Patterns of Language Shift: The Case of Gbagyi Anthroponomy


    Abigail Musa Dalhatu

    Department of Languages and Linguistics
    Nasarawa State University, Keffi



Pragmatics, maintenance, onomastics, anthroponomy, motivation


This study explores the onomastics, particularly the anthroponyms of Gbagyi, following the researcher’s assumption that new naming practices have emerged in Gbagyi community as a result of westernization, Christianity, urbanization and globalization. This article aims to explore the pattern of language shift in Gbagyi from an onomastic perspective. Both primary and secondary data were used and analyzed descriptively. This enabled us to offer objective observations on the shifting phenomenon in Gbagyi. This study provides empirical evidence to show that an inquiry on naming system of a language like Gbagyi provides significant insights into the nature and pattern of language shift as well as language maintenance. This study establishes that changes have emerged in naming practices of Gbagyi resulting into a language shift phenomenon in the language. Also, this study suggests that the pattern of shifting in Gbagyi was started by the Hausa language but is now also being influenced by the English language. We suggest that naming in Gbagyi should be encouraged among the Gbagyi speakers as a maintenance strategy for the language in order to halt the prevailing shift phenomenon. We strongly recommend that, in order to ensure maximum success in this correctional course, a comprehensive semantic/ pragmatic description of the Gbagyi anthroponomy may come handy, reason is that a better grasp of the deep meaning of the names would serve as a strong motivation to the name-givers and name-bearers in Gbagyi community towards using their native names. 


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How to Cite

Musa Dalhatu, A. (2020). Patterns of Language Shift: The Case of Gbagyi Anthroponomy. Journal of the Nigerian Languages Project, 2. Retrieved from