Morphosyntactic Analysis of Onitsha Personal Names


  • Chika Obiageli Ezeudo Nnamdi Azikiwe University
  • Sopuruchi Christian Aboh University of Nigeria
  • Kalu Mba Idika University of Nigeria



morphology, syntax, anthroponyms, Onitsha, onomastics


This study examines Onitsha personal names (OPN) from a morphosyntactic perspective. The major objective of this study is to examine the syntactic and morphological structure of some OPN. Specifically, the study seeks to ascertain the morphological processes and the relation in the internal structures of the morpheme that are combined to form the names. A sample of 250 names for both male and female were used for the analysis. The data were obtained from a list of names in schools, men and women religious associations. Oral interviews were conducted with native speakers in order to get clarifications as it concerns the meaning of the names. The roots, stems, and affixes of the names were analysed using the descriptive approach and applying the word formation rules. The findings reveal the following: that most of the morphological processes in the formation of OPN are predominantly clipping, prefixing and suffixing in a hierarchical manner, such that the meaning of the names are predictable from their structural components and most of these names are derived from clauses by desententialisation process; the philosophy behind the names are often lost due to clipping; OPN at sentential level can function as statements, interrogatives, or imperatives, commands; the morphological components in terms of size, length or shape can be monomorphemic, dimorphemic, trimorphemic and polymorphemic. Structurally, they can be single stem, compound or complex.

Author Biographies

Chika Obiageli Ezeudo, Nnamdi Azikiwe University

Department of Linguistics

Sopuruchi Christian Aboh, University of Nigeria

Department of Linguistics, Igbo and other Nigerian Languages

Kalu Mba Idika, University of Nigeria

Department of Linguistics, Igbo and other Nigerian Languages


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