Many German loan words have been adopted into the Estonian general vocabulary, and they may occur in toponyms as well. Toponyms derived from borrowed vocabulary are not discussed in this work. Contemporary settlement names are examined to find out which of them are actually German in origin and how they have been converted into Estonian. The focus is on names that are based directly either on a German family name or a German common noun.
Loan names can be divided into two main groups. The first type – adapted names – is in turn subdivided into complete adaptions, epexegetic adaptions and partial adaptions. The other type is translated names. Examples from the nomenclature of Estonian settlement names are provided for all these partitions. A short overview about the proportions and relations of the loan name types occurring amongst the analysed names is also presented.
The research material was taken from the electronic database of the etymological dictionary of Estonian toponyms (EKNR) that is currently being compiled. The database includes 6062 Estonian toponyms.