Ideology and identity construction in Ibibio personal names
Keywords:Ibibio, personal names, ideology, identity, linguistic ethnography, ethnopragmatics, Nigeria
Existing studies on African anthroponyms have examined the implications of culture, history and language on individual identity constructions in personal names. However, few studies have explored the ideological processes involved in these identity constructions. To fill this gap, this study examines the concepts of ideology and identities in Ibibio personal names from ethnographic and ethnopragmatic perspectives. The data consists of eighty-five Ibibio personal names which were derived from oral interviews with Ibibio name-bearers and givers from Akwa Ibom State, South-eastern Nigeria. The names were categorized into four types: Christian religion, order of birth, endearment and character attribute, depicting the characteristics, cultural norms and religious beliefs of name-bearers. Family relationships, beliefs and knowledge of the culture are, therefore, important ideological indicators for constructing identities through naming. Thus, the names may either portray the bearer’s self-definition and identification or convey social biases. This article argues that identities constructed in Ibibio personal names are intrinsically localized within the name-bearers’ transfer of their cultural conceptualization of their personal names to their lived experiences. The study examines how these innate connections mirror the beliefs or ideologies of name-bearers.
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