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

Naming and social identity: A case study of male praise names in Awgbu Igbo

Patience Solomon-Etefia, Amaka Ideh
Issued Date: 20 Feb 2020

Abstract


Among the Awgbu Igbo people in Anambra State, South-east Nigeria, praise names are bestowed on community members as traditional identifying resources to reflect their personalities, aspirations and social being. These names are required for all adults to establish bonding, extend social relationships and strengthen feelings of solidarity within their local and translocal spaces. This study undertakes a sociolinguistic investigation of male praise names among members of the Awgbu Igbo community taking into account how the names are socially constructed to negotiate identity and authenticity. The discourse of praise names in Awgbu is analysed using social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1979), which maintains that at the level of the self, a person may have multiple social identities, which widen circles of group membership, enact friendship and foster individual identity and collective belonging. We have classified praise names based on relevant social categories that reflect Awgbu life experiences. This study concludes that praise names can create a platform for group members to bond socially by offering an alternate naming enterprise which provides bearers with interactional strategies for the discursive and ideological construction of power and dominance.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.37852

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