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Notes on the naming of some constellations in Northern and Central Eurasia

Özlem Yigitoğlu

Pages 48 - 64

This paper studies the naming of the Constellations Great Bear (Ursa Major), Little Bear (Ursa Minor), and Orion in ancient and modern Turkic languages and the alternations of these names across these languages. The aim here is to ascertain the cultural and sociological interactions of Turkic-speaking peoples based on the forms these astronomical terms take in neighboring languages including Mongolic, Tungusic, and Chinese, and their variations in Turkic languages. The terminologies of all Turkic and some neighboring languages were included in the study. In an attempt to highlight the invested by Turkic peoples and their neighbors in the naming of celestial objects, international astronomical terms which can easily transfer between languages in the modern age were excluded from the study. The collected data was classified based on the variations and interactions of words across languages, and explanations are provided for those forms that appear contradictory within a language group.

Keywords: Great Bear; Little Bear; Orion; constellation; Turkic Languages; Tungusic languages; Mongolian


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