Ostmitteldeutsche Schlett-Toponyme im Spiegel von Besiedlungs- und Herrschaftsgeschichte und die Problematik ihrer Verifizierung1

Ein Beitrag zur Methodik der Namenforschung


  • Karlheinz Hengst




Toponyme, Namensforschung, Ostmitteldeutschland, Schlett


In the German language, there are toponyms with initial elements that are largely similar or even completely identical in modern times. In this article, two names beginning with Schlett- from Central Germany are used to show that, in a Slavic-German contact zone, in certain cases the historically
transmitted forms of toponyms do not reliably indicate their language of origin.
This is due to the fact that the tradition begins late (14th century) and the phonetic syllables do not allow a clear differentiation with regard to primary suffixation or dialectally weakened case forms. In addition, the basic elements of
the toponyms in the two source languages have two special features. First, they have a fairly identical structure: in both languages, they show the sequence of matching consonant phonemes, differing only in the vowel phoneme after the
first two consonants. Second, the two lexemes underlying the formation of the name have a corresponding meaning in each of the two languages. For this reason, a number of facts derived from the history of settlement and rule and from church history and national history in the contact area are included in the article to clarify the original forms. The effort to verify their linguistic origin leads to the following result; in the case of one place in the language contact area, it must be assumed that two names temporarily existed which formed independently of each other and with an identical motivation and virtual homophony.
In the case of the second place, an original form derived from a foreign language can be ruled out. Other toponyms with the element Schlett- from the Middle and Upper German-speaking areas are referred to for purposes of comparison and also as proof that other original forms could also lead to the present-day Schlett-.