Official Naming in Hå, Klepp and Time

Inge Særheim


Toponyms localize, reflect and give information about historical traditions and various phenomena in an area. They form part of the local heritage and culture. The relationship between place names, heritage and identity is often underlined in guidelines regarding official naming of streets and roads. In what way is heritage and local identity reflected in the road names of the three municipalities Hå, Klepp and Time (Southwest-Norway), and how is the special character of this area expressed in the names?
More than half of the official road names in the three municipalities are either identical with a local toponym, or they consist of a word for ‘road’ and a local toponym (or an appellative describing the location). This shows that there is a strong commitment to base the official naming on local tradition and thus contribute to identity. Quite a few elements from the dialect, e.g. special pronunciation, grammatical forms or local words, appear in the names, especially in the road names from Hå, reflecting that the names are part of the local culture, and due to the fact that the dialect is unique. Consistency is a challenge, however; the same word is sometimes spelled in different ways in different names. It appears that, with some exceptions, cultural heritage and local tradition have been preferred principles and guidelines with regard to naming of roads in the three municipalities, due to a consciousness that heritage and tradition create identity.

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