Literary Etymologies of the Ewe Names of Some Animals
Keywords:Etymology, Ewe names, literary etymology, literature, onomastics
Employing the theoretical framework of literary etymology, this paper has investigated the Ewe names of ten animals purposively sampled for this study. These animals are atiglinyi ‘elephant’, tɔmenyi ‘hippopotamus’, dzotsinyi ‘rhinoceros’, sɔvedã ‘giraffe’, ƒeɖekadzoɖeke ‘stag’, amekese ‘gorilla’, gbeha ‘bushbig’, avugbe ‘fox’, kposɔ ‘camel’ and tɔkoklo ‘swan’. Two purposes inform this sample, namely, first, all the Ewe names of the sampled animals are descriptive because the framework of literary etymology favours descriptive names. Second. The animals are ten because ten is large enough a number for phenomenological studies such as the present one. Findings reveal novel, informative and interesting nuances behind each name and show that conscious reflection rather than random arbitrariness informs the giving of these names. The significance of this study is that it affords one the acquisition of pertinent information such as history behind the names, evidence-based reflection, creativity and comprehension of the deep meanings behind these common everyday animal names that could be taken prima facie as ordinary names without anything worth discovering. Moreover, the study can enhance the pedagogy of these animal names. Finally, the study goes to confirm that although a framework for the analysis of literary onomata, literary etymology can be employed to analyse common nouns like animal names, proving that there is more to a name, proper or common, than meets the eye.
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