Colour term ‘black’ in Estonian place names

  • Kaidi Rätsep


Must ‘black’ is considered to be the most common colour attribute in place names. The article provides a brief overview of must ‘black’ in Estonian place names. The data was obtained from kohanimekartoteek ‘place names card index’ of the Institute of the Estonian Language. In the index there are 1377 slips beginning with (or containing) must ‘black’, discounting within-parish duplicate slips 1081 place names were found. Altogether, 728 different place name variants were discovered. The most frequent occurrences of must in the nominative case were Mustjõgi ‘Black-river’ (frequency = 26), Mustjärv ‘Black-lake’ (22), Mustkivi ‘Black-stone’ (21), Mustoja ‘Black-rivulet’ (18) and Mustmägi ‘Black-hill’ (16). In the genitive case Musta talu ‘Black farm’ (22) was twice as frequent as the next most common, Mustitalu ‘Musti farm’ (11). According to the studied material the most common determinant was talu ‘farm’ (231), followed by mägi ‘hill’ (70), mets ‘forest’ (45) and heinamaa ‘hayfi eld’ (43).


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How to Cite
Rätsep, K. (2012). Colour term ‘black’ in Estonian place names. Eesti Ja Soome-Ugri Keeleteaduse Ajakiri. Journal of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics, 3(1), 129-154.