2019. № 3, 73-82

Larisa V. Mikhailova, Petrozavodsk State University (Russia, Petrozavodsk),


The article is a research paper of “Solovki” toponym etymology, wellknown as the name of the island and archipelago, located in the southern part of the White Sea. There is mainly a folk etymology, uncovering the origin of “Solovki”, “Solovetsky” toponyms by words sol’ [‘salt’], solovei [‘nightingale’] and others. The islands of Solovetsky archipelago located in the southern part of the White Sea at a considerable distance from its shores, were rarely visited by local residents. The way to Solovki through the White Sea was a long and dangerous. It was impossible to watch the islands from the shores, but from the highest point of the Kuzov archipelago small, forested islands were seen. In ancient times the largest part of the islands was under water. Therefore, our version is based on a study of the Baltic-Finnish basics of the Solovki toponym, that is the origin name of the Solovetsky archipelago, containing two words of the Baltic-Finnish and Russian origin:
“salo” (Karel. salo — ‘backwoods, dense forest’; Finn. salo — ‘large and deep forest’) and “island”. The toponym Solovki is a semi-translation of the Baltic-Finnish name Salosuareikko, literally “Islands with deep forest” (Karel. suareikko ‘cluster of islands’, ‘islands’) and diminutive “islands” (Karel. šuaruš, suarekeh — ‘island’, suarikko — ‘a small island’; Finn. saareke — ‘islet’). In the toponymy of Karelia and in the far northern areas there are also names with a topo-base, dating back to the Baltic-Finnish salo ‘large and deep forest’, for example: Honkasalo, island (Karel., Finn. honka ‘pine’), Rantasalo, island, (Karel., Finn. ranta ‘shore’) (Valaam archipelago); Salo, island, (Zaonezhie); Sal’niy mys [Sal’niy Cape] (Kola Bay). The toponym Solovki is not only a semi-translation of the Baltic-Finnish name Salosuareikko, but also an abbreviated version of the semi-translation: Saloострова, Saloостровки → Салоостровки → Салостровки → Саловки → Соловки
(Solovki). The transition of the vowel “a” to “o” can be explained by the phonetic rules.