«Farewell, Bělgradъ…» (on the history of toponyms and their derivatives)

2013. № 2 (26), 249-262

Irina A. Kornilaeva, Vinogradov Institute of Russian Language, Russian Academy of Sciences


The paper reviews the history of the widespread toponym Belgrad/Belgorod and the derived adjectives in Russian and Church Slavonic. The author analyses variant forms for different periods. Morphological and accentual variations are demonstrated, as well as the connecting vowel -o- vs. its absence, pleophony vs. absence of pleophony and the tendency to make a formal difference among several «White Cities». The ancient word combination bělъ gorodъ (gradъ) attested in old manuscripts and books has been transformed into a composite word. The short form bělъ has become indeclinable, but in liturgical texts some relic forms denoting exotic places still remain unchanged. Particular attention is paid to the Modern Church Slavonic liturgical texts to honor the Saints of Belgorod (Russia). The variant nouns Bělgrádъ/Bělográdъ ‘Belgorod’ and adjectives bělográdskij/bělgoródskij are discussed.