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Image: Josefin Divine

Place names tell a story of older times

PhD project within the industrial Doctoral School at Umeå University. The project was finished on 26 March 2021 when Josefin Devine defended her thesis.

What does a village name like Mjövattnet mean? Josefin Devine's research on settlement names focuses on when, how and why a name exists in the form it has today.

Project overview

Project period:

2014-12-01 2020-04-15


the industrial Doctoral School 50 %,

The Institute for Language and Folklore 50 %

Support from Kungliga Gustaf Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur and Landsprosten Erik Anderssons Minnesfond.

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Language Studies

Research area

Language studies

Project description

My research combines intangible cultural heritage and historical linguistics. I deal with onomastics and use place names as material to, for example, outline a course of events in our settlement history.

I interpret place names, that is, examine which linguistic components are included. This can provide clues to a dating of the name (and possibly the settlement itself as well). Linguistic studies of both older and younger names also give us the opportunity to understand how and what people used to think regarding their surroundings.

Latest update: 2021-04-07