Pet-naming as Protest’s Discourse in Polygamous Yoruba Homes: A Socio-Pragmatic Study

Idowu Odebode


This study attempts a speech act analysis of names given to pets particularly by women in polygamous homes among the Yoruba, a popular ethnic group in Nigeria. Twenty-five names were selected for the study. The names were given in-depth analysis based on the theory of Speech Act by Austin (1962). The study indicates that the invented pet names, apart from their initial illocutionary function of insulting, perform certain other functions in their context of usage. Through naming or nicknaming, it is possible to direct, inform, advise and perform different discourse acts. It is also possible to take turns indirectly through naming such that one pet name elicits for another which serves as a reply to the previous. Finally, it is discovered that pet naming is a very significant communicative tool which is largely used by participants in polygamous homes in Africa as instruments of vengeance and protests.



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