A morphological and semantic analysis of nicknames in Ng'umbo
Kabaso, Mwaba Fredgerious
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By exploring the morphology, meanings, significance and sources of names, one would be struck by the wealth of information which certain nicknames provide about the name bearers, society that gives them and the social environment they live in. Ng’umbo people have nicknames as part of their naming practice which present peculiar morphological and semantic structures different from ordinary nicknames. Thus, this study aimed at analysing the morphology and semantics of selected nicknames in Ng’umbo Language. Conducted in Samfya and Mufulira, 120 nicknames were collected from sixty elders and name bearers through snowballing, simple face to face interviews, introspection, document analysis of headmen’s and school examination registers. The study applied descriptive research design largely informed by qualitative approach to data descriptive and lexical analysis of morphological structures by segmenting, identifying and describing morphemes that constitute these nicknames. The meanings were interpreted through Eclectic theories; the Nonsense Theory, Phenomenology and Thematic Analysis to determine their semantics. It established that nicknames have morphology where prefixes and extensions added to roots or stems alter their meanings. They are de-nominals, de-verbals and de-adjectivals. They displayed short, long, phrasal (compounding), sentence and proverbial structures where borrowed nicknames exhibit difficult morphological structures. Nicknames have various etymologies cardinal in providing meanings. The study concluded that nicknames are meaningful, but polysemous; have semantic value governed by socio-cultural factors and convey messages. Many people are proudly called by nicknames; hence become fixed and eventually stabilise into surnames, family names or in inherited names. Based on these findings, the study recommends for more researches with holistic approach to exhaustively deal with nickname’s aspects since no single study can encompose all dimensins as Onomastics is a new multidisciplinary field of study in Zambia. Government and donnors should invest more resources; money and time in scholarly studies pertaining to nicknaming practices to generate valid knowledge that can be used as study materials in onomastics and general linguistics in schools and colleges. The investigations into nicknaming should be extended to other languages and dialects in Zambia especially those threatened with death to prevent language death and preserve them. Further, an investigation on the neologisms or loan nicknames should be conducted as they have portrayed very interesting linguistic features.
University of Zambia
Master of Arts in Linguistic Science