It has been recognised by scholars for some time now that -j, -aj/-ej is to be considered an obsolete Hungarian place name forming suffix; however, various uncertainties have arisen with respect to its origin and function. These uncertainties are reflected in the Hungarian-based etymological and morphological labels applied to such items occurring as place names still in use today in Lajos Kiss' An Etymological Dictionary of Geographical Names. More recently, it has been pointed out that the crucial factor in this issue might be a conversion, with no additional suffixation, of Slavic personal names ending in j into Hungarian place names. The present paper, considering obsolete place names as well as those in use today, comes to the following conclusions: 1. Derivational suffixes of Hungarian and of Slavic origin cannot be mistaken for one another since their differences go back to important onomastic, phonological, morphological, as well as territorial criteria. 2. The Hungarian suffix -j (-aj/-ej) goes back to Uralic/Finno-Ugric origins; its function was clearly possessive, without a component of diminutivity. 3. The Hungarian suffix is a specific product of early Old Hungarian (10 -13th century) place name formation. Its productivity came to an end relatively early on but the number of place names involving it and still recoverable today is substantial. The paper also raises some more general issues in historical onomatology, especially with respect to etymologies of proper names.
L.Benko, no address given, contact the journal editor
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