Semantics and Pragmatics of Oromo Personal Names Eastern Wollegga

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Addis Ababa University


The objective of this research is to describe the personal naming practices and meanings of personal names in Eastern Wollega of selected woredas. A descriptive survey method is used in the study. The subjects of the study are p eople with ample experience in personal naming. To collect the data tools like interviews, observation, tape recording, and document analysis have been employed. The data are analysed using qualitative approaches. The results of the study reveal that the p eople of the study area give names to babies in five different ways. These are 'haammaeiisaa', 'ayyaana heduu, naming after days, time of the day, and birth seasons. The results thus indicate that Oromo personal names have meaning which may be descriptive, connotative, associate or contextual. In addition, there are personal names which have both symbolic and referential meanings. These different meanings can be recognized on the basis of the culture of the society. The names are classified on the bas is of the themes they represent. In Oromo personal names, there are distinct gender marks which distinguish masculine and feminine gender. Some Oromo names serve as temporal and personal deixis.