Descriptive Analysis of Oromoo Personal Names and Naming Practices in Eastern Wollega Zone of Oromia National Regional State

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This dissertation describes personal names and naming practices of Oromoo people in Eastern Wollega of Oromia National Regional state. The study was carried out at Naqamte Administrative town and Giddaa Ayyaanaa district in Eastern Wollega. The study describes how children are named and explores the factors that influence childnamingamong the Oromoo people in the study area. It explains the connotations and social realities that are reflected in their personal names and analyzes the roles personal names play in construction of personal and social identity. In addition, it describes the linguistic descriptions and causes and purposes of the new emerging trends in Oromoo naming and name changing practices in the area.To this effect, the research employed descriptive analysis research design in qualitative methods to collect and analyze data. The data were collected through interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. The data were gathered from ten parents and twelve key informants who are language experts, cultural and tourism officers and more experienced elders in naming practices. Moreover, four individuals who had changed their names were interviewed to investigate the reasons behind the name changing and their feelings about their names: both the previous and the current names. Two focus group discussions were held and documents from schools and Legal Court Offices were used. The data collected through these instruments were analyzed and interpreted qualitatively using Onomastic theory. The theory is used to glean the intended and implied meaning(s) of various personal names.The analysis of data indicated that fathers, mothers and close relatives such as grandfathers and grandmothers played a significant role in deciding a name of a newly born child. Unlike the past, naming children by traditional practices were forgotten and the involvement of Ayyaantuus, who are the blessed persons of the society, was stopped.As a result, naming becomes parents’ responsibility. Besides, the data reveal that factors such as parents’ life experiences, the circumstances happening during pregnancy and child birth and situations of life and living in the family and socio-political dynamics at the country level determine the names to be given. Moreover, the day, time and conditionof birth, the family’s livelihood conditions, attitudes towards politics, social and cultural stdues, their wishes, hopes, beliefs, successes and challenges they come across and their future aspirations and hopes are also factors that govern the naming practices of the society.Furthermore, naming trends of the people have been changed from a single word names to coined phrase, clause and sentence form names. These happens to express the revival of nationalism, self-discovery and parents’ political devotions and assertiveness indifferent aspects of life such as social, cultural, political and identity issues. Depending on the meanings personal names communicate in social, political, economic and cultural issues, the current trend names express the people’s optimistic feelings. These names depict that the people are hopeful about the future. They wish and need betterment in politics and national issues in near future. Thus, for the Oromoo people of Eastern Wollega, personal names are an occurrence of language use for specific purposes which represent an important part of the people’s life.Finally, the name changing practices are widely happening in the research areas for different reasons. These reasons are for expression of individuals’ Oromummaa (feelings of Oromoness) and Saboonummaa (being proud of their Oromummaa), to search for their identity that they lost in the past system and feel comfort with their indigenous names. The other reasons of name changing practices are to express their identity and inspire generation in philosophical truth that lead to self-fulfillment and self description



Names and naming practices of Oromoo people