Analysis of the Sociolinguistic Status of Saudi Female Personal Names

Aseel I Alzamil


Names are more likely to be considered as cultural tags used to signify some deep-rooted aspects within the culture of a given speech community. In Saudi Arabia, naming is linked with religion, traditions, values, beliefs, and events in people's lives. This paper aims at investigating Saudi female personal names from a sociolinguistic perspective and it suggests that these names are not mere arbitrary tags, but socio-cultural labels that occupy socio-cultural meanings and functions. For this reason, the current study draws on a stratified sample size of 280 Saudi female personal names collected by the researcher qualitatively by means of oral interviews as the tool for data collection. The analysis takes the form of a typology of Saudi female personal names and they were classified into different categories such as names relating to religious backgrounds, Bedouin-bound names, kinship names, family names, circumstantial names, foreign names, etc. As a result, the study will be a valuable contribution to the body of Arabic anthroponomy as it shows how the selection of Saudi female personal names is influenced by the ideology, culture, religion, attitudes, and social values of Saudi communities. The study concludes that the spread of foreign names may constitute a threat to the cultural identity of Saudis, an argument that calls for further investigation to either confirm or disconfirm it.

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