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Muslim personal names in Urdu: structure, meaning, and change

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-02-22, 12:05 and posted on 2024-02-22, 12:05 authored by Rizwan Ahmad, Vladimir Kulikov, Noorin Iqbal

Based on an analysis of a corpus, in this study we examine: (a) the linguistic structure of Muslim personal names, (b) their etymological sources, and (c) some changing patterns among the younger generation. Firstly, we present a typology of the naming patterns by showing that there are four major types – one-part, two-part, three-part, and four-part names. While one-part names are formed from the given name only, the other three types are complex as they are composed of additional names containing honorific titles, caste titles, patronym, and husband’s names in case of married women. Secondly, by examining the linguistic sources of one-part and two part names, we show that Muslim names are primarily derived from Arabic and Persian. Our study further shows that while Indian Muslim names trace their origins to Arabic, the structure of their names differs significantly from Arabs and other Muslims especially those in southern India. Finally, we demonstrate a shift in the naming pattern among the younger generation in that some names and honorific titles are declining. We conclude our paper with some possible social factors that may contribute to the shift.

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Published in: International Journal of the Sociology of Language
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English


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Publication Year

  • 2023

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This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • College of Arts and Sciences - QU

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