LINGUIST List 12.2656

Wed Oct 24 2001

Books: Anthropological/Morphophonological Ling

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  1. LINCOM EUROPA, Anthro/Morphophono Ling: African Anthroponymy, Obeng

Message 1: Anthro/Morphophono Ling: African Anthroponymy, Obeng

Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 19:08:18 +0200
Subject: Anthro/Morphophono Ling: African Anthroponymy, Obeng

African Anthroponymy: 
An Ethnopragmatic and Morphophonological Study
of Personal Names in Akan and Some African Societies

Indiana University, Bloomington

Names in African cultures are pointers to their users' hopes, dreams
and aspirations; they may reflect their users' geographical
environments, their fears, their religious beliefs, and their
philosophy of life and death. Children's names may even provide
insights into important cultural or socio-political events at the time
of their birth. The circumstances surrounding a childs birth may be
considered when a name is being chosen.

Factors such as the day of the week of the birth, the time of day
(dawn, morning, dusk, afternoon, evening, night), the season of the
year, the order of birth, the location a person is born, the specific
circumstances relating to the child and to the childs family, the
attitude of the parents as well as the gender of the child all play
significant roles in the overall naming process and in the actual name
given. If one's parents suffer or suffered from child or infant
mortality, one is likely to have a funny, survival or death-prevention
name believed to be capable of preventing and/or eliminating totally
such deaths since it has the power of preventing parents in the
underworld from causing the death of such children. Names in African
societies may even be important indicator(s) of the bearers behavior
and as pointers to the name-bearers' past, present, and future
accomplishments. Personal names in Sub-Saharan Africa are therefore
not mere labels showing which person (particularly, which father) is
responsible for a childs birth. There is also a close identity between
the name and the name bearer such that the name links to the
name-givers overall experiences. Structurally, African names range
from single words, phrases, and sentences, to units larger than the

Ethnopragmatically, African personal names may involve indirectness
and implicitness. They may thus be indirect reactions to problematic
situations in the lives of the name-bearers, their parents or their
communities at large. The greater the communicative difficulty
involved in the circumstances surrounding the name-givers world, the
more indirectness involved. The indirection and ambiguity involved in
African naming traditions may be due to the consequences of candor and
hence the need to have an escape route should the name-givers be
questioned by powerful elders or superiors.

Table of Contents:

Some Important Terminologies 

Chapter 1 Day, Time, and Seasonal Antroponyms
Chapter 2 Birth Circumstances Anthroponyms
Chapter 3 Proverbial Names
Chapter 4 Political Anthroponyms
Chapter 5 Survival Names
Chapter 6 Hypocoristic (Pet) Names
Chapter 7 Religious Names


ISBN 3 89586 431 5.
LINCOM Studies in Anthropology 08. 
Ca. 180pp. 
USD 48 / EUR 48.90 / � 29.

New: A Students' and course discount of 40% is offered to the above

Ordering information for individuals: Please give us your creditcard
no. / expiry date. Prices in this information include shipment
worldwide by airmail. A standing order for this series is available
with special discounts offered to individual subscribers.

NEW: LINCOM electronic n.e.w.s.l.e.t.t.e.r. Monthly up-dates. 
Go to

A Students' and course discount of 40% is offered to the above title. 

Free copies of LINCOM'S newsflashes 26 & 27 are now available from

LINCOM EUROPA, Freibadstr. 3, D-81543 Muenchen, Germany;
FAX +49 89 62269404;
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Monday, July 23, 2001