Shona Names as Communication and Description

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A Case of the Manyika

Onomastics is a field of sociolinguistics that is today being exploited by cultural geographers as well as historians and scholars and students of heritage studies.

It is in the light of this that this research ventures to bring to the fore how naming practices among the Shona have been used to communicate and describe natural phenomena.

It does this by analysing personal names, those of dogs and those of places.

When used with regards to toponyms, the names bring out how people map out a place and how they relate to it.

When used in naming people, the names successfully funtion as a summary of those who are named.

The names also highlight how society ends up giving names to certain individuals.

It makes it clear that some people's character traits are captured in the names that they carry.

Canonyms, or dog names are used as a communication tool largely between two feuding parties.

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