A Pragmatic Study of Characters' Names in Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are Not To Blame

Idowu Odebode

Abstract


Several studies have been carried out on Ola Rotimi's works using different literary and linguistic criticisms to the exclusion of the author's onomastic resources. This study is an attempt at filling this gap. The study takes an onomastic approach to the exploration of Ola Rotimi's The gods are not to blame. All the major characters' names in the text are given quantitative and qualitative analysis, based on the pragmatic principle of speech acts by Austin (1962). Thus, through the application of the theory to the characters' names, we may establish that rather than mere entertaining his reader/audience, the playwright, through his use of names, oftentimes prescribes, informs, asserts and predicts among others. Thus the study has, pragmatically proved the efficacy of the speech act theory that in saying something, we do something else (Austin, 1962). Furthermore, the study has demonstrated that the text possesses taxonomy of onomastic resources which can be classified as: the role names, real names and nicknames. The real names have the highest frequency of eleven (46%) among others. This therefore attests to the words of Izevbaye (1981) that fictional names are taken from the actual names in use and that names in African setting, are carefully constructed "in a semantico-syntactic sense to manifest specific meanings" (Oyeleye, 1985, p. 138).

Keywords


Onomastics, Ola Rotimi, Speech Acts, Gods, Odewale.

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