Place Names as Sites of Commemoration
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The subjects of this paper are place names as immaterial sites of commemoration. In a linguistic perspective, the paper analyses how exonyms and endonyms are semantically up-loaded respectively re-loaded in use. Proceeding on the assumption that proper names have no “meaning” in the traditional sense, it is argued that, beyond their denotative semantics (pure reference to the place), they may be enriched with connotative semantics (encyclopedic knowledge, first; ideological belief, second) and with illocutional semantics (what is intended, or not, by using them). Historically burdened place-names turn out to be extremely susceptible to semantic re-motivation and pragmatic re-contextualization.
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