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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Baatnu Personal Names from Birth to Death
Author:Schottman, Wendy
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Benin
first names
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:This article, which is based on field research carried out in 1986 and 1988, deals with the traditional system of personal names among the Baatombu, or Bariba, the largest ethnic group of northern Benin. A Baatonu child is born with a birth rank name, and atypical characteristics of the pregnancy or delivery as well as notable circumstances surrounding the event of the child's birth can be at the origin of another name. These names, along with a possible nickname acquired some time during childhood, are called 'bii yisiru', child names. They are perfectly suitable for children, but you must not die before having acquired another name, a real name. This plurality of names is an important characteristic of the Baatonu naming system. Another characteristic is that a clear opposition between a personal and a collective name is somewhat artificial. Most types of Baatonu personal name individualize by classifying. The article describes the various categories of Baatonu personal names and concludes with a few comments on the major modifications the system has recently been submitted to. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.