Aspects of the Socio-Semantic and Linguistic Analysis of Ìgbò Personal Names


  • Eunice C. OSUAGWU Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies,


This paper provides a semantic and sociolinguistic analysis of Ìgbò personal names and explains their contextual meanings and symbols from the sociolinguistic point of view. This view considers names as socio-cultural tags that have socio-cultural functions and meaning. It is observed that Ìgbò names are not arbitrary, but contextually based on socio-cultural and ethno-pragmatic  considerations. The qualitative research design was used in analyzing the data collected using the descriptive content analysis. The sampling technique adopted is the purposive sampling technique and sources of data are primarily from guided interviews, observations and personal intuition of the author who is a native speaker of Ìgbò. The findings of this paper reveal that Ìgbò personal names can be grouped into: positional names, manner names, circumstantial names, periodic names, death preventing names, theophoric names, physical appearance names, virtue names, pet names, praise names, metaphoric names, death-potency names, predictive names, symbolic names, fortune and consolation. It is also noted that phonologically, a sequence of two vowels in an Ìgbò personal name is always contracted to one vowel

in the phonetic realization of the name. The paper further reveals that

morphologically, Ìgbò names can be clipped or compounded, while syntactically,

Ìgbò names can be declarative or interrogative sentences.

Author Biography

Eunice C. OSUAGWU, Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies,

University of Port Harcourt



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How to Cite

C. OSUAGWU, E. . (2018). Aspects of the Socio-Semantic and Linguistic Analysis of Ìgbò Personal Names. Journal of The Linguistic Association of Nigeria. Retrieved from