The Royal Commission for Onomastics and Dialectology performs its scientific task under the high patronage of the Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten and the Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. It is the scientific aim of the Academy to study the onomastics (toponymy and anthroponymy) and the dialectology, especially in Belgium in both Germanic and Romance areas. The Commission therefore brings out scientific studies (Bulletin, Publications) about these disciplines. The Commission is also an advisory body; the government can always ask for its scientific advice.
The statutory meetings took place in the Palais des Académies – Paleis der Academiën in Brussels on 30 January, 29 May, and 30 October 2006. There were six section meetings (each time two of them on 30 January, 29 May, and 30 October 2006), two plenary meetings were held on 30 January, and a meeting of the board on 30 October.
Two extraordinary board meetings were held on March 6 and May 13 respectively. In addition, the Flemish section held two extraordinary board meetings of its own.
Lectures held at the plenary meeting
- Marie-Guy Boutier: The “Etymological Dictionary of Belgian Municipality Names”. Point of view of the Walloon Section.
- Paul T.C. Kempeneers: The set-up of an “Etymological Dictionary of Belgian Municipality Names” (Flemish proposal)
Lectures in the Flemish section
- Victor Mennen: Origin and place of residence as naming motives for surnames in the Limburg Campine region
- José Cajot: The rich phoneme inventory of the Zichen-Zussen-Bolder dialect.
- Ward Van Osta: “Goedendag” again: an etymological guess
- Jozef Van Loon: Maurits Gysseling’s Toponymical Dictionary (1960) in critical reviews (1960-1964)
Lectures in the Walloon section
- Jean Germain: Origin and meaning of the toponymical appellative “clavia”
- Jean Lechanteur: Some new notes on Walloon family names
Important deliberations in the board meeting, the plenary and the section meetings
The commission strives to launch its own website by March 1 2007. The information to be published to the site includes the scientific and advisory activities and the international contacts of the commission and its members.
Etymological dictionary of Belgian municipality names
Both sections agreed that there is a need for a scientifically updated synthetic reference book in which both the interested layman and scholars can look up the origin of the name of a municipality and on the basis of which further study of source material can be undertaken. Since the urgency seems to be felt more strongly on the Flemish side and since the Francophone colleagues have a more ambitious project in mind, the Flemish section of the commission proposes to realizes its project under the title of Woordenboek van de Belgische gemeentenamen, deel 1: Vlaanderen en Brussel (Dictionary of Belgian municipality names, volume 1: Flanders and Brussels) thereby leaving open the possibility of a complementary part for the Francophone part of the country.
The board of the Royal Commission for Onomastics and Dialectology
The board for the period 2006-2007 is composed as follows:
- Flemish section
- President: Hugo Ryckeboer
- Secretary: Jacques Van Keymeulen
- Walloon section
- President: Jean Loicq
- Secretary: Jean Germain
- Board of the
Koninklijke Commissie voor Toponymie en Dialectologie –
Commission royale de Toponymie et de Dialectologie
- President: Marie-Guy Boutier
- Vice-president: Hugo Ryckeboer
- Secretary general: José Cajot
The Bulletin LXXVIII (2006) counts 436 pages. It was exchanged for a number of periodicals and with scientific institutions. The publications acquired by purchase or exchange were stored in the library, which is located in the library of the Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Schone Kunsten. One hundred copies are placed at the disposal of researchers and students at the scientific centres of the Belgian universities.
With regard to street names the Commission was consulted by numerous Brussels, Walloon and German-speaking local authorities in 2005.
The Academy further continued the linguistic adaptation of the geographical names of the ordnance survey maps published by the Nationaal Geografisch Instituut – Institut national géographique.
The Royal Commission for Onomastics and Dialectology has been represented by his members on several international scientific meetings in France, Switserland, the Netherlands, Germany, the Tchech Republik, the Baltic states and South Africa.