Talk:Voronezh

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Hi, i'm a new user, and I just have a few suggestion.

I was born and raised until the age 11 in Voronezh.

This city is famous for its fighting during World War II, when Nazis occupied the left side of the river, and Russians were on the right. I was taught that in school, although I don't know if I can find references to that.

Another thing that I think that should be included in the article is an exlanation of what Black Earth means. Black Earth is the most fertile soil the world, and that's the type of soil Voronezh has. It's just a suggestion. I don't really know how to edit, so I'll just leave it up to the professionals. Thanks.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 216.87.243.242 (talkcontribs).

Thanks for your suggestion, an anonymous contributor. We do actually have an article on Black Earth (see chernozem). Since it is something that, strictly speaking, is not directly related to the city, no explanation need to be provided in the article. It can, however, be mentioned and wikilinked to.
As for WWII history, you are more than welcome to add that information yourself (just click the "edit this page" tab in the article). Don't worry about screwing up something—you'll learn the ropes as you go, and meanwhile someone will always be there to make corrections.
Welcome to Wikipedia, and hope to see you around!—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 15:20, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi! The article says that "Recent findings may push the settlement's foundation date as far back as the 4th century CE.", and the reference leads to the source in Russian. As a native Russian speaker, I must note that this source is a short news story in which a local historian says that Voronezh was mentioned in Book of Veles. This book is most likely a hoax (though somewhat debatable) so I think that part of article should be corrected (but my English isn't good enough to do it myself). Unfortunately Russian journalists don't care about reliability of their acclamations at all and should not be trusted (there is a statement later in the same news story saying that "the Book of Veles was officially recognized by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2001", which is clearly a lie). 83.139.173.191 (talk) 21:24, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Hi. There appears to be a small mistake in the article as it addresses TASS as a newspaper. To my understanding there was no newspaper run by TASS, that was in fact the central news agency of the Soviet Union. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.167.195.60 (talk) 07:50, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Name and early history[edit]

From what little I can gather form the sources cited, some weird things seem to be going on regarding Voronezh's early history. Apparently it is some kind of local sport to come up with proofs that Voronezh is as ancient as possible. This ends up on Wikipedia via journalistic pieces such as this one, where we hear,

Светлана Полякова, историк, рассказывает: "Существует карта немецкого путешественника Карла фон Шпруннера, датированная 1125 годом. Называется она "Народы и княжества славян между Эльбой и Доном". И там на самом крайне правом рубеже обозначен наш город - именно на том месте, где Воронеж существует сейчас".

i.e. a historian, Svetlana Polyakova, is cited as saying that there is a "map by German traveller Karl von Sprunner, dated to the year 1125" which shows Voronezh. Wow, a medieval map of the Kievan Rus made by a German traveller! This is huge!

Except... the map in question is this one (1855), it is a 19th century historical map for 12th century Kievan Rus, and the "medieval traveller" is Karl Spruner von Merz (1803 – 1892). I seriously hope this is the journalist's mess and not the historian's. But the "historian" then goes on to talk about the Book of Veles (a modern hoax), so I guess we should just conclude not to use any of this.

What seems to be going on here is:

  • the current city was founded in the 16th century
  • there seems to be evidence for an earlier settlement (archaeological)?
  • there also seems to be mention of the toponym Voronezh in the Primary Chronicle
  • the 16th-century is named for the Voronezh River
  • there is a theory that the Voronezh river was named for the medieval settlement, and the modern settlement was then named for the river. But there is another reference we cite that derives the river name from a "river deity" name cognate to Varuna, so this seems to be anyone's guess.

