What is in a nickname: Ghanaian nickname cultures

  • Albert Kanlisi Awedoba
  • Stephen Owoahene-Acheampong


Many a Ghanaian at one time or the other in his or her life has either been given a nickname, or conferred one on himself or herself, or on another person. Some have not one but several and a nickname may supplant a birth name. Some nicknames are perceived as insulting and are resented but some too are welcomed even if on the surface they denigrate the bearer. The paper looks at the characteristics of nicknames in Ghana. It addresses the questions: who gives nicknames; to whom; for what reasons; and what significant values do they have? It posits that the study of nicknames contributes to an appreciation of the socio-cultural values of a society.

Keywords: nicknames, names, culture, Ghana, Africa


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eISSN: 1597-474X