Volume 1 Articles

1. E. Nolue Emenanjo: Towards a Classification of Igbo Verbs

Abstract: Verbs and nouns belong to the most open classes in human language, but verbs more than nouns control or govern practically all relationships in human language, from phonology to pragmatics. Cognitive and functional grammarians argue, more convincing to me than TG, that it is the verb that selects nouns and other elements in all primary and secondary categories in human language. Yet, verbs are not as numerous as nouns. Similar to nouns, verbs can be classified, but in different ways in terms of their phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. This paper is a contribution to providing an impulse for the much needed research into the classification of Igbo verbs. It provides a bird’s eye view of Igbo verb classes. (Download)

2. Chikelu Ihunanya Ezenwafor & Chibumma Amara Ezenwafor: Verbs of Quality in Igbo: A Semantic and Morpho-syntactic Characterization

Abstract: This paper examines the semantic and morpho-syntactic characterization of the verbs of quality in Igbo. It adopts the lexical semantic classes proposed by Dixon (2004) and a set of defining morpho-syntactic characteristics proposed by Elders, Trobs and Meltouchi (2009) in their typological study of quality verbs in African languages. A total of sixteen verbs are used for this study and are further classified into various semantic types. A set of semantic features such as semantic intransitivity, high possibility of 'antonymicity', correlation with a question proform, stative reading,etc. are relevant in determining prototypical verbs of quality. Out of the thirteen semantic types proposed by Dixon (2004), only five seem applicable to the Igbo verbs of quality. In relation to temporal reference (tense), Igbo verbs of quality  only denote a present meaning using the -rv suffix. This suffix is differentiated from the -rv suffix that denotes past tense in active verbs. The morphemic shape of this subset of verbs is posited as cv+rv in written form but cv+v in spoken form. The Ton Bearing Units (TBU) of both structures are assigned  LL tones. Unlike some languages where the comparative and superlative marker(s) are associated with the adjectival verbs, it is observed that these marker(s) though highly applicable, are not exclusive features of Igbo verbs of quality since they could be applied to as many verbs as possible in Igbo. (Download)

3. Christiana Ngozi Ikegwuonu: The Features of Igbo Locative Verbs

Abstract: This paper sets out to examine the morphological, phonological, morpho-syntactic and semantic characteristics of Igbo locative verbs. The method adopted is purely descriptive. Locative verbs are sub-divided into two types: those that are completely bare, having only a figure and the ground, and those that take posture predicates. The two groups of verbs exhibit different case frames. Morphologically, the bare locative/non-posture locative verbs have the CV structure while the posture locative verbs have the CV + CV structure, which is formed through the combination of two different CV roots involving verbs of TCL I and TCL II. Among the locative verbs dị́‘be’ is unique in the sense that it is polysemous, with locative and existential meanings. Furthermore, the verb dị́ is exclusively [+ inanimate] while other locative verbs are both [+ animate] and [+ inanimate]. The locative verb nọ̀ (stay/sit) can take bare or posture reading depending on its contextual semantics. Finally, in relation to the typological classification of languages by Ameka and Levinson (2007),  Igbo language seems to belong to their Type II which is made up of languages that 3 to 7 locative verbs with some contrastive semantics. (Download)

4. Purity Ada Uchechukwu: Prototypical Igbo Copula Verb

Abstract:This paper is based on Uchechukwu’s (2010) examination of the Igbo copula verbs. The effort here is a presentation of the features of the Igbo copula verb divested of much theoretical discussion. The approach adopted is purely descriptive. Three copula verbs of the language are identified: -bụ́ and -dị́ and -nọ̀. The verbs are characterized on the basis of their functioning in varieties copulative sentences. The result is that the verb-bụ́, which functions in more varieties of copulative constructions than the other two, can be classified as the prototypical copula verb of the Igbo language. (Download)

5. Grace O. Prezi: Classes of Motion Verbs in Igbo

Abstract: This paper draws data from standard Igbo to discuss the issue of motion verbs in Igbo. It adopts a descriptive approach for its analysis. The study uses the morphological, tonal and semantic criteria to identify some classes of motion verbs in Igbo. Classes like simple motion verbs, compound motion verbs and complex motion verbs are identified on the bases of morphological criteria. In terms of their tones, high tone motion verbs and low tone motion verbs exist in the language. Semantically, the classes of path of motion verbs, manner of motion verbs and manner-path of motion verbs can be confirmed. Other features identified include the expression of overt action and the occurrence in serial verb constructions. (Download)

6. Chinasa D. Ilechukwu: Motion Verbs in Igbo and Their Lexicalization Patterns

Abstract: Not much work has been done on Igbo motion verbs, especially from the perspective of cognitive semantics. The effort in this paper therefore is to analyze the motion verbs of the language from the cognitive semantics angle in order to ascertain their possible lexicalization and conflation patterns. The data for the analysis is drawn from two Igbo dictionaries through the simple extraction of the Igbo equivalents of English motions verbs. The application of Talmy’s lexicalization framework could confirm that Igbo motion verbs exhibit six different lexicalization patterns: motion+manner, motion+cause, motion+path, motion+two semantic components, as well as motion and numerousity. The conclusion is that the application of Talmy’s framework holds a great promise for further work on the motion verbs of the language. (Download)

7. Chukwuma O. Okeke: Reflexive and Reciprocal Verbs in Igbo

Abstract: In grammar, a reflexive verb is one whose semantic agent and patient are the same. Also, a reciprocal verb is one whose action expresses states in which two participants bear mirror image thematic relations to one another. This paper adoptsthe government and binding approach to reflexives and reciprocals incarrying out series of tests with four classes of Igbo verbs to find out whether  they can be reflexive or not, in terms of their nature, form and manifestation. The first discovery, from the analysis is that =rịta is not the only verbal affix to encode reciprocality in Igbo; the suffix =gwara attached also expressesreciprocality. Furthermore, it can be confirmed that out of the four verb classes tested, three (dynamic, copula and psychological verb) classes are reflexive while three (dynamic, copula and psychological) also reflect reciprocality. The stative verbs failed the two tests because they produce awkward constructions which are semantically unacceptable for expressing reflexive and reciprocal notions; hence, all forms of Igbo stative verbs (present, past, imperative) cannot express reflexive or reciprocal notions. Such, however, is not the case with the dynamic, copula and psychological verbs. The paper therefore, recommends that further tests be carried out with other Igbo verb classes to find out the extent to which they can be used to encode reflexive or reciprocal notions. (Download)

8. Chinedu Uchechukwu & Martha Chidimma Egenti: Construal-Based Classification of Igbo Verbs

Abstract: Experiential verbs are generally verbs that are used to code or give expression to our inner psychic processes or emotions. The Igbo verbs of this group were first noted by Uwalaka (1988) who also drew attention to a form of alternation in their construction which she called ‘subject-object-switching’ (SOS). While agreeing with Uwalaka’s identification, this paper further builds upon and delineates Uchechukwu (2007) by explicitly advocating the Cognitive Grammar concept of construal as a tool for identifying and exploring the Igbo experiential verbs. In other words, there is a particular perspective that is peculiar to Igbo experiential verbs, a predominantly patient-oriented perspective. The paper concludes by advocating for the recognition of  this perspective  as an instrument for the study of aspects of the semantics of Igbo verbs in general. (Download)

9. Mbanefo Chukwuogor: The Class of Ditransitive Verbs in