Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Oxford University Press!


Style, Mediation, and Change

Edited by Janus Mortensen, Nikolas Coupland, and Jacob Thogersen

Style, Mediation, and Change "Offers a coherent view of style as a unifying concept for the sociolinguistics of talking media."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Intonation and Prosodic Structure

By Caroline Féry

Intonation and Prosodic Structure "provides a state-of-the-art survey of intonation and prosodic structure."

Sociolinguistic Studies

Call Deadline: 15-Feb-2017

Call Information:
African Anthroponyms: Sociolinguistic Currents and Anthropological Reflections
Special Issue of Sociolinguistic Studies 13(1-2) April 2019

Guest Editors:
Eyo Mensah, University of Calabar, Nigeria
Kirsty Rowan, University of London, UK.

Call Information:

In the African cultural context, personal names have both sense and referents. Their interpretations are not extremely literal or semantic in content but embody wide range peculiarities that need to be broadly contextualized and understood from social, religious, cultural and pragmatic perspectives. In this way, the power of African personal names reflects cultural variables such as kinship, gender relations, class, cosmology, personal tastes and preferences, and indexes relationships that define socio-cultural functions and meaning.

African personal names, therefore, are creative cultural symbols that represent experiences, conflicts or situations with deep historical resonances. These names are a body of knowledge that reflect a wide gamut of African culture; language, history, philosophy, spirituality and worldview. African names mirror the patterns of the society's cultural and social organization and are pointers to individuals' identities and collective belonging. In Africa, personal names are communicative devices that tell stories about historic events, familial conflicts, and the struggle with supernatural powers which are central to the notions of personhood and self-definition. Importantly, African personal names have been identified as prominent sites to reflect on and interpret emotions, where a name can stand for its bearer and synecdochally epitomizes the essence of his or her being. In this concern, African names appear to inform how their bearers act, think and feel, and how others react and respond towards them. In this way, African personal names are significant entry points into African cosmology and cosmogony.

Research in African personal names (anthroponyms) over the years has offered intriguing insights into contemporary issues in names' scholarship from broad interdisciplinary perspectives. However, sociolinguistic and anthropological investigations of African names are sparse in the literature of onomastics. This special issue therefore aims to extend the frontiers of knowledge by renewing sociolinguistic and anthropological interests in African names' research and filling this conceptual gap particularly with the increasing contemporary globalized culture where there is apparent decline in cultural identity. We welcome papers that examine African names from sociolinguistic and anthropological trajectories, submerging the discussions on convergent paths from different methodological, conceptual and theoretical backgrounds. We wish to engage exciting new dimensions of African names' research with innovative insights.

Please submit an abstract on or before February 15, 2017. Decisions will be sent to authors of accepted abstracts on March 1, 2017. Full papers are due by December 15, 2017. End of blind peer-review process July 1, 2018. Publication is Spring 2019.

Please send your abstract to: and

For further information, contact the Guest Editors, Dr. Eyo Mensah, Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria (+234 8037161192) or Dr. Kirsty Rowan, Department of Linguistics, SOAS. University of London, UK.