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Onomastic strategies: A pragmatic approach to the use of personal names among the Kabye of northern Togo

Issue: Vol 13 No. 2-4 (2019) Special Issue: African anthroponyms: Sociolinguistic currents and anthropological reflections

Journal: Sociolinguistic Studies

Subject Areas: Gender Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sols.37846


In this article I propose to analyze three verbal strategies underlying the use of personal names by the Kabye of northern Togo. Such strategies fulfill a variety of purposes, including attempts to influence the behavior of a name-bearer in the context of interpersonal or social relationships. They are often implemented with the intent to help name-bearers live up to their name. Among these strategies I examine (1) the choice of a name, (2) its intonation and (3) its amplification. All three strategies fall within the scope of the socio-pragmatic approach to naming (the giving of names as well as their use) defined here as essentially an act of interpellation.

Author: Atoma Batoma

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