JoLIE 10:2/2017


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Floriana Popescu

Dunărea de Jos University of Galați, Romania






During its millennia-long history, the word eponymy has been assigned several meanings. Nevertheless, up to the beginning of the 20th century, none of them has been related to linguistics, although the word is similar to synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, paronymy, etc. which are part of the linguistic terminology. Within the current perspective, eponymy is closely related to the coining of new words used to denote both realia and irrealia. As such, eponymy is a metalinguistic term whose meaning places it within the comprehensive framework of word-formation processes, next to compounding, affixation, clipping, etc. Hence, it will be used to refer to that particular word-building mechanism which has its representations both in English and Romanian and which accounts for the transformation of proper names into common words purposefully coined to fill in lexical gaps exclusively.

Since this process has been active in the English-Romanian pair of languages, this paper will attempt to explore and compare the percentages of native and borrowed elements contributing to the crystallization of eponymy in either language.

Starting from a well-grounded basis, data were collected from nearly similar sources of the two languages and thus two corpora of eponyms were created.

The words were analyzed from the perspective of their coming from the native heritage or from borrowings. The elements of the native heritage in either language which have come down to our daily communication were compared to those borrowed from other languages. With a view to comparing English and Romanian eponyms and eponymic structures, only the data collected from general dictionaries of eponyms were interpreted.

Tabular representations of both English and Romanian eponymic data reflect the percentage of both native and borrowed elements in either member of our language pair. Although eponymy has most frequently been waived in lexicological and lexicographic studies, more contributors to various periodicals have done their best to prove it what might be accepted as a productive and practical way of creating new words. Not all of the professionals (doctors, economists, scientists) agree on the practical character of eponyms. Many of them have repeatedly voiced out strongly their opposition against this ever-growing denominative formula, but there are also numerous professionals who are its fervent supporters, so neither group has won the final battle.


Key words: Antonomasia; Personal names; Etymology; Comparison.





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How to cite this article: Popescu, F. (2017). Native heritage and borrowings in English and Romanian eponymy. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 10(2), 83-92. DOI:



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