An Investigation into the Patterns and Mechanisms of Naming in Afan Oromo: Focus on Personal Naming

Ayele Gizaw Gemechu


This study was conducted to describe the  patterns  and mechanism of naming in Afan Oromo by focusing on personal names. Descriptive research design was used to conducted this study as it is helpful  to gather data in particular time with intension of describing the variables under study.  In this study both primary and secondary data were collected via interview and document analysis. Interview guideline was prepared and used to collect data from the selected informants. Besides, relevant documents that were written on this issue were also referred to achieve the purpose of this study. To analyze the data collected through the above instruments, qualitative method of data analysis was used.  The result of the data analysis shows that during the pre-modern Ethiopia state building(before 1885) Oromo people had been giving Afan Oromo names to their children in the way that the names were meaningful in the cultural, linguistic and socio-economic context of Oromo. The mechanism of naming that had been used before 1885 was coinage. During Imperial and Socialist Regimes of Ethiopia( 1886-1991) Oromo people were forced to name their children in Amharic. This kind of naming is borrowing. After the coming to power of EPRDF in 1991, Oromo people started to re-use Oromo Cultural Names to name their children.. Besides, Oromo adolescents who have an access to education and affected by globalization name their children in the way that the names are meaningful locally and globally.  In addition, Oromo people are providing new names for their kids by combing two or more  Afan Oromo words together.  In short, the study revealed that the  there are different naming mechanisms and patterns of personal naming in Afan Oromo. Besides, the major mechanisms of  naming  in Afan Oromo are coinage, borrowing, compounding, blending, etc. It also appears that the patterns and mechanisms of naming in Afan Oromo has been profoundly affected by various socio-cultural, religious and  political factors. For this reasons, the patterns  and  mechanisms of naming  in Afan Oromo can be well understood by dividing into different historical times.

Keywords:Afan Oromo, Mechanism, Naming, Oromo ,Patterns, word formation

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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