Vol 29 No 2 (2020): Nordic Journal of African Studies
Articles Linguistics

Personal naming practices and modes of address in the Chasu speech community

Rafiki Yohana Sebonde
Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Dodoma
Published July 11, 2020
  • personal names,
  • modes of address,
  • Chasu language,
  • identity


This paper gives an account of sociolinguistic aspects of Chasu personal names and some ways in which they relate to the modes of address among the Vaasu people of Same District in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. It reveals that Chasu personal names are both linguistic and socio-cultural phenomena and are formed by both lexical and affixation processes. From the linguistic point of view, Chasu names demonstrate meaningful morphological and derivational processes that are linked to gender marking and hierarchy of birth. From a socio-cultural perspective, personal names are linked with circumstances surrounding the birth, such as time and day of delivery, place of birth, and natural events. This study describes how personal names are chosen and bestowed upon children, and how beliefs, values, social practices and human experience are reflected in the naming practices. This paper further demonstrates that names are not only labels for individual or group identification but are also inseparable from the modes of address and manner of expression in the Chasu speech community.