What Do “Message-Names” Say? The Management of Kinship and the Act of Naming among the Bwa (Mali)

Abstract : Among the Bwa, as in other African societies, an individual’s name often convey a message addressed to a third person. These messages, conveyed by the names that grandparents have given to children, provide a way to state what may not be said outright, in particular about family relations or marriages. In a context where language is thought to have a strong performative value, uttering one’s opinion in veiled terms when a child is born provides proof of the person’s skills not just in using language but also in managing relations with kin. Even though a person’s common names seem anecdotal and circumstantial, their pragmatic function should not be over-looked, especially in relation to the facts of kinship. In this context, the act of naming in the form of a message-name apparently serves to adjust the normative aspects of kinship to actual practices.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01408996
Contributor : Cécile Leguy <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 5, 2016 - 3:49:05 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 11:32:05 AM

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Cécile Leguy. What Do “Message-Names” Say? The Management of Kinship and the Act of Naming among the Bwa (Mali) . L'Homme - Revue française d'anthropologie, Éditions de l'EHESS 2011. ⟨halshs-01408996⟩

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