DOI: 10.2298/ijgi2302205l ISSN:

Reading the Siberian city-text: Spatial semantics and semiotic politics of urban toponymic landscapes in Yakutsk (Russia)

Olga Lavrenova, Viktoriya Filippova, Irena Khokholova
  • Geology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Demography
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

The article studies the spatial semantics of Yakutsk?s urban text (Sakha/Yakutia, Russia) as a component of the cultural landscape. The research is based on the theoretical approaches of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, scholarly traditions of post-Soviet cultural (or the so-called ?humanitarian?) geography, and modern critical studies of toponymy. The authors analyze spatial semantics and controversial elements of political and cultural symbolism of the urban text, which combines indigenous Yakut, Russian, and Soviet cultural components. With more than four hundred toponymic examples, this case study reveals the semiotic structure of Yakutsk toponymic system as a combination of urbanscape symbolization processes. For the first time the article empirically shows, with the help of toponymy in the space of a post-Soviet city, the relationship, interaction, and positioning of the three cultures. In addition, the semantics of toponyms is typologized, which allows to quantitatively, qualitatively, and cartographically describe the process of ?writing? the urban text.

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