On the Circumstances of Appearance, Origin and Motivation of Certain Lithuanian Toponyms “Gùdas”

  • Laimutis Bilkis
Keywords: origin of toponyms, motivation of toponyms, context of toponym recording, semantic analogy, timber rafting in the Nemunas River


    The article discusses the most likely versions of the origin of several Lithuanian toponyms Gùdas. The versions are proposed taking into account all the circumstances of recording the toponyms from the spoken language, the context of toponymic microsystems, the additional information relating to place names and the objects designated by them provided by the recorders, which is compared to real historical and ethnographic data. Based on the analysis carried out under the chosen methodology, the article associates the appearance of the names of two stones situated in the Nemunas River near Darsūniškis and Dvareliškės Manor with the historically attested fact of timber rafting from Gudija (Belarus) to Karaliaučius (Königsberg) and Rusnė. It is outlined that there were also raftsmen who were gudai by descent. As a result, the two names of stones are traced to the ethnonym gùdas ‘Belarusian (sometimes Pole or Russian); a person speaking a different dialectʼ. The hypothesis proposed by other researchers concerning their origin from Lith. gùdė ‘strickle, whetstone’, gudti ‘to sharpen by a whetstone’ is questionable.
    The article provides arguments to prove that the hydronyms Gùdas from the environs of Pumpėnai and Žemaitkiemis, which some linguists trace to Balt. *guda- ‘bent’, ‘bending down’ < Balt. gud- ‘to bend’, are most likely of ethnonymic origin. In the first case, this proposition is supported by the data of the analysis of the interrelations, origin and semantics of the compact microsystem toponyms with gud-. In the second case, it is evidenced by the semantic analysis of the ethnonymic parallel of the potamonyms situated in the same inhabited settlement.