A STUDY OF IBUSA NAMES: GENDER, MEANING, AND ATTITUDE
The issue of gender is a topical one. Feminists conceive that males dominate females in different spheres of life ranging from politics, religion, the judiciary, and to the way people use language to express social reality. This paper examines how gender is reflected in the personal names of the Igbo people of Ibusa, in the Delta State of Nigeria. It does this by exploring the meaning of the names and by investigating the attitudes of the name bearers. Data was collected by means of a questionnaire and an oral interview from two secondary schools and one social club in Ibusa, from the 6th to the 31st of October 2007. The analysis is based on 160 traditional names that were collected during the process. The results reveal that Ibusa names for both males and females have sexist undertones. Furthermore, that names ascribed to males are associated with objects of social significance while female ones generally comment on mundane things. Moreover, the paper reveals that 86% of males and 93% of females have positive attitudes towards their names, while a negligible percentage of males (10%) and females (6.6%) claim that their names portray them in a negative light. It was anticipated that a significant number of people would have negative attitudes towards their names because of the meanings encoded in such names, but the data shows that names which were thought to be negative were in fact positive because of the context under which they were given.