Address Terms Used among Male Basketball Players at a Ghanaian University

Afful, Joseph B. A. B. A., Opoku-Addo, Kennedy


In the last three decades, there has been an increasing interest among scholars in the use of address terms across domains such as academia, politics, religion, family, friendship, and sports. The present study examines the range of address terms and the factors that influence their use among male basketball players in a Ghanaian university. In this study, we draw on the notion of community of practice. An ethnographic research approach, comprising mainly participant and non-participant observation and interview, was adopted in collecting our data. Two key findings emerged from the analysis. First, Ghanaian male university students used four major categories of address terms while playing basketball: personal names, descriptive terms, nicknames, and ethnic-related terms. Second, in general, these address forms constituted an isogloss or idiolect, identifying the male basketball players as a distinct community of practice. These findings have implications for the sociolinguistic research on address terms in the domain of sports, gendered language, and further research on communication in sports.

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