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An Exploratory Study Of The Meaning And Perception Of Names Among Students In A Nigerian University

CE Ofovwe
A Awaritefe


In Nigeria, personal names particularly indigenous names are not arbitrarily given, they bear significant connotative meanings, reflecting the circumstance surrounding the birth of the bearer and the belief and philosophy of the name giver. The significance placed on names gives it immense psychological undertones. This study therefore sought to evaluate the knowledge students in a Nigerian University (comprising of 159 males and 86 females (Mean age= 24.61; SD = 4.16) possess of the names they bear (foreign and/or indigenous), their attitude towards such names and the likelihood of naming their offspring accordingly or otherwise. A self reported questionnaire developed by the authors was used to elicit relevant socio-demographic information as well as information on the subject of study. Data was treated descriptively. Our findings show that the possession of foreign and indigenous names is common and favourably embraced, however, indigenous names where assessed more positively, they were described as instructive, meaningful and prophetic. The general perception of names suggests that names can affect the bearer’s perception of his/herself as well as how he/she is perceived by others. The strong affirmation of the existence of bad and good names and the possible repercussion of a bad name call for
careful deliberation in the giving of personal names.