About names of places in Kazakhstan

Shynaray Burkitbayeva

About names of places in Kazakhstan

(66th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Göttingen, 2024)

Comprehensive study of hydronymic, oronymic, oikonymic names on the Kazakh land, determination of the history of their origin, restoration of historical names of places named in other languages, separated from proper names, requires scientific research. As any place has a name, so any name has a history. On the modern Kazakh land there are many names of places and water, the meaning of which has not yet been revealed and which are incomprehensible in the Kazakh language. One of such toponyms is “Belsher”. Belsher is the name of a village belonging to the village of Nura, Irgiz district, Aktobe region, Republic of Kazakhstan. There are different conclusions about the etymology of the name “Belsher”. However, there is no clear information about the meaning of the word “Belsher”, since when it was called by this name and what historical events took place. In general, we all know that onomastic names of localities provide an excellent opportunity to draw certain conclusions about the history, source of life and mentality of the generation that lived in this region. During the research we noticed that there are different opinions about the name “Belsher” among the local population. Many believe that it came from the word “Belshesher”. After all, early people knew how to wade across the water from the narrowing point of the lake flowing near the village to the other shore. That is why it is called “Belshesher”. The word “Belsher” is interpreted as an abbreviation to “Belsher” when pronounced quickly. Of course, these are all judgements based on folk etymology. Because this is a scientifically unproven conclusion. In our opinion, it is necessary to look closely at the history of the country to give a correct assessment of each name on the Kazakh land. According to historical data, in 1216 a Mongolian army led by Genghis Khan’s eldest son Joshi-khan pursued mercenaries who did not obey Genghis Khan and fought with the sixty-thousand-strong army of Khorezm Shah Mohammed on the Torgai field along the Irgiz River. If we turn the pages of history, the Dzungar wars of conquest took place in the Irgiz land. Historical records also contain information about the arrival of Dzungar ambassadors to the summer camp of Abulkhair Khan on the Irgiz River.

Our goal in the consistent presentation of the above historical data is to delve deeper into the history of the origin of the word “Belsher”. In our opinion, the word “Belsher” is most likely an input word from the Mongolian language.

Keywords: Kazakhstan, land and water name of the settlement, Belsher, Turkic history, Mongolian.