Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Dictionary of Place-names - Book Review - Huddersfield Student - October 08 Edition

Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names RRP £10.99

Have you ever passed through the village of Goole? Or Wetwang? Heard of Cocking? Or Box? Or just generally saw a sign that got you wondering who on earth thought up such a name? Well this book has all the answers and some rather sensible explanations when examined. The Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names is a great resource for researching into this little curious part of our language and its history. Plus it’s handy to satisfy any interested historian or curious mind, which kind of fills both my tastes.
This book not only has quite a few pages to explain the history and origin of place-names but also regarding the different aspects of names such as those place names which are named after a person, a geographical feature, a natural feature or to do with a reference to the town itself. Even which language it came from be it Old English, Saxon, Celtic, French, Danish, Swedish, Irish and Norwegian.
All these various place-names explained really do make you realize how much our landscape and language has changed with all the invasions and cultures and people who had continuously migrated, moved or traded with our homeland.
I myself did a project study into the origins of place-names in my local North Yorkshire during my second year and I can now proudly say, due to the help of his book and others that at least 98% of North Yorkshire is of Danish/Norwegian/Swedish origin. This means we are Viking Country. Wahey! Makes sense as we were where the heaviest invasions occurred and the first part of the Dane Law.
Although it’s not a must-read-page-turner of a book it could help spawn a few ideas for any personal or academic project or dissertation. So never misjudge an interesting, curious book as boring, it may turn out to be a good read.

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