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Zoomorphic code of culture in the terrain modeling and its reflection in the Bashkir toponyms

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2015. Vol. 4. No. 6. Pp. 487-495.
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Bukharova G. Kh.
M. Akmullah Bashkir State Pedagogical University
3a Oktyabrskoi Revolutsii St., 45000 Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia


The article is devoted to the problem of studying the relationship between language and ethnic culture. It analyzes Bashkir toponyms associated with the cult of fire. The Bashkirs, like many nations, including the Turkic and Mongolian, have thought that fire symbolized home and was the protector of the family. The Bashkirs worshiped fire as cleansing and healing power, while at the same time the fire represented formidable and dangerous force. Fire in the Bashkir mythology is closely related to its opposite element - Water, with the gods of the upper world - the Sun and the Moon and the deity of Earth, geographical names of Bashkortostan testify this. On the material of Bashkir toponymy and related beliefs it was attempted to do a semantic etimological-onomasiological reconstruction of the Bashkir deity of fire Otukan, which dates back to the old Turkic deity Yduk (“sacred”) Otuken//Otukan. In Mongolian mythology, it corresponds to the deity Etugen//Otuken, associated with the cult of the mother goddess, earth and fire, and in Japanese mythology - with the god, the owner of the land, - Ootukonu-si-no kami. According to the author, the formation of names connected with “fire” in the Bashkir toponymy was promoted by the worship of the deity of fire, the tribal fire, the tribal habitat and the family by Tatar-Mongols. Interesting is the fact, that the base “ut” (fire), which is connected with the ancient Turkic beliefs, also builds a theonym, a toponymic term, a geographic name, an ethnonym and anthroponym, i.e. it permeates the entire onomastic and appellative vocabulary. However, at the appellative level, this lexical item has no religious significance. For example, Otukan (ancient Turkic deity of fire, associated with the land, Otukan//Үtәgәn, Үtәk, Tөkөn//Tuҡan//Tүkәn//Tekәn (toponyms), Tөkөn (ethnonym, anthroponym), Үtәgәn, Үtәk (anthroponym), otaq (and its phonetic variations) in Turkic languages have the meanings of “home”, “yurt”, “mountain valley”, “flat place in the mountains on the hillside”, “southern winter quarters”. This relationship is explained by the fact that, initially, perhaps, yet there was the worship of a female deity Otukan that embodied fire (“ut”) and was associated with the earth, with the habitat and the ancestral hearth, where the original base morpheme was “fire” (“ut”), then it was associated with the deification of family and tribal territory, and later with the deification of the person of the ruler, this lexic item has spread throughout the onomastic vocabulary and in the appellative lexicon within the meaning of the place of residence.


  • • ethnolinguistics
  • • Bashkir toponymy
  • • cult of fire
  • • the god of fire Otukan
  • • semantic reconstruction
  • • etimological-onomasiological reconstruction


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