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What's in a Name? Book of Mormon Language, Names, and [Metonymic] Naming
TitleWhat's in a Name? Book of Mormon Language, Names, and [Metonymic] Naming
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsThomasson, Gordon C.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
KeywordsAnthropology; Lamanite; Language; Literature; Metonymic; Name

Anthropological perspectives are presented on names, and on the social and literary function of names, in principle and in the Book of Mormon. The function of names in kinship; secret names; names, ritual, and rites of passage are first discussed in general and then from a Latter-day Saint perspective. The symbolic use of names and metonymy or metonymic naming is then discussed. Examples are given of biblical and Book of Mormon metonymic naming, nomenclature, and taxonomy. Finally, it is suggested that biblical laws of purity form the foundation for a pattern of metonymic associations with the name Lamanite, where the dichotomy of clean/unclean is used to give name to social alienation and pollution.