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Mensah, Eyo, Rowan, Kirsty, Tiav, Thomas and Ishima, Justus (2019) 'Social and cultural factors in Tiv naming practices.' Sociolinguistic Studies: Special Issue African Anthroponyms Sociolinguistic Currents and Anthropological Reflections, 13 (1-2). pp. 209-230.

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Naming in the African cultural context serves both referential and connotative functions as a unique means of identity construction which contains important cultural meaning and metaphysical presuppositions. Among the Tiv people of Benue State, North-central Nigeria, personal names reflect social relations and reveal major insights into their history, philosophy, language, spirituality and worldview. Naming practices in Tiv are indicative of the community’s social existence and redefine the essence of its being. This article explores the interaction of the Tiv people naming system with their sociocultural experience and physical environment. We investigate how naming intersects with social class distinction (wealth vs. poverty), emotions, occupations and topography, and examine their sources, social categorization and socio-onomastic significance. This study is theoretically rooted in Goddard’s (2006) ethnopragmatic paradigm which examines the locally relevant construction of cultural and contextual meanings in the interpretation of language. Data for the study were sourced from two Tiv communities of Gboko and Makurdi in Benue State, Nigeria through participant observations, personal interviews and conversations with name-bearers, -givers and -users. We conclude that Tiv personal names reflect the sociocultural environment and provide prominent sites for the creative expression of the Tiv social universe and lived cultural experiences.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
ISSN: 17508649
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2018 13:02
Related URLs: https://journal ... icle/view/37820 (Publisher URL)

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