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Linguistics don tasks Igbo on names


Abia State University Uturu

Abia State University Uturu

Professor Monday Chibudo Onukawa of Department of Linguistics, Abia State University Uturu (ABSU) has decried the practice of Igbo naming which he said does not really promote the Igbo culture, philosophy, thought and the core values in its entirety.

Prof. Onukawa stated this while delivering the 24th ABSU Inaugural lecture with the topic  “Gini Bu Aha Gi –– Topical Issues On Personal Naming In The Igbo Society.” He said most of the names both in Igbo and foreign given and borne by the present generation of the Igbo are Christian-oriented.

Chairman of the lecture session and Vice Chancellor, Prof. Uche Ikonne said that inaugural lectures provides the academia the slot to expose to the public the stuff they are made of, adding that ABSU management will continue to encourage the growth of Igbo language and culture even as a committee  has been constituted to organise a two-day cultural expo in the university.

He urged Igbo to urgently reverse these practices and return to the use of traditional Igbo personal names that affirm and promulgate the Igbo core values.

According to him, Igbo should be happy and proud to bear names that relate directly or by extended interpretation to their psyche, which he said would certainly check the excessive inculcation of foreign values.

Pointing out that the danger in the excessive lapping up of alien ways of thought and action by the Igbo is that it fundamentally portrays them as a cultureless people, Prof. Onukawa who still bears foreign name of Monday, posited that “ there is an urgent need for the Igbo to retrace their steps on the present Pentecostal naming system, else they graduate to a state where names become mere labels and no longer hold much meaning.

In this regard, he held that they would begin to have anything as a name such as Drinkwater, Conference, Whisky, Carpenter, Vote, Independence, White, Black, Republic, Census, Mechanic, Professor, etc predicting that if care is not taken, Igbo also would begin to change their names based on what the names interpret to in other languages.

Adding that the effect of the naming practices of the contemporary Igbo is the erosion of their core values, the inaugural lecturer stated that a prudent study of the Igbo language and culture would reveal that several core values of the Igbo are embedded in the language and are however expressed mostly on the personal names; a very important components of the Igbo culture.

He also frowned at what he called a recent practice by contemporary Igbo who re-order their first name and surname by placing surname first and first name last, which observing that this is more common among many teachers at the various levels of education.

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