A Preliminary Study of the Practices of Personal Naming in Konso

  • Ongaye Oda Orkaydo


This article presents the personal naming practices in Konso, a Cushitic-speaking people in southwest Ethiopia. Personal naming in Konso can be formal or informal. Formal personal names are given during a ceremony called sookata, while informal names are given either before or after the sookata ceremony. This article argues that the Konso have family names in their naming practice. This article analyses the typology of personal names in Konso and shows an intrinsic interplay between poetry, songs and personal names. The unitary state policies of the previous regimes and the proliferation of religions have resulted in trends in which people give Amharic or religious names to their children or replace indigenous Konso personal names either by Amharic or religious names. The new trends of changing indigenous names into Amharic and/or religious (mainly biblical) names compromise the knowledge and role of the Konso language as an expression of culture and an identity marker.


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