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On the Toponymy of the Iranian Azerbaijan

DOI: 10.4236/aa.2017.73010, PP. 146-153

Keywords: Toponymy, Topoformants, Azerbaijan, Iranian Place Names

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Abstract:

The article is a tentative classification of the toponymy of the Turkish speaking Iranian regions, now including Eastern and Western Azerbaijans, Ardabil, Zanjan and Ghazvin Provinces. Based on a comprehensive study the writer did, as of 2008, a database of 12,000 Iranian toponyms was collected from the series of volumes of Farhang-e joγrāfyāyīī-e īrān, (Iranian Geographical Encyclopedia), published by the Persian Army Survey (1949-1982). In addition, information was collected from local private libraries, and scattered articles from patriotic scholars like Ahmad Kasravi1. Finally, to update the data, due to the socio-political developments affecting the toponymy of the country during the recent years, several field studies were also done in the various provinces of Iran including Ardabil, Eastern and Western Azerbaijans, Kurdistan, Gilan, Mazandaran and Khorasan. The collected data were categorized from different aspects regarding the origin of the toponyms, their meanings, and their word formation procedures. This article aims to provide evidence that the original Iranian elements are present in the toponymy of Iran, including all Turkish speaking provinces, and that the linguistic shift from Persian to Turkish in the region, has by no means affected the ethnic Iranian characteristics and identity of its population, against all propaganda to impose Turkish origins and identity to the people of the region. The focus of the study was to locate the common Iranian topoformant suffixes found in the place names throughout the country. The article casts a particular look at the tentative etymology of a place name of the Iranian origin (Sām-aspī), attested in Ardabīl district.

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