A CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY OF NAMES AND THE UNEARTHING OF NAMING PRACTICES IN THREE ETHNIC GROUPS IN NIGERIA
Keywords:Culture; Ethnography of communication; Ethnic-groups; Naming practices; Onomastics
This study on personal names and naming practices examined the significance, typology and naming patterns in selected ethnic-groups in Nigeria. Also, it adopted a mix of approaches from anthropology and linguistic research to give a clearer illumination on the approach to name-study. The approach is predicated on the realities of the numerous studies conducted by myriads of disciplines with little meeting points. The study which employed the semistructured and key informant interviews had a sample size of 450 respondents through simple random and a blend of purposive sampling. It debunked the perceived notion of arbitrariness of names which is not shared by anthropologists and ethno-semantics. The research, however, revealed that names are still significant and considered a vital social activity of the ethnic groups studied and as such picking a name for a child demands a careful inward-looking. It further revealed that personal names are still used effectively not only as veritable tools for communication but also for the storage, retrieval and perpetuation of cultural knowledge. The study, however, recommended that proper understanding of the collective roles of names as a symbolic system in a culture demands knowing the past, classificatory notes, methods of obtaining information from sources, present manifestations of names and consequences on man‟s activities and his psyche.