You might be aware of some oldish anthropological treatments of the salience of nicknaming — especially for males — in “West Indian” cultures.


another, from 1974, by Frank Manning, in Journal of American Folklore deals with attention to number plates as well as nicknames. The first really struck this Canadian anthropologist when I did research in Guyana in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, as I was then unfamiliar with plates continuing to identify the vehicle, rather than changing or being updated annually. Guyana then had relatively few cars or motorbikes, and memorization of plate numbers fed gossip, as movement of owners could be tracked, e.g. to a parking spot near the home of an “outside woman”

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