A Socio-semiotic Study of Nicknaming among Undergraduates in a Nigerian University

Ibukun Filani, Omotosho Moses Melefa

Abstract


The concept of name and naming is not just a tool for constructing identity; it is an important signification system in African cosmology. It is imbued with the people's perception of life and being. This explains why certain individuals who are discontented with their names either change them or adopt nicknames to reflect their sense of dignity, reinvented individuality and humanity. This paper explored nicknaming as a signification tool for identity reinvention from a socio-semiotic dimension. Data for the study was sampled purposively from students' halls of residence at the University of Ibadan and analysed using insights from socio-semiotic theory of sign. The use of irony in names was observed to be a common tool for reinvention, especially with those instances where the nicknames were given as derogatory labels to redesign the identities of the concerned personalities. It was observed also that others use nicknames to project a sense of reinvented self, especially in instances where the nicknames were the creations of the individuals concerned.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.68.1632