Annual Report 2008


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 (Hertogstraat 1, rue Ducale) on 28 January, 26 May, and 27 October 2008. There were six section meetings (each time two of them on 28 January, 26 May, and 27 October 2008), one plenary meetings was held on 28 January, and two meetings of the board took place on 26 May, and 27 October 2008. In addition, an ad hoc ICT comity held an extraordinary board meeting on 14 January 2008.

Lectures held at the plenary meeting

Sven Steffens: La toponymie populaire urbaine aux 19e et 20e siècles – le cas de Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Popular urban Toponymics in the 19th and 20th Century in Molenbeek, Brussels)

Lectures in the Flemish section

Jan Goossens: De Mythe van het Nedersaksisch (III) (The Myth of Low Saxon III)
Paul Kempeneers: Een klokluidersboek uit Aarschot (A Bell-ringer’s book of Aarschot)
Hugo Ryckeboer: Verklarend woordenboek van de Vlaamse gemeentenamen. Verslag over de voortgang in 2008 (Etymological dictionary of Flemish Municipality Names. Progress Report 2008)

Lectures in the Walloon section

Jean Germain: Le terme wallon biriboutche, une facétie de tailleurs de pierre? (The Walloon Term biriboutche, a stone cutter’s joke?
Jean Germain: Les noms de famille De Carnon(c)kel, Decarnoncle: de jolis délocutifs (The Surnames De Carnon(c)kel, Decarnoncle: nice Delocutives)
Marie-Guy Boutier, avec la collaboration de France Gabriel, Histoire des noms Xhoris et Wéris (Belgique romane): deux témoins d’une surdérivation lexicale en latin carolingien (History of the Walloon Village Names Xhoris and Wéris)
Etienne Renard: L’historien du haut Moyen Âge et les données topographiques et anthroponymiques: problèmes, questions, réflexions (The High Medieval Historian and topographic and anthroponymic Data: Problems, Questions and Reflections)

Important deliberations in the board meeting, the plenary and the section meetings


The commission launched its own website on March 1 2007. The information publi­shed to the site includes

the scientific and advisory activities and the international contacts of the commission and its members.

Etymological dictionary of municipality names

The Flemish section of the Royal Commission for Onomastics and Dialectology will this year conclude

work on its “Verklarend woordenboek van de Vlaamse gemeentenamen” (Etymological dictionary of Flemish municipality names).

The board the Royal Commission for Onomastics and Dialectology

Flemish section

  • President: Jacques Van Keymeulen
  • Secretary: Hugo Ryckeboer

Walloon section

  • President: Jean-Marie Cauchies
  • Secretary: Jean Germain

Board of the Royal Commission for Onomastics and Dialectology

  • President: Frans Debrabandere
  • Vice-president: Jean-Marie Cauchies
  • Secretary general: José Cajot

External Activities

The Bulletin LXXX (2008) counts 302 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 Palais des Académies – Paleis der Academiën in Brussels (Hertogstraat 1, rue Ducale). Sixty copies are placed at the disposal of re­sear­chers and students at the scientific centres of the Belgian universities.

The study “Maurits Gysselings Toponymisch Woordenboek. Receptie, aanvullingen en correcties” (Maurits Gysseling’s Toponymic Dictionary. Reception, supplements, and corrections) of Jozef Van Loon, member of the Flemish section of the Royal Commission for Onomastics and Dialectology, was published as Werk 26 and constitutes an indispensable supplement for every reader of Gysseling’s dictionary.

With regard to street names the Commission was consulted by numerous Belgian local authorities in 2008.

The Commission 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 Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands.

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