KEEPING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER IN ONE UNIT: A STUDY OF IRONY AS COMMUNICATIVE TOOL IN SELECTED SISAALA PERSONAL NAMES

  • Confidence Gbolo Sanka KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
  • Charity Azumi Issaka KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
  • Francis Elsbend Kofigah KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Keywords: personal names, ethnopoetics, Ghana, sarcasm, Sissalas

Abstract

This paper discusses the relevance of irony as a conduit for social commentary in selected traditional personal names in Sissala land in Ghana. The research is motivated by the fact that names, apart from their communicative functions, are also intricate layers of verbal aesthetics all over the world. This article investigates, using the theory of ethnopoetics, the concepts of irony and culture, the ability of selected traditional personal names to comment effectively on attitudes, utterances or certain postures among the Sissalas in Ghana due to the irony embedded in them. By collecting a number of names purposively from Sissala land, and by using methods such as structured interviews, observation, and participating in five naming ceremonies, the researchers are able to subject selected ironic names to a critical analysis. The findings reveal that due to the verbal art embedded in these names, they constitute a unique platform for contributing sound advice, warnings, observations, and social commentary which are all conduits of communication that keep the community functioning as a unit. The names are able to function in this way due to the role and aesthetic quality of irony.
Published
2022-03-31