Subject details

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of linguistic, socio-cultural, historical and geographic factors in the attribution of toponyms and place-naming
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the typlogical basis of toponymic analysis
  3. Analyse toponym data to answer the five principles used by toponymists
  4. Interpret and explain the ways in which people bring both personal and national identity into naming new and familiar physical environments
    • A week-by-week guide to the topics in this unit will be provided in the study materials.

No eligibility requirements

Special requirements

  • OtherDetails -


    Students who have an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion under Macquarie University's Academic Progression Policy are not permitted to enrol in OUA units offered by Macquarie University. Students with an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion who have enrolled in units through OUA will be withdrawn.

This unit deals with the role placenames (formally known as "toponyms") play in human society. On every map we may find a wealth of historical, cultural and linguistic information frozen in the names that people have given to places. Placenames also form an integral part of cultural and linguistic heritage, and may encapsulate details about the geographic nature of a named feature, when it was named, and who bestowed it. Moreover, toponyms may offer insights into the belief and value systems of the name-givers, as well as political and social circumstances at the time of naming. In many regions, they also reveal the chronology of exploration and settlement - Australia is a prime example of this. Through analysis of various forms of toponymic data, students will be invited to explore some of the issues mentioned above. The main focus of this unit will be on Australian indigenous and introduced toponyms. However, data from other parts of the world (e.g. Europe, Asia, North America and the Pacific) will be offered for comparative purposes where relevant.

The unit will also cover general toponymic research principles, the research process, ethical issues in research, defining research questions, data gathering, presentation, analysis and interpretation of data; disseminating research, organising reports, presenting results, effects on practice.

  • Essay 1000 words (20%)
  • Toponymic classification (30%)
  • Research Report, 3000 words (50%)

Textbook information is pending.