Sesotho Personal Names with Deictic Feature: A Systemic Functional Linguistics Approach

Mahloli L Mokhathi-Mbhele


This study examined how the deictic feature of the nominal group described by Systemic Functional Linguistics theory characterized independent clause in Sesotho personal names. These names were described as authentic social discourse that exchange information. Their semantics of interaction displayed speech roles such as statements, demands, commands, and questions; an additional feature not mentioned by systemic extends to exclamatives. The aim was to explore how these different deictic name choices noted with these speech roles give the name giver’s evaluation of the situation (modality) and cultural context of the child’s birth. This confirms that deictic names are enacted messages. They enfold the art of negotiating attitudes by awarders and this shows that modality is highly incorporated. Data was collected from national examinations pass lists, admission lists of National University of Lesotho, Telephone directories, Media and employment roll lists from Public, Private, Tertiary, Orphanage institutions. This article extends SFL-Onomastica relation and literature. Methodology used was basically of the qualitative nature since it allows the researcher to make sense of or interpret phenomena in terms of meanings that people brought to them. The study attempts to make meanings from people’s view, so it is exploratory. Also, it involves aspects of in-depth human behavior and relies on reasons therein, and it does not encourage fabricated methods. This is where it displays modality and the negotiated attitudes. By so doing, it investigates the “why” and the “how” of the people’s decision making.


deictic interrogatives, deictic determinatives, nominal group, specific and non-specific deictic

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