South African Journal of African Languages

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Talking nightclubs! An onomastic perspective

Livingstone Makondo


Naming is a purposeful act. Names communicate a plethora of denotative and connotative meanings. Name readers need to deconstruct the historical, semiotic and pragmatic import of names to get at their diverse semantic significance. This article predominantly examines the naming of nightclubs at Makoni shopping centre in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe.1 This exploration seeks answers to these questions: • Which names are given to nightclubs? • Why are such nightclub names given? • What effect do those names have on the patrons of the nightclubs? • What is the linguistic benefit of these onomastic innovations? This transdisciplinary ethnographic qualitative examination of a sample of the gathered 40 nightclub names submits that nightclub owners and administrators prefer names that decoy prospective patrons by portraying certain preferred images and meanings. The resultant linguistic enrichment testifies to the dynamism of namers in using names that aptly propagate their marketing strategies.

South African Journal of African Languages 2013, 33(1): 45–50
AJOL African Journals Online