Saturday, 29 February 2020

Slovenia Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest Slovenian cities.

Ljubljana is thought to derive from Ljubija, the same as the river, and is thought to derive from the Old Slavic personal name 'the one of a lovely appearance'.

Maribor is a compound of Middle High German march 'borderland' and burc 'fortress'.

Celje is likely another from a personal name, here the proto-Slovene Cele or Celeae is possible.

Kranj is from a root borrowed from Romance Carnium and derived from the Carni tribe who, in turn, got their name from the Celtic root karno 'peak, hill, pile of stones'.

Velenje is almost certainly referring to the selo or 'village of Velene'.

Novo Mesto is a Slovene name meaning simply 'new town'. Earlier it was known by its German name of Rudolfswerde or 'the island of Rudolph', and a reference to Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria, who died in 1364.

Trbovlje seems to speak of itself a Trebovie selo or 'Trebo's village'.

Nova Gorica simply means 'new Gorizia', the earlier place name given by Count Meinhard I or also styled himself Graf von Gorz from around 1127.

Jesenice is derived from its location in or near 'ash woods'.

Skofja Loka tells us it was 'the bishop's wet meadow', and records show this was land held by the Bishops of Freising.

Izolais a Slovenian version of the Italian name of Isola and simply means 'island'.

Murska Sobota is generally known as simply Sobota by its inhabitants, itself linked to Hungarian szombat meaning 'Saturday', the day on which the city held its fairs. Other Slovenians refer to the place as Murska.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.

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