Second call for papers: Fifth International Symposium on Place Names 2019

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Second Call for Papers
Fifth International Symposium on Place Names 2019:
Recognition, regulation, revitalisation:
place names and indigenous languages

Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens, South Africa, 18-20 September 2019

The Department of South African Sign Language and Deaf Studies (SASLDS) at the University of the Free
State (UFS), in partnership with the Joint IGU/ICA Commission on Toponymy, is pleased to announce the
next international bi-annual symposium on place names. Inspiration for the ISPN 2019 theme stems from the
fact that the United Nations have declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The toponymic landscape of any place is inscribed with names from different periods of human history. These
place names are not only records of natural and social events, but also of indigenous languages and language
contact. Very often, place names are all that remain of certain languages and even communities. However,
place names are often not recorded in their original languages but have been adapted or translated into other
languages over time. Researching the etymology of place names is one way of uncovering this treasure of
indigenous knowledge. ISPN 2019 aims to explore the processes of researching, maintaining, and restoring
indigenous place names, as well as the preservation and promotion of the indigenous languages from which
these place names originate.

Potential subtopics
Abstracts (250 words) can be submitted online at in the following
(but not limited to) categories of research by 4 March 2019:

- Place names and indigenous languages
- Etymology of indigenous place names
- Regulation and standardisation of indigenous place names
- Indigenous place names and language development/maintenance/promotion/revitalisation
- Indigenous place names as artefacts of languages, cultures, or historical events
- Other dimensions of indigenous place names: Administrative, commercial and/or economic, cultural
  and historical/commemorative, physical, political or linguistic, including place-naming in Sign
  Language(s) and by deaf communities

Keynote speakers
- Prof Charles Pfukwa (Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)
- Prof Peter Jordan (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria)

Scientific council and paper-selection committee
- Cosimo Palagiano (Italy): Sapienza University of Rome
IGU Chair – Joint IGU/ICA Commission on Toponymy
- Lucie A Möller (South Africa): University of the Free State
- Paulo Márcio Leal de Menezes (Brazil): Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Common Vice-Chair – Joint IGU/ICA Commission on Toponymy
- Peter Jordan (Austria): Austrian Academy of Sciences; University of the Free State
ICA Chair – Joint IGU/ICA Commission on Toponymy
- Peter E Raper (South Africa): University of the Free State
Member of the Steering Board – Joint IGU/ICA Commission on Toponymy
- Theodorus du Plessis (South Africa): Head – SASLDS, University of the Free State

Important dates

Only a limited number of papers can be accommodated, as all sessions will be plenary.
- Deadline for abstract submissions: 4 March 2019
- Feedback from scientific panel: 29 March 2019

- Registrations open: 1 February 2019
- Early-bird deadline: 1 July 2019
- Registration deadline: 5 August 2019
- Proof of payment deadline: 12 August 2019

Language of the symposium: English (special requests may be considered, subject to financial

Conference fees* (in South African rand, ZAR)
- Early bird: R3 500
- Standard: R3 750

Cultural tour: R2 050 – see the symposium page for further details.

Publication: Depending on the number and quality of papers, an accredited publication will be considered,
subject to page fees.

About Clarens
Clarens is a picturesque little town at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, approximately 300 km from
Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, and Durban (three to four hours’ drive). Delegates are responsible for their
own transport and for booking their own accommodation. We strongly recommend the free referral service
provided by Mount Odyssey. You can contact them at

Queries can be directed to Dr Chrismi Loth at

Workshop: Geographical Names: Management and Practice*
The symposium will be directly preceded by the workshop (16-17 September 2019, same venue).

The ISPN committee is dedicated to the development of toponymy as a field of research in Southern Africa.
In addition to the biannual symposia, we now offer a workshop in collaboration with international experts. The
aim of the workshop is to train a new generation of toponymists and to provide current, non-specialist
researchers as well as practitioners with the knowledge to improve the quality of their research. This workshop
offers a unique opportunity to students and researchers alike to hone their skills at the foothills of the Maluti
Mountains under the direction of the foremost experts in the field.

The workshop will cover the following topics:
- Geographical names and language
- Palaeotoponymy
- Social and practical applications
- Cartographic and technical applications
- Standardisation
- Research methodology
- Consultation with experts on participants’ own research

For more information on the workshop, contact Mrs Jani de Lange at

*NB: Subject to sufficient interest. Indicate interest by 28 February 2019.

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