What is cognitive toponymy?

The term ‘cognitive toponymy’ emerged from an international symposium held in Glasgow in April 2013. The day’s papers had highlighted different ways in which perceptions of the environment are reflected in place-names, and in which the place-names themselves may in turn influence subsequent perceptions. At the end of the afternoon, a lively round-table discussion discussed ways of taking these ideas further, combining approaches from the different disciplines represented – archaeology, geography, history, landscape studies, linguistics, psychology and so on. So here we are: an interdisciplinary project focusing on mental models of places. Over the next two years we’ll be exploring various aspects of the place-names of Scotland and Denmark, with a view to capturing some insights into the synergy between people and places, both in the past and at the present day. Do let us know if you’re interested – we’d love to hear from you!

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