The Culture of Namegiving Around the World

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Names are means of social identification, in some culture it is believed that a name says a lot about the roots, lineage and in some cases the future of the person. Names is same situation especially in the African culture situation cannot just be an identity maker. Therefore the processes involved in naming a child in African society is considered a serious business. A Yoruba adage says that, the name of a person explains much about the person. And the recognition of person’s name is deeply valued as an important tool to Nigerians, which in this case it is not too strange to find people in Nigeria culture changing their names and adopting new means to reinvent themselves. Giving names to children is a universal practice in all cultures of the world. As different cultures exist so does the way and manner name giving vary. The principles that guide giving of names varies from culture to culture. Nneka. And Justina (2016) discuss about how in Igbo culture, Nigeria names are chosen in accordance with very a very clear, precise and particular rules. Children may get their name from supreme beings, totems and family tress of their parents, circumstances that occur when the mother was pregnant can also be a factor that determine the name that will be given to the child, names can also be derived through magic and incantation, often time, in African culture children are named after dead relative who is believed to reincarnated through the baby. The process of name giving was further explained by Ngozi (2014) to be in accordance “with social, linguistic, historical, religious and philosophic norms of the culture of the parents.

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In most cases especially in African culture, the name presented at birth is one of the several names a child will been associated with throughout his/her life because in most cases the father, mother, grandparent and several others have a name for the baby. Through adulthood the individual also acquires additional names, often some are as a result of accomplishment in life or in some cases they are given nicknames which are associated with the individuals personality, social behaviour, social class and other different factors. Nneka (2016) explains name giving as an acquisition of an identity, it is like the child has embark upon an emblematic relations with the society, the society validates the individuals actuality and owns its obligations towards the child during the process of providing a name to the child at birth. The name of a child helps to create a different identity from others; that implies that the society considers the child as separate entity with different needs and feelings, which helps to separate the individual child needs and feelings from all other children in the community, through the different names the child in the record of the society and as a result of the different names his/her achievement will exist separate from the achievement of others.

It is also not strange situation to find people who out of all their names there is a particular one that is preferred amongst them which might be used in the situation in reinventing themselves. A situation is the adoption of nick names. Ijeoma and Dorcas (2017) explains that”... Changing names to be common with converts who adopt new religions. Also, it is in cases of coverts to suddenly comprehend that his/her last name does not portray his/her new faith, or s (he) believes that the names given cannot support or survive with them in recent trends. Therefore they see a need that causes for a change of name. This study is exploring the preferences of Federal Polytechnic Ede undergraduate students to indigenous names and other categories. This study observes the significance that indigenous names plays as a role in the social interaction of Federal Polytechnic Ede Undergraduate Students. This can be seen in the explanation of Umera-Okeke and Ezenma-Ohento (2010) which postulates that “… Nigerian languages communicates and impart the culture of the people from the old generation to the new generation.

The language is an important aspect of a culture and plays a major tool in the society because it is the tool used in gatherings, to socialize, cohesion and in incorporating the daily activities of the society. Therefore indigenous language, should be valued as a means of sustaining the uniqueness of the different cultures, the main point is that language plays an important part of a culture Umera-Okeke and Ezenma-Ohento (2010) explains language as a means of encouraging the sustainability of an indigenous language in a culture through the use of indigenous names, this was further explained in an example of Umera-Okeke and Justina (2016) “ A Yoruba child who answers Paul, John, Victor and Margret will be promoting whose culture? In the situation where the name s(he) owns is not his/her mother tongue and so in cases like that it might take the child up to his adolescent to start striving to understand the meaning of the names s(he) bears and the situation it was taken from. It is important to give a working explanation to names and an example giving by Harder (2008) “ names are words signifying special and tangible things, either living as in the case of a person or an animal, in inanimate, as in the case of a place or a concept”. Since the target for this definitions humans, names can regarded as a retiring representations which are used to describe and place human beings in their society. Harder (2008) further make out various kinds of human names. An example been the personal names; which are used to designate both male and female in the human society, the first names; which are names given at birth. The last in his classification is the last name which can also be referred to as family name or surname, the last name denotes a person’s family background. He also recognized nicknames and pseudonyms as important category of names.

As stated by McDowell (1981) “nicknaming practices are widely distributed and everywhere contoured to cultural matrices in which they operate.” Aboh (2011) also defines “names as linguistic windows to people and what they do”. He further hypothesize “…names as the core of our identity. Throughout human history, people have often used names to meet certain demands. Names are windows to people and their culture. The names people bear link them to their past, culture and even their spirituality. The names people choose for their children and others reflect the relationship among name, Identity and politics.” In this study, the act of naming is seen as traditional, since it is done in line with the culture of the parents of the child that is being named. The choice of preference for the child is influenced by the fact that the naming ceremony is carried out when the carrier of the name is present but cannot make sense of his/her situation with respect to the name, and to the choice of preference when the preferred name identity where the carrier is aware of the situation. As s(he) finds a means of remodeling the name to construct the desired message.

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