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Hacia un estudio integral de la toponimia del municipio de Ponce, Puerto Rico

Sunny A Cabrera Salcedo, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation gathers, classifies and analyzes the toponyms of the Ponce Municipality of Puerto Rico. This study constitutes the first step in the compilation and analysis of the detailed toponymics material of the Ponce Municipality, Puerto Rico's second urban center. The interpretation of the 1,323 current names gathered from Ponce stems from the consideration of various elements, such as the origin, semantic motivation, morphosyntantic structure, the ubication, social historic context and lexical units. The integral analysis of Ponce's toponyms considers the linguistic processes as well as the extralinguistic ones, which resulted in the usage of determined toponyms to name and grasp the municipality's spaces. The 1,323 toponyms analyzed from Ponce were collected through several sources, such as maps, municipal documents, census listings from 1990, interviews to Ponce residents and government officials, as well as field visits. This research establishes a relationship between suburbanization process and the appearance of English toponyms. This is contrary to the toponyms of indigenous and Hispanic origin found in Ponce, which displayed aleatory spatial patterns. In terms of its motivation or semantic content, the Ponce toponyms reveal the names of the males remembered for their civic, social or political achievements that resulted in benefits for this town and the rest of the Island. Other names that stand out are those of the Catholic church choirbook and those who relate to both former and current proprietors of the lands where the settlements are found. This confirms the use that male dominant groups make of the toponyms in order to validate their power over public spaces.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Cabrera Salcedo, Sunny A, "Hacia un estudio integral de la toponimia del municipio de Ponce, Puerto Rico" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9932301.