South African Journal of African Languages

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An exploration of prerequisite Shona naming factors1

Livingstone Makondo


This article explores eleven broad factors the Shona people of Zimbabwe consider when they choose personal names namely gender, age, education, religion, nationality, residential area, namers, birth circumstances, birth order, profession and colonial administrators. Knowledge of these factors enables one to appreciate that Shona naming is a unique comprehensive discourse. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire that was administered to 500 respondents predominantly in seven Shona speaking provinces of Zimbabwe. The article begins by referring to global naming trends before focusing on the Shona speaking people and a description and analysis of their naming patterns.

S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang., 30(2) 2010

AJOL African Journals Online