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Old 16.06.2009, 19:24
Nev
 
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Meaning of Swiss place names

Adlikon, Hombrechtikon, Dietikon, Pfaffikon, Uetikon, Zollikon, Zumikon etc etc. You get the drift. Anybody any ideas what -ikon means at the end of all these place names? Seems to be an Aarau/Zurich thing. Probably has something to do with the landscape? Must've cropped up in a pub quiz up there sometime. C'mon DB...
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Old 16.06.2009, 20:06
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

-ikon comes from -ighof, and Hof means yard, court, landed property.

Wiedikon for example got its name from the Alemanic settler Wiedo and his clan, the Wiedings, who set foot on this part of present day Zurich sometime past the year 500.

Pfäffikon SZ on the other hand was first on record as Pfaffinchova which just means "yard of the pater" (father or pastor).

Uetikon was Uotinchova around 1150 or Uotinghofen: courts of the Uotingers.

Zollikon is named after another Alemanic clan leader called Zollo who lived around 600-700.
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Old 16.06.2009, 20:07
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

Just asked a dozen of my "real Swiss" co-workers and nobody had the foggiest idea what "ikon" stands for in all those village names. All of them speculated though that it must have come from the Roman period.
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Old 16.06.2009, 20:11
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

And -wil is Weiler in High German or hamlet in English. If Wädenswil was British it would be called Wädensham and Rapperswil would be Rappersham
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Old 16.06.2009, 20:35
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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And -wil is Weiler in High German or hamlet in English. If Wädenswil was British it would be called Wädensham and Rapperswil would be Rappersham

Hmmm - are you sure about that? Having lived in a -ham I always thought that the -ham suffix was Old English / Norse in origin which wikipedia seems to agree with:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_toponymy

(Scroll down to the section titled "England")

Cheers
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Old 16.06.2009, 20:36
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

had a conversation about egg the other day - as in wildegg - we established that egg is a corner - ecke - quite interesting! thanks for the ikon and wil - have passed it on to my family...
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Old 16.06.2009, 21:08
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

I've asked Swiss friends before and they were a little taken aback and couldn't answer.
What fascinates me is why every town has the same collection of street names. Waldegg, Sonnenberg, Bahnhof, ...
There doesn't seem to be any tradition of naming places after people who were known or were owners or even local historic heroes.
Any ideas why?
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Old 16.06.2009, 21:12
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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I've asked Swiss friends before and they were a little taken aback and couldn't answer.
What fascinates me is why every town has the same collection of street names. Waldegg, Sonnenberg, Bahnhof, ...
There doesn't seem to be any tradition of naming places after people who were known or were owners or even local historic heroes.
Any ideas why?

Good point - In Adliswil, Thalwil and Rüschlikon you'll find a "Sonnenbergstrasse". You'll also find an Altelandstrasse in many many places along with a Bahnhofstrasse, Poststrasse/weg or whatever - stations and post offices make sense but it does somehow seem that naming streets after persons is rather confined to larger towns and cities.

I'm sure it isn't, it's just our preception - it's easy for non-native language speakers to remember Bahnhofstrasse, Poststrasse, Kirchweg etc but not so easy to remember Carl Friedrich Meyer Strasse, Getrudenweg or similar.
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Old 16.06.2009, 21:22
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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Hmmm - are you sure about that? Having lived in a -ham I always thought that the -ham suffix was Old English / Norse in origin which wikipedia seems to agree with:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_toponymy

(Scroll down to the section titled "England")

Cheers
Hmm -ham comes from -home. So my conclusion was wrong.
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Old 16.06.2009, 21:34
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

My Swiss accountant was telling me that ikon, wil, berg, etc usually corresponds with the heritage of the founders of the city. Alemannic, Roman, Celtic, Gauls and surely many more, each seemed to have naming conventions for cities.

Zurich, for instance, comes from Turicum. And Turos was supposed to be the leader of the tribe that established the city where Zurich is now. But not sure, which city endings correspond to which tribes...need to do some research.

fduvall
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Old 16.06.2009, 21:40
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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Hmm -ham comes from -home. So my conclusion was wrong.

