The hydronyms in Baisogala land

Laimutis Bilkis

The hydronyms–names of rivers, brooks, creeks, lakes or their parts–have been collected in Baisogala Valsčius (rural district) in 1935, when, under the initiative of the then Education Ministry of Lithuania the onomastic register of all lands in Lithuania had been made.

The key peculiarities of origin, semantics (motivation) and formation of hydronyms in Baisogala area are as follows: (1) according to their origin, the hydronyms originated from the Indo-European, common Baltic and Lithuanian layer as well as other languages should be distinguished; (2) the Indo-European layer comprises those names, which could appear even before formation of Lithuanian and Baltic languages–such names could be hydronyms Dotnuvėlė, Karupis, and Palõnas; (3) the group of common Baltic hydronyms is formed of those, the origin of which could be explained by the data of Baltic languages close to the Lithuanian – i.e., Latvian and Prussian; such river names as Kiršinas and Vilpesys can be attributed to this group; (4) it is enough to have Lithuanian words to explain the hydronyms of Lithuanian layer origin, moreover, the motives for their appearance also are clear; such ones are most numerous–59; (5) the Slavonic languages make the source of hydronyms originated from the words of other languages; such river names as Bydlago upelis and Spadavas ravas are attributable to this layer; (6) the most often motives for the hydronyms to appear are physical water qualities, i.e., colour, taste, odour, stream character and features of rive banks; moreover, there are quite a few names of rivers and lakes of plant and animal semantics (motivation) as well as those indicating their belonging; (7) according to word formation the hydronyms can be primary, i.e., coinciding with common words, and secondary, i.e., formed by applying additional means; (8) secondary hydronyms are derivative, compound and composite; the suffix type of word formation is most often and most productive (28 derivatives), slightly less productive is stringing (22 compounds), followed by ending derivatives (8), composite hydronyms (6) and prefix derivatives (2).