Traditional African Names

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Overview

African names are elaborately structured and contain more than one possible interpretation of meaning. They can associate one with family, location, and occupation. Many commemorate major occurrences or traditions of the culture. The range of significance is broad, making an understanding of African names not just a valuable personal tool, but also a study aid to African culture and traditions. Traditional African Names considers primarily countries around the African Lakes such as Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda,...

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Overview

African names are elaborately structured and contain more than one possible interpretation of meaning. They can associate one with family, location, and occupation. Many commemorate major occurrences or traditions of the culture. The range of significance is broad, making an understanding of African names not just a valuable personal tool, but also a study aid to African culture and traditions. Traditional African Names considers primarily countries around the African Lakes such as Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaire, and Zimbabwe, but a wide variety of names from other southern African countries are included as well. Using thousands of detailed examples, the book identifies the genesis and evolution in African name formation and meaning. Many of the 6,000 names (complete with pronunciation guidelines) are treated in English for the first time. Each entry discusses the origins of the name, its meaning, and the wide cultural and social connotations of its use, as well as variations and differences in the meanings of similar words used in related ethnic contexts. This analysis provides a unique reservoir of information concerning migration, assimilation, and cultural cross-connection.

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Editorial Reviews

American Reference Books Annual (ARBA)
The 6,000 examples are fascinating to read, and will most certainly open up a new area in the field of nomenclature...This index is an impressive volume and should fill a large void in the area of etymology. It is highly recommended.
African Studies Quarterly
Until the publication of this book, it was extremely difficult to find any volume that collects and defines the meanings of the African names in English...This book is highly recommended for scholars and students of African anthropology, linguistics, literature, history and politics, as well as anyone interested in learning more about an important aspect of African Culture.
American Reference Books Annual
The 6,000 examples are fascinating to read, and will most certainly open up a new area in the field of nomenclature...This index is an impressive volume and should fill a large void in the area of etymology. It is highly recommended.
Modern African Studies
...what distinguishes this book from previous ones is its simplicity in name descriptions and definitions. The alphabetical listings of these names as well as its well-prepared index will be very helpful to those who are not familiar with African appellations. This book is highly recommended for scholars and students of African anthropology, linguistics, literature, history and politics as well as those in the African/Black diaspora who are interested in learning more about African culture.
International Journal Of African Historical Studies
Musere has produced an informative volume that will be of use to students and scholars of Africa for years to come.
Library Review
His introduction is a splendidly informative essay...Musere's book is packed with information and it is easy to consult.
Booknews
African names are complex and nuanced in meaning, often carrying associations with family, location, occupation, cultural traditions, or major events. This volume compiles, in alphabetical order, some 6,000 names, primarily from the people of eastern, central, and southern Africa, including from Burundi, Congo (Zaire), Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Each succinct entry includes pronunciation guidelines, the gender associated with the name, its origins, and its meaning, including social connotations, variations in meanings of similar words used in related ethnic contexts, and the ethnic groups associated with the name. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810836433
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Edition number: 416
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 1.06 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 5.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Musere (M.A., UCLA) has worked in a broad range of disciplines, including Afro-American Studies and Environmental Studies. His other books have treated the cultural and political significance of the African sleeping sickness.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2002

    Deception

    I am not happy with this book as it is deceptive. This book is nothing more than a collection of African words. I am sure some of these words are used as names but there are so many here I have been assured are not used as names. I mean "Busumili"? People are naming thier children after the Mealie Meals (relief food brought in the 1940s)? I don't think so. Busungwe, small placentas; afterbirth? Even in several books including this one on how Africans name thier children these names do not comply with African naming convention. Because this book is so expensive I think it criminal for it to be so deceptive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2000

    A Review of 'Traditional African Names'

    This detailed book that contains 6000 heavily interpreted personal names is likely the biggest book collection of African personal names. Just as with his other books on names, written quite recently, Musere goes into dedicated detail in showing aspects like the origin of the name and the meanings (which can be one or many). A lot of the names are shown to be associated with aspects like proverbs, significant occurences and traditions. African names are shown to be unique in that analyzing them provides a wealth of information concerning cultural practice, migration, and assimilation. This is a study and naming guide that gives detailed examples of God/ Goddess, war, natural phenomena, and season related personal names. Many are examples of names that depict the behavioral characteristics, physiological or physical condition of the newborn. Indeed many African names illustrate the state of mind of the namer, states of breavement or jubilation, and so forth. This book is heavily referenced and indexed unlike

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