I lived in a place called "Wymondham" pronounced "Windem" - I'm not sure where the name comes from and can't find a definitive answer - here's a guess though using just "Wymond" as the root search:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_toponymy

Anyway, enough off-topic posts from me in this thread.

A swiss language question - why do the Swiss use "-li" as a diminuative and not "-chen" - and on that topic is a Swiss Mädli feminine or neuter as in Mädchen? (I've been particularly worried about the gender of these "females" ;-) )
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Old 16.06.2009, 21:58
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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A swiss language question - why do the Swiss use "-li" as a diminuative and not "-chen" - and on that topic is a Swiss Mädli feminine or neuter as in Mädchen? (I've been particularly worried about the gender of these "females" ;-) )
"li" is just an original swiss diminuative. Pretty much like the spanish "ito" or "ita" (fem) or the german "chen".

Swiss example: Es Härz (ein Herz) - Es Härzli (Ein Herzchen)
Spanish example: El corazon (ein Herz) - El coraconcito (ein Herzchen)

As for your second question:

Maitli is neuter: You can use "das or "es"

Es Maitli / das Maitli

You can also use: "Ä Maitli"

In comparison: Boy (masculin)

Ä Bueb - ein Bube/Knabe

dr Bueb - der bube/Knabe
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Old 16.06.2009, 22:15
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

Diminutives are always neuter. Mädli would be the diminutive for Madä/maggot though.

Mädchen is a diminutive where the original form was lost. It was Maget (which translates to maid). It' is pronounced Mäitli in Zurich or Meytschi in Bern dialect.

The prevalence of diminutives and their endings (-lein, -chen, -erl) or other ways of formation vary regionally. More here in German.
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Old 16.06.2009, 22:24
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

Ok now with all the information a little test.

What means: "Es Mäitli ohni Sörgli lauft mitem Znüni uf es Bärgli?"
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Old 16.06.2009, 22:39
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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...A swiss language question - why do the Swiss use "-li" as a diminuative and not "-chen"
Diminutive suffix "li" is like the English _let, like in booklet. That suffix is _li in Switzerland or _le in Southern Germany. Example Nestle means a small nest in the Schwäbisch dialect of Baden-Wurttemberg.
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Old 16.06.2009, 22:42
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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Hmm -ham comes from -home. So my conclusion was wrong.
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Hmmm - are you sure about that? Having lived in a -ham I always thought that the -ham suffix was Old English / Norse in origin which wikipedia seems to agree with:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_toponymy

(Scroll down to the section titled "England")

Cheers
'Ham' derives from Homestead, or an enclosed area, so I guess that you are both correct.

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/ins/
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Old 16.06.2009, 23:01
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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Ok now with all the information a little test.

What means: "Es Mäitli ohni Sörgli lauft mitem Znüni uf es Bärgli?"

A carefree Maiden walks with a "Snack" up the Mountain

that do yer?

PS, Ein Mädchen in Kolle heisst "Et määdsche"
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Old 16.06.2009, 23:06
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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Adlikon, Hombrechtikon, Dietikon, Pfaffikon, Uetikon, Zollikon, Zumikon etc etc. You get the drift.
That "drift" turns out to be quite a list.. and these are just the ones in Canton Zurich..!!!

Adikon bei Andelfingen

Altikon

Bertschikon bei Attikon

Bubikon

Dälikon

Dänikon

Dättlikon

Dietikon

Dietlikon

Eilikon an der Thur

Hombrechtikon

Humlikon

Hüttikon

Opfikon

Pfäffikon ZH

Rikon im Tösstal

Rüschlikon

Russikon

Schleinikon

Stalikon

Trüttikon

Truttikon

Uetikon am See

Uitikon

Wetzikon

Zollikon

Zumikon

EFikon
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Old 16.06.2009, 23:21
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

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A carefree Maiden walks with a "Snack" up the Mountain

that do yer?
I am impressed ...
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Old 16.06.2009, 23:28
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Re: Meaning of Swiss place names

Nice Obit in the Economist recently on Margaret Gelling, an English place name superstar.
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