Naming and identity: a cross-cultural study of personal naming practices

HRAF Press New Haven Published In Pages: ??
By Alford, Richard


Taboos on using the name of the deceased will be positively associated with name uniqueness, and negatively associated with belief in reincarnation, ancestor worship, societal size, and societal complexity (114).


Most significant (p < 0.01) associations occurred with name uniqueness (Tau = 0.42), naming occurs later (Tau = 0.38), elaborate birth ceremonies (Tau = -0.31), name taboo (personal), societal complexity (Tau = -0.62), technological complexity (Tau = -0.49), political authority (Tau = -0.50)., judicial authority (Tau = -0.45), extralocal jurisdictional levels (Tau = -0.59), specialists in communal activities (Tau = -0.35), belief in active ancestral spirits (Tau = - 0.40), belief in reincarnation (Tau = -0.35), headhunting (Tau = 0.26), power of religious authorities greater than political leaders (Tau = -0.55), religious organization (Tau = -0.35), and population (Tau = -0.43). At p < 0.05 significance, the variables 'given name' as exclusive name component, name changes during lifetime, address by kin term, and reference by kin term were positively associated, while literacy and belief in high gods were negatively associated.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Kendall's TauSupportedp < 0.05UNKNOWNUNKNOWN