Naming in Igbo Land: A Linguistic and Cultural Study

Ngozi Anyachonkeya


This paper examines naming in Igbo land to ascertain a range of implications it entails. The study assumes a position that the Igbo do not give names to their children anyhow, that the names they give their children have social, linguistic, historical, religious and philosophic colouring. It argues that names of children of the Igbo born are a projection of not only the whims of the parents but also a window through which we mirror their lives and concatenations. At times, such names constitute an aphorism unto themselves as well as an exemplum of their world view, what we may in Igbo refer to as Uwa Ndi Igbo. Naming reveals the people’s sociological and ideological culture, vis-à-vis, their folkways, fears and aspirations, joys and hates, ideals and values as well as their cultural and spiritual values in which they hold so dear. The paper observes that every generation sets its own value. That is why the philosophic meanings of naming of the previous generation of our forebears sharply contrast with those of the succeeding generations. The Omuma Igbo in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State will furnish the case study of the inquiry that is so fascinating, so intriguing, but, also, at the same time, so interesting.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n17p113

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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