Bayonne au bord du fleuve

Jean-Philippe Gonzalez-Eppherre, Beñat Oyharçabal


In this paper a new proposal is made regarding the origin and the formation of the Gascon and Basque city name Baiona ‘Bayonne’, which replaced the old name of the city (Lapurdo) in the 12th century, and which has been used since then, to designate the episcopal dioceze, church and city. The authors, first, mention the most often given etymology, offered already in the17th century by Veillet, and still defended two centuries later by bascologists like Bonaparte (1875) and Gavel (1920). Following this proposal, the origin of the name, quite transparently, is the Basque NP ibai ona ‘the good river’, with the noun ibai ‘river’; and the adjective on ‘good’, with the determiner -a. However, this analysis doesn’t satisfy present-day specialists (Orpustan 1996), because of the second term of the compound, which raises some difficulties. The authors, although they don’t discard in principle that the origin of the toponym could be a Basque nominal like ibai, propose to take another approach, which, they think, could give more soundly based results: in place of starting from the conjectural Basque NP ibai ona, which indeed seems superficially rather proximate to baiona, the prefer to take the attested historical form in the two languages as point of departure to reconstruct a form, which, following the regular diachronic evolution of both languages, should end up in a form like baiona. Such a form, the authors argue, is *baionda, witth -nd-. The authors propose that this word could result from the adaptation to the Latin spoken as second language by Basque people of a Basque toponym ibaiondo ‘riverside’, used as a modifier of a noun such as civitas, villa, castra (e.g. castra ibaionda).


ASJU  Anuario del Seminario de Filología Vasca "Julio de Urquijo"

ISSN: 0582-6152  |  e-ISSN: 2444-2992

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