Awutu-Efutu Personal Names: Sociolinguistic and Grammatical Insights


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Linguistics & Communication Studies


This project examines the sociocultural and grammatical relevance of personal names in Awutu-Efutu, an endangered Guan language spoken predominantly in Winneba, Senya Beraku, Obutu, and Bawjiase, West of Accra Capital District of Ghana. The study investigates how Awutu-Efutu personal names can define, express, and affect social relationships. The study also shows that personal names in Awutu-Efutu can trigger significant grammatical information, because these names are not just words in the lexicon, but are often phrases, clauses, and sentences of various kinds, structures, and functions. The study compares the Awutu-Efutu naming tradition with that of the dominant Fante language and culture to ascertain the degree of influence. The study argues that Awutu-Efutu personal names are not mere identifiers, but are term of great social significance, influencing, among other things, social organization, notion of personhood, and sociocentrism, in addition to providing an excellent window to the grammatical structure of the Awutu-Efutu language. The study brings new insights into language classification in Ghana.