Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 13, No 2-4 (2019)

I cannot baptize Satan: The communicative import of Mbube death-prevention names

Jonas Akung, Oshega Abang
Issued Date: 20 Feb 2020

Abstract


This article examines the communicative significance and sociolinguistic import of deathprevention names in Mbube, Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State, Southeastern Nigeria. Naming in the Mbube cultural context reveals deep insights into the relationship between the name-giver and the cultural framework of the Mbube people. This study is an attempt to identify death-prevention names Mbube people bestow and what they communicate in terms of ideology, spirituality and social solidarity. The study relies on Leech’s (1983) socio-pragmatic paradigm on meaning processes, which interrogates social perceptions underlying participants’ interpretation and performance of communicative action (Kasper and Rose, 2002:2). Data for the study were sourced from givers and bearers of death-prevention names in the study area. Interviews and participants observations were the key elicitation techniques with respondents who have in-depth knowledge of the history, language and culture of the Mbube people. The study gains sufficient insights from Mbube religious beliefs, cosmology and history, which resonate in the Mbube naming system generally and death-prevention names in particular. Findings reveal that Mbube death-prevention names confer honour on both the past (ancestors) and the present (living beings), and serve as symbolic resources that encode deep cultural meanings, construct identity and reinforce the notion of personhood.

Download Media

PDF Subscribers Only

DOI: 10.1558/sols.37823

References


 

Ansa, S. and Okon, B. (2014) Names as an index of social history: The Efik examples. Research on Humanities and Social Science 4: 83–92.

Batoma, A. (2009) Onomastic and indirect communication among the Kabre of Northern Togo. Nordic Journal of African Studies 18: 215–234.

Carroll, J. (1980) Naming and describing in social communication. Language and Speech 23: 309–322. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/002383098002300401.

Chakrani, B. (2007) Cultural context and speech act theory: A sociopragmatic analysis of bargaining exchanges in Morocco. Texas Linguistics Forum 51: 43–53.

Chauke, M. T. (2015) Personal names and naming practices among the Vatsongo. Anthropologists 19: 300–322. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09720073.2015.
11891664
.

Crowder, M. (1968) Ekoid Bantu in African history. Englewoord-Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Diala, I. (2012) Colonial mimicry and postcolonial re-membering in Isidore Okpewho’s Call me by my rightful name. Journal of Modern Literature 36(4): 77–95. Doi: https://doi.org/10.2979/jmodelite.36.4.77.

Dixon, R. (1964) On formal and contextual meaning. Acta Linguistica 14: 23–46.

Ebeogu, A. (1993) Onomastics and the Igbo tradition of politics. African Languages and Cultures 6: 133–146. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09544169308717767.

Ekpong, J. B. (2004) Mbe or Mbube: A social and cultural history. Owerri: Media Hall.

Greenberg, J. (1963) Languages of Africa. The Hague: Mouton.

Harlow, L. (1990) Do they mean what they say? Sociopragmatic competence and second language learners. The Modern Language Journal 74(3): 328–351. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1990.tb01070.x.

Idowu, O. (2005) A pragma-sociolinguistic study of names and nicknames in Wole Soyinkan’s Death and the king horseman. In M. Olaitan and L. Oyeleye (eds) Perspectives on language and literature 199–214. Ife: Obafemi Awolowo University Press.

Kasper, G., and Rose, K. (2002) Pragmatic development in a second language. Oxford: Blackwell.

Leech, G. N. (1983) Principles of pragmatics. London: Longman.

Lyons, J. (1977) Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Maenetsha, K. (2014) To the black woman we all know. Cape Town: Modjaji Books.

Mensah, E. O. (2015) Frog, where are you? The ethnopragmatics of Ibibio death-prevention names. Journal of African Cultural Studies 27(2): 115–132. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2014.976545.

Mensah, E. O. and Mekamguom, S. (2017) The communicative significance of Ngəmbȧ personal names. African Identities 15(4): 398–413. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14725843.2017.1319753.

Mojo, T. (2012) Naming practices in colonial and postcolonial Malawi. Inkayiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Science 4(1): 10–16.

National Population for Sustainable Development (2007) Abuja: Federal Ministry of Information.

Obeng, S. G. (1998) Akan death-prevention names: A pragmatics and structural analysis. Names 46(3): 163–187. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1179/nam.1998.46.3.163.

Oha, A. C. (2008) Patterns of linguistic onomastics in Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo House of symbols. In P. Okolo (ed.) The fiction of Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo: Issues in perspective 224–241. Lagos: African cultural institute.

Omagu, D. (2012) The wind of change: Bekwarra in an age of globalization. Abuja: Aboki Publishers.

Sagna, S. and Bassene, E (2016) Why are they named after death? Name giving, name changing and death-prevention names in Gújjolaay Eegimaa (Bangul). African Language Documentation and Conservation 10: 40–70.

Searle, J. (1969) Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139173438.

Spencer-Oatey, H. and Zegarac, C. (2010) Pragmatics. In N. Schmitt (ed.) Introduction to applied linguistics. London: Holder education.

Taguchi, N. (2011) Teaching pragmatics: Trends and issues. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 31: 289–310. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190511000018.

 


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy