What we do

The Onomastics Unit was created in April 1995 by the University of the Balearic Islands (the official advisory body for Catalan) as an area of the UIB Language Service to provide services and support for teaching, research and development within the field of onomastics (toponymy and anthroponomastics) and associated technologies developed at the UIB. 
The Onomastics Unit circulates linguistically normalised place and personal names through queries, publications, research activities and training courses in this field, such as seminars and conferences. 
Thanks to an agreement signed between the Regional Department of Culture and the UIB, the Balearic Government part funds the unit's activities. 


The Unit has the following roles:

  • To research, circulate and advise on onomastic issues (toponymy and anthroponomastics)
  • To circulate and promote onomastic linguistic normalisation in the field of anthroponomastics (forenames and surnames) and toponymy (urban, rural and cartography)
  • To promote publications useful for onomastics
  • To offer specific onomastics information for professionals in different sectors
  • To progressively digitise toponymy and anthroponomastics databases
  • To create a specific onomastics library and documentation collection


The University of the Balearic Islands is the official advisory body for all issues regarding the Catalan language, in accordance with the Balearic Islands Linguistic Normalisation Act (Art. 14 and additional provision three). Through Executive Agreement 6191 of 25th March 2003, the UIB Executive Council agreed that the Department of Catalan Philology and General Linguistics be the scientific body at the University of the Balearic Islands for issues that affect the setting of standards for the Catalan language and hold the advisory role that the Balearic Islands Regional Statute of Autonomy and the Linguistic Normalisation Act grant to the university.

The UIB Language Service is the first point of contact for receiving terminology and onomastic queries in Catalan from any institution or individual in the Balearic Islands. The Technical Language Advisory Commission at the Department of Catalan Philology and General Linguistics then produces the corresponding expert opinions on the queries sent by the Language Service. Both bodies follow the guidelines of the Institute of Catalan Studies as the maximum academic authority for Catalan (Royal Decree 3118/1976).