Igor A. Dambuev

Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of the SB of the RAS


The article deals with the preserving of geographical names as intangible cultural heritage and indigenous, minority and regional language names. It notes the role of the UN Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names and the activities of the UN Group of Experts on Geographical Names in enhancing the preservation of geographical names at the international level. The work on the preservation of geographical names as cultural heritage and toponyms in indigenous languages in New Zealand, Canada and China is analyzed. In New Zealand, special attention is paid to the preservation of Maori place names. The Maori language is the second official language of the country, along with English. The recognition of Maori toponymy by the New Zealand Geographical Board promotes the emergence of dual and alternative geographical names. In Canada, the Geographical Names Board of Canada is responsible for the preservation of indigenous place names. The recognition of indigenous place names here also leads to the emergence of multiple official names in different languages for one place. Indigenous toponyms need a special approach when registering in the toponymic database. The author lists the activities of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China and initiative projects aimed at promoting the country’s toponymic heritage and protection of toponymic culture.

Keywords: geographical name, cultural heritage, intangible heritage, indigenous toponymy, indigenous languages

For citation: Dambuev I.A. Geographical names as a cultural heritage: practices of New Zealand, Canada, and China. Sociolinguistics, 2021, no. 1(5) [online], pp. 130–146. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.37892/2713-2951-2021-1-5-130-146