--dab (𒁳) 10:16, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

I found this about the the mystery of the name Voronezh book, but I have difficulty detecting possibly humour or irony. Is this a crackpot publication, or is it a humorous collection of the history of goofy suggestions? (say, like BBC collecting etymologies for "yellowbelly" -- sometimes there are surprising similarities between British and Russian humour) The "raven and hedgehog" thing seems to suggest a joking tone (i.e. Lazarov wrote a book about the history of goofy local etymological speculation rather than himself being guilty of such, and our problem is naive edits who misunderstood the humour?) I am afraid my Russian is too poor to detect tongue-in-cheek humour unless they hit you over the head with it. --dab (𒁳) 11:03, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
If there is one thing to be said about the origins of the name "Voronezh", it's that no one knows for sure. It is exactly that which leaves the door open for all kinds of theories: some naïve, some silly, some doubtful, some very much crackpot; none holding up well upon closer examination. I don't have access to Lazarev's book, but from what little I've seen, it is definitely not a collection of humorous theories—the author is dead serious. Whether he collected local folklore for readers to review and decide, or if he is indeed a believer in some of it is hard to tell without actually seeing the book, but it certainly hasn't been meant as a joke.
There are exactly two theories which modern scholarship takes seriously. Both more or less agree that the actual city was named after the Voronezh River. One relates the name "Voronezh" to the personal name "Voroneg" (of Ukrainian provenance); another one suggests that the name is of Mordvin origin. Both theories are fairly plausible, but neither one is more plausible than another, so it's a wash. Lazarev's book might be an interesting read to learn what the alternative views are (if only to be able to recognize them), but including them into the article would be very much undue.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); May 4, 2015; 13:33 (UTC)
Lazarev's study explains the basics of etymology, and etymology is basing on comparative linguistics since the 19th century. In Soviet Russia, this area of ​​knowledge has been closed, many scientists were persecuted. Therefore, an adequate comparative analysis was done only at the beginning of the 21st century. The book of Zagorovsky could't be called etymological, it's just a historical aspect of etymology. 95.32.196.89 (talk) 18:41, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
In etymological study, it's hard to discern when it goes about the river, as the water stream, or river, as a living subject, or the spirit of water or river deities. Therefore, the names of the river deities are often found in the names of rivers, or vice versa. In the case with the Voronezh river, we are talking about the root *var which can be found in names of hundreds of Indo-European hydronyms and some river deities. So, root *var is the basis for the names of the hundreds Indo-European hydronyms and some deities, but it doesn't mean "the river name derives from a "river deity". 95.32.196.89 (talk) 19:19, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm inviting User:Languagehat to join this discussion, since he is eminently more qualified to comment on this matter than I am.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2015; 19:32 (UTC)
I endorse everything Ëzhiki has said above (for what it's worth, I have a master's degree in historical linguistics). Max Müller died in 1900 and his ideas on the etymology of ворон are completely irrelevant today; furthermore, the etymology of ворон is irrelevant to the article. Languagehat (talk) 15:56, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
Hi, Languagehat! Lazarev’s book is about comparative linguistics, not historical. And I am the PhD(rus.) in comparative linguistics. Since Max Mueller died, the nominalistic method hasn’t lost the sense in etymology of Proper names. Zagorovsky was also a specialist in sort of historical linguistics, so he could not find the origin of the name Voroneg. Zagorovsky described his idea as just a scientific hypothesis. He admitted it himself. But none of linguists agree with him. Lazarev continued his work, because he was a student of Zagorovsky, therefore he used a nominalistic method. But the fact that Voronezh is primarily a hydronym, it is the opinion agreed by most linguists in Russia who studied this matter. In Lazarev’s book, there is couple of links to works of Fyodor Uspensky, V.P. Neroznak, V.A. Vinogradov. 95.32.227.35 (talk) 13:29, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
It is still only a hypothesis (I won't get into its merits), and pretty far afield from the concerns of a Wikipedia article on the city. I think the sentence "The comparative analysis of the name "Voronezh" was carried out by the Khovansky Foundation in 2009" is irrelevant to the article and should be deleted. Languagehat (talk) 15:14, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
The problem is that linguists do not recognize the hypothesis of Zagorovsky, but from the article it seems like it's the answer to the question. For а real etymological analysis it is necessary to use comparative data. The phrase on the comparative analysis shows the development of the history of research. And once again, all linguists, who have studied this question, believe that the name of the river is a hydronym which gave its name to the city. If you think this phrase is not very correct, then we could come up with another. But it is also incorrect to present comparative studies as "alternative". 95.32.222.223 (talk) 11:21, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
Pardon for butting in unceremoniously, but I would like to point out that this here is a broad encyclopedic article about a major city in Russia. A couple of short paragraphs about the etymology of this city's name, based on mainstream theories, is definitely information we want to include, but elaborate musings about various hypotheses which are not broadly accepted would be out of place. If we had an article like etymology of Voronezh (similar to etymology of Pittsburgh), there'd be more leeway, but as things stand, adding material about methods of linguistic study to a broad article simply is not a good idea. But even in a dedicated article about etymology one would have to first cover the mainstream theories in great detail, before discussing less known theories which are still a matter of debate in the field.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 10, 2015; 14:19 (UTC)
Dear colleagues, I hope our common goal is to make Wikipedia better, and not to realize our ambitions:) The Zagorovsky’s hypothesis has become the mainstream in the Soviet period, as a result of propaganda, when the communists had the aim to implement ideology into science and to distract from comparative studies, which was considered a bourgeois doctrine. Zagorovsky was not a linguist, but only an historian and a communist. Since Soviet times, his hypothesis was the most popular, although none of linguists recognize it. Fedor Uspensky believed that the name of the river is Indo-European. In the book «Названия древнерусских городов» /Отв. ред. акад. Д. С. Лихачёв/, V. P. Neroznak expressed the General opinion of linguists that Voronezh is a hydronym, which gave the name to the town. Аnd the root *var is one of Indo-European roots, which is a basis for the names of hundreds of rivers like the Varna, Varena, Varuna, Vorona, Voronich, Voronez, Veronezhka, Voronezh, etc. 95.32.28.39 (talk) 09:28, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
While our common goal is indeed to make Wikipedia better, it does not mean that it is our job to challenge established theories (regardless of how they came to be established) on very specific subjects in articles about broad concepts. In a high-level overview article like this one, mentioning only that the name of the city derives from the name of the river, which in turn derives from the personal name "Voroneg", is more than sufficient, especially considering that every single theory concurs on that point. But the details of what the origins of that personal name are, or the origins of the words from which that personal name is derived are completely out of place here. If we had an article on etymology of Voronezh or on the name Voroneg, then having those details would have been more appropriate there, but even then Wikipedia would still discriminate between the mainstream theories, which are supposed to be covered even if they originate in the communist era, and fringe theories, which, even in cases where they seemingly have more merit, are generally excluded per the WP:UNDUE guidelines. I understand full well the desire to promote one's work, especially if you heart is in it, but Wikipedia is first and foremost an encyclopedia, not a digest of "what's new in linguistics". It's only natural that much of the coverage is not going to reflect the developments on the cutting edge of the linguistic science!—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 11, 2015; 14:18 (UTC)
It is not about the promotion of Lazarev's book, but about that the book of Zagorovsky: a) is only the hypothesis of a historian and not a linguist, b) gives the impression of a lack of knowledge in linguistics and badly affects the reputation of the Voronezh school of linguistics, c) are not recognized by linguists, so it is unclear why we need to write about it? Because it is the result of propaganda? I am also confused by the fact that the question of adequacy of information is decided by the people who do not know the content in detail. And by the way, the name «Voroneg» was not detected in any of the written documents, but the author invented it himself. 95.32.219.112 (talk) 07:11, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
I never said it's about promoting anything, I said the information that you are trying to add simply does not belong in an article about a broad topic. This article is first and foremost about the city and its main aspects described in broad strokes, not about a highly specialized clash of linguistic theories which discuss the origins of the city's name. Whatever one's views on the merits of the mainstream versions are, they remain mainstream, and while they do, Wikipedia is obligated to cover them. Furthermore, one does not need to know the content in detail to be able to determine when it's out of scope. If you wish that Wikipedia covered this subject in more detail, by all means, please feel free to create etymology of Voronezh (which can then be linked to from the main article). Whether the information you would be adding there has merits will not be for me to decide (as you rightfully noted, I'm not familiar with this issue enough to make that judgement), but it will definitely not be so badly out of scope as it is here. Also please note that saving/fixing the reputation of any school of thought is not Wikipedia's responsibility. If a theory is mainstream and its references satisfy the highly specific criteria for reliable sources (outlined here), it ought to be covered regardless of what the alternative non-mainstream views on it are.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 12, 2015; 16:24 (UTC)
My comments are related to the section Etymology, and since 19th-century etymological research are based on comparative studies, especially when it comes to Indo-European toponyms and hydronyms. If the etymological study does not use the data of comparative studies, then it is false, not scientific, alternative study.95.32.3.29 (talk) 12:22, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
In an article as high-profile as this one, any section is merely a compilation of the most prominent facts covered by the reliable sources. Note that the "reliability" of the sources is not directly connected to the merits of the theories those sources cover, it's the provenance of these sources that matters. Indeed, it is not even Wikipedians' job to assess the merits of the theories. It's the commonly accepted results we are after. This is an encyclopedia, not a scientific paper, so any new developments, no matter how much more "correct" they might be perceived (or be!), would not be included until they are covered by multiple reliable sources and enter mainstream.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 19, 2015; 15:42 (UTC)
Comparative studies have never been mainstream, like many of other special branches of science. What about Lazarev's book, the information about it was published in the main regional newspaper Kommuna and on the TV-channel TNT, scientists from the University of Tula wrote a book review. Wikipedia believes such sources are important. In principle, the purpose of the encyclopedia is the gathering of knowledge and not relay popular misconceptions. 95.32.226.68 (talk) 10:28, 22 November 2015 (UTC)