Socioonomastik med Mirjam Schmuck


Institutionen för nordiska språk fick under våren 2020 två nya gästprofessorer i namnforskning:  Damaris Nübling och Mirjam Schmuck från Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Den 20-21 oktober arrangerar de det tredje namnforskningsmötet i Uppsala som gästprofessorer.

Mirjam Schmuck - gästprofessor i namnforskning

Förhoppningen var att det tredje namnforskningsmötet skulle gå att genomföra på plats, men på grund av den ökade smittspridningen i Europa kan inte Damaris Nübling och Mirjam Schmuck resa till oss i Uppsala. Namnforskningsmötet genomförs istället digitalt via Zoom och här, via I rampljuset, får vi möjlighet att lära känna en av dem, Mirjam, lite bättre.

Vad har du för förväntningar på din tid som gästprofessor i Uppsala?

I am happy to get in contact with name researchers in Uppsala, both at the university and at the Institute for Language and Folklore and to share the fascination for names and naming.

Vad handlar din forskning om?

In my research I am dealing with language change and its key driving factors also from a comparative perspective. In my PhD thesis, for example, I compared the development of verbal morphology in three Germanic languages, German, Dutch and Swedish, and tried to explain why these languages developed differently. Another focus of my research has been on name studies, especially on personal names, socio-onomastics and name grammar. During my PhD and afterwards, as a junior professor, I was a member of the scientific staff on two research projects the German Surname Atlas and the Digital Dictionary of Surnames in Germany situated at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz – a project which is still ongoing.

Varför är namnforskning intressant?

For long times, name research has been associated primarily with name etymology. Only in the last years, the focus was expanded to include socio-onomastics (naming, names and identity) and name grammar among others. I am mostly interested in personal names. The German surnames go back to the Middle Ages. Not only they preserve colloquial German of that period but also give important insights into the naming society at the time and its values. Regarding first names, the focus on names as social markers is promising. Carrying information on nationality, ethnicity and regionality among others – name choices provide significant insights into the social identity of the individual.

Vad är av största intresse just nu inom pågående personnamnsforskning internationellt sett? 

I am fascinated by name grammar as a new area of onomastic research. Currently, substantial variation is observable concerning the inflection of personal names, both in German and in Swedish, which is a clear indicator for ongoing language change (e.g. plural: Anderssons or Anderssöner, flera Larsar or flera Lars). In the area of socio-onomastics, the naming of animals opens up a wide promising field in that naming directly reflects the human-animal relation. Dogs and cats, for example, were formerly given typical dog/cat names. Nowadays, however, a substantial overlap of the name inventories for dogs/cats and children can be observed.