this paper, we examine surnames that serve as markers of identity among some Yorùbá
sub-ethnic group members. We show that this present work is different from the
previous works because the earlier works focused on Yorùbá
personal names in general, and the present work locates the Yorùbá
surnames within particular sub-ethnic groups to show that though all the names
described in the previous works are Yorùbá names the previous
works do not distinguish tradition-based names that are today surnames and also
do not tell us where the names can be found within the Yorùbá
sub-ethnic groups. We argue that surnames form one of the parameters that can
be used to distinguish the Yorùbá sub-ethnic group members
from one another. We also show that surnames which indicate Yorùbá sub-ethnic
group affinities are tradition-based personal names and that each of the
tradition-based surnames is structurally a combination of a noun phrase and a
simple clause or a noun phrase and a simple clause. We further show that the
noun phrases depict traditional religions or deities that were peculiar to each
sub-ethnic group before the advent of Christianity while the simple clauses, in
some cases, consist of lexical items that are also peculiar to each sub-ethnic
group dialect. We also argue that the introduction of Western or European
address forms into Yorùbá whereby the use of surnames is
emphasized has helped in preserving the Yorùbá religious
thoughts, beliefs and variation in Yorùbá dialects. This is
because, in some cases, the tradition-based surnames serve as reminders or are
full of reminiscences of the religious activities of the Yorùbá
people before the advent of Christianity in Yorùbá land.
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