Akan Teleteaching Course

Unit 8.3: Akan names 2 - Additional names

 
Apart from the names relating to the week day one is born, there are other names which refer to the circumstances of one's birth (cf. Dolphyne [1996: 124 ff.] and Bellon [1916].)

a) Order of birth
(From the same mother)
male
female
first-born
Pese
2nd born
Manu
Maanu
3rd born
Mens
Mans
4th born
Anan(e)
5th born
(A)num
6th born
Ns
7th born
Ason
Nswaa
8th born
Botwe
9th born
Akron/Nkroma
Nkroma
10th born
Badu
Baduwaa
11th born
Duk
12th born
Dunu

Traditionally, to give birth to ten children is regarded as a blessing and is still nowadays the ideal of many a woman. She will get praise names and a sheep will be slaughtered for her.

b) Order after twins
.
male
female
twins
Ata
Ataa
first-born twin
Ata panin
Ataa panin
younger twin
Ata kumaa
Ataa kumaa
born after twins
Tawia
born after 'Tawia'
Nyankomago

Children can also be named after the situation they were born into, see below under (c):

c) Child delivery under special events
event
male&female
literal meaning
mother doing farm work
Afuom
"on the farm"
mother travelling
kwan
"the road"
delivery in war time
Beke/Bedak
"war time"
delivery under happy auspices
Afiryie
"good year"
after the death of the child's father
Anto
"it didn't meet (him)"
long childlessness of the mother
Nyameky
"gift from God"
premature or sickly baby
Nyameama
"what God has given, (no man can take away)"
father refuses responsibility
Obmp
"nobody wants (you)"
Ympw
"we don't want you"

The following names are given to a child who survives after the mother has lost several babies. A child who is given a horrible name is believed to be rejected by the ancestral world and will therefore stay with the mother:

d) "Horrible names"
event
male&female
anglicised form
literal meaning
loss of several babies
Dnk*
Donkor
"slave"
Asaaseas
. "there is no ground left (to bury you)"
Sumna
. "rubbish"
Ympw
. "We don't want you"
Baha
. "dry fibres of the plantain stalk"

*Note that apart from this name, to call someone 'dnk' is a bad insult (cf. Agyekum, 1996: 120 ff.)
The above names are not 'real' names according to Dolphyne (1996: 126). On the eighth day a child will be given a 'proper' name by its father or his family (read text on child naming). If he refuses the responsibility for the child, it's the mother's family who will do it instead.

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