A Pragmatic Analysis of Car Nicknames in Nigeria

Ibitayo O. Oso


Nigerians have a unique set of names for popular car brands that are used in the country. These names, most times, have no correlation with the original name the manufacturer has given to the cars. The focus of this paper is to examine these nicknames within the Nigerian context, examine the contextual features that have made the names acceptable to Nigerians and investigate the motives behind the naming. Participant observation method and interviews were used to gather data for this study. Jacob Mey’s Pragmatic Acts Theory was adopted to unveil the contextual features that underlie the naming processes. Data were elicited from car dealers and from vehicle owners. The study reveals that Nigerians do not name cars haphazardly but select some features that guide the naming process and that these names reflect the socio-cultural realities of Nigerians. The features identified in the study are shared situational knowledge, reference and metaphors. The practs of condemnation/abuse, informing and commendation were observed in the data. It is believed that if vehicle manufacturers factor in these features into naming their cars, they will be more acceptable to Nigerians.

Key words: Analysis, car, pragmatic, nicknames, Nigeria

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 [ISSN 0856-9965 (Print)]