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Els topònims catalans en -et/-ell: entorn d'una tesi de Joan Coromines

Institut d'Estudis Catalans
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  • Design
  • Linguistics


In an article published in 1917 Manuel de Montoliu (BDC 5, p. 34-37) called attention to the large number of Catalan toponyms, derived chiefly from vegetable families, with the sufix -et / -eda < -E¯TU / -E¯TA, which are often paired with other place names ending in -ell / -ella the origin of which is perhaps diminutive (< -ELLU / -ELLA), for example Pinet / Pinell, Pedret / Pedrell, Cassanet / Cassanelles, i afins. Montoliu¿s analysis with respect to the origin of Catalan toponyms ending in -ell, was rejected by J. Coromines on the basis of criteria of phonetic chronology and, evidently, also of semantics. According to Coromines the place names ending in -ell are cases of the collective suffix -E¯TULUM (diminutive of the normal Latin -E¯TUM), which sometimes gives -edol (Cerdedol, Cardedol); but more often they appear amply represented among our toponyms in the form resulting from the normal phonetic evolution of -ETLU into -ECLU. Toponyms in Catalan ending in -ell are frequently found designating less important places next to another name ending in -et < -E¯TUM (...). This is thus a matter of a frequent toponymic use of a dimunitive applied to a comparable but less important place. In spite of this, Coromines¿s thesis does not seem to satisfactorily resolve the etymological problem of the second member of toponymic pairs of the type of Pinet / Pinell, Lloret / Llorell, etc., as Bastardas i Rufat (1994: 147-172) and Rasico (1996: 223-225) have pointed out. This study re-examines Catalan toponyms ending in -et / -ell in the light of a series of considerations of phonetic, chronological and geographic nature. It will particularly take ELS TOPONIMS CATALANS EN -ET / -ELL 165 into account various problems presented by Coromines¿s thesis, according to which place names ending in -ell were already formed during the period of Roman rule based on a botanic name plus the diminutive collective suffix -E¯TULU (PINE¯TU / *PINE¯TULU, LAURE¯TU / *LAURE¯TULU, etc.).

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