Voices from the streets : trends in naming practices of Singapore odonymy
Perono Cacciafoco, Francesco
Tuang, Shu Qi
Date of Issue2018
School of Humanities
Past studies on Singapore toponymy have mainly focused on etymological aspects of individual street names as distinct units, overlooking the relevance of naming practices across different languages. Singapore odonymy is still a largely unexplored field. An investigation into naming strategies in Singapore street names can provide deeper insights not only into the field of Historical Toponomastics, but also shed light on both the history of Toponymy in the local context and among different ethnic groups „en masse‟. This paper explores trends in naming practices in Singapore odonyms belonging to three different languages, namely English, Malay, and Chinese. A randomized sampling of 50 street names from each language was collected and analyzed according to specific naming strategies, highlighting the following categories: descriptive, commemorative, thematic, and borrowing. Results show tendencies towards naming strategies of commemoration and borrowing for English-derived odonyms, descriptive for Malay street names, and a strong preference for commemorative naming for the Chinese-derived ones. Further examination of the odonyms suggests a combination of social, political, and historical-geographical factors underlying these multi-faceted naming processes. This paper aims at being a starting point for a series of studies on the almost unexplored field of Singapore Toponymy, developed through an approach that considers the social and sociolinguistic perspectives besides the conventional historical and etymological methods.
Review of Historical Geography and Toponomastics
© 2018 West University of Timisoara, Department of Geography. This paper was published in Review of Historical Geography and Toponomastics and is made available with permission of West University of Timisoara, Department of Geography. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.