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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Island names are an interesting category of names to study. Not only do they have an air of mystery and adventure associated with them, owing to their being surrounded by water and difficult to reach, but being often among the first places to be settled—and thus named—island names are etymologically interesting and provide us with insights into language history, migration patterns, and, not least, the mentality of our ancestors who named these places. In many areas, however, island names also bear witness to a less favourable side of humankind—colonialism. Alongside the great discoveries of new worlds and peoples in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries came the wish for commercial exploitation of these newfound places. Many names of islands throughout the world reflected, as some still do, the mind-set of the colonizing powers, a trait which is only being remedied now in our post-colonial era.

Keywords: island names, etymology, migration history, mentality history, geopolitics, colonialism, naming principles

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