nomination and human thinking in the use of toponymic vocabulary. The article deals with semantic, motivational features of toponymic nominations, their linguo-cultural, socio-linguistic, pragmatic, cognitive and conceptual features, as well as a wide range of linguistic problems that allow to control the relationship between a person and the object of toponymic engraving. Combining system-structural and semantic methods of research of toponymic material allows to reveal the essence of the processes of primary and secondary toponymic nomination. This allows us to define cultural connotations, associations, symbols and other concepts of place names.

Toponymy in the second half of the XX century becomes the object of special attention of linguists, historians and geographers, but the clarification of the origin of toponyms and the establishment of their semantics remains one of the most complex and at the same time interesting tasks facing researchers (Telkozha, 2011). At the same time, many names are still not explained at all. Remains very poorly studied toponymy of the Western and southern oblasts of Kazakhstan, which is devoted to a few works of Abdrakhmanov (1996); Kokeeva et al. (2016); Mirzaev (1974); Sagyndykova (2011) and others. This project, a priori, involves new provisions and results, as the country promotes the modernization of public consciousness in the context of common history, culture and language. Literary analysis of toponymy of Kazakhstan showed that at this stage there is no modern etymological, sensible catalog of toponyms of Kazakhstan in the oblasts with illustrations and in 4 languages – Kazakh, Russian, England and the newly adopted Latin script. The significance of the performed research at the national level is justified by the compliance of the solved problems the State program of development of productive employment and the mass of entrepreneurship in 2017 - 2021 "Engbek" and also promotes the implementation of integrated actions of the national project "Zhastar – el tiregi" and the special project "Tugan zher", implemented across the country.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the project is to organize a toponymic expedition to the Republic of Kazakhstan: to create etymological catalogue of geographical names in 4 languages (Kazakh, Russian, English and Latin), as well as on the basis of historical-comparative and historical-typological methods of lexicological, phono-morphological patterns of transmission of ancient geographical names in the modern Kazakh language.

Research Methods

During the research, along with purely linguistic methods of research, research methods of other sciences were used: descriptive, systematized, computational, classification, cognitive, conceptual analysis, methods of component analysis. At the same time, the simulation of the concept of cognitive matrix was applied to toponymic, cultural information and data analysis, comparative, statistical-frequency methods in concept frames.

The description used in the research, systematization, comparison, summarization, classification, analysis, helped to give cognitive-linguistic, linguistic-conceptual, linguocultural, semiotic characteristics of the material being analyzed.

Analysis of literary and stock materials using a systematic approach, as well as theoretical developments, pedagogical experiments are the basis of our research. As theoretical and methodological prerequisites of the Project are modern methods of research of onomastics, developed by foreign Ermolovich (2001); Lakoff and Johnson (1990); Stewart (1975); Superanskaya (1985) and by Kazakh scholars Bektasova (1996); Koyshybaev (1985); Tleuberdiyev (2006) and others.

Toponymy is a complex science, therefore the Project will use the data of linguistics, history, geography, ethnography and archeology. And also, comparative, etymological, areal and word-formation and comparative historical methods of research will be applied.

Also, in the project for an integrated approach in the interpretation of toponymic fact we used structural and statistical elements of sociolinguistic research methods. In addition, survey methods will be used to determine the nature and spatial distribution of place names.

For a comprehensive study and description of the toponyms of Kazakhstan, in the oblasts of the multi-ethnic population we used the following methods: a synthesis of cognitive and communicative approaches, the application of the tools of the theory of speech activity, of the theory of speech acts, semasiology, pragmatics, psycholinguistics and suggestive linguistics. It should be noted that toponymy is a specific object of research, methods of phenomenology and hermeneutics will be used in the characterization of properties and processes in toponymy. In the analysis of language material the following methods are used: scientific description, comparative, semiotic; the study of the semantics of local geographical terms and nomens was also carried out through etymological analysis.


The main materials and theoretical conclusions of the planned research can be used in higher education institutions for lectures in the field of cognitive onomastics, cognitive linguistics, nomination theory, psycholinguistics, biolinguistics, special seminars and courses, development of textbooks and teaching AIDS. The results, theoretical conclusions and principles of the study allow us to draw conclusions of a new level in research on the Kazakh toponymy. The findings and results of the study can be used in further study of theoretical and practical issues of the new scientific discipline – cognitive onomastics and onomastic linguoconceptology, preparation of monographs in teaching, textbooks for higher education institutions, as well as special courses and seminars on onomastics, toponymy, linguoculturology, cognitive linguistics, social linguistics.

The practical result of the project is the creation of an electronic catalog and the development of a website, where it should be noted that in the digitalization of information about the population of the Republic of Kazakhstan such developments have not yet been carried out. Organization of information web-server is a tool for the delivery and exchange of information, is much cheaper than the organization of other media (media).

All of the above determines the distinctive features of the Project.

Scientific and practical success will be in the implementation of a new website developed for the Kazakh tourism industry, and it can be used at the national level through the development and sale of advertising and promotional products. In this regard, research related to national unity, modernization of spiritual culture and patriotism of the country is an important and socially significant project that has the potential to educate the younger generation of reverent attitude to their native land. Disclosure of the onomasiological essence of toponyms, determination of their historical and semantic merits, systematization of toponymy in the regions of our country for the development of the tourism potential of each region of Kazakhstan through the created electronic website. Thus, determining the place of onomastic concepts of the Kazakh worldview as structures that determine the ethnocultural features of the linguistic image of the world, systematizing the knowledge and ideas of the Kazakh people about the geographical name in the national cognitive base and its core structural element, toponymic space is relevant and its modern interpretation is the basis of this project.


The results of the project in the form of toponomic data will be used in the development of educational and scientific materials as a basis for the development of spiritual, cultural and patriotic values of the peoples of Kazakhstan, implemented in the educational process of universities, scientific specialists of interdisciplinary historical, linguistic and sociological disciplines, in the course of linguistics, in special courses of onomastics and toponymy. In the future, the results will be used in all educational institutions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in the tourism industry, in administrative governing bodies for paperwork, land relations and others, as well as the fundamental foundations of which can be used in interdisciplinary science (linguistics, conceptology, cultural studies and sociology). The work was carried out with the financial support of the Ministry of education and science of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the framework of the scientific project AP08053105.


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27 February 2021

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National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

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Meirbekov, A. K., & Meiirbekov, A. K. (2021). National Identity Of Kazakh Toponyms In The Context Of Multilingualism. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 613-619). European Publisher.