Abstract Essay

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ABSTRACT The study falls within the broad field of onomastics. Onomastics is the study of proper names of all kinds and their origins. The study will focus on Gikuyu place names in Mathira Constituency. This study will be guided by the following objectives: to find out the origin and meaning of Gikuyu names for places; investigate how far the native speakers of Gikuyu understand the origin and meaning of toponyms given to their villages, shops, markets, hills, rivers, forests, towns and mountains and establish whether age, education and gender variables influence the understanding of the origin and meaning of Gikuyu toponyms. This research will employ the services of two native speakers of Gikuyu as research assistants. One will be male and the other female. Qualitative and quantitative data research techniques will be used in order to achieve the objectives of the study. 32 respondents will be purposively sampled using social networks approach to represent the residents of the constituency. Data will be collected with the aid of interview schedules. Data collected will be analyzed with assistance of Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) to account for the influence of age, gender and education variables in understanding the origin and meaning of Gĩkũyũ (GPNS). Halliday’s Socio – semiotic Theory (SST) will be employed in the analysis of the data. Analyzed data will be presented in form of graphs, percentages, tables and charts.It is hoped that the findings from the study will provide a resource on etymology and semantics of place names in Mathira

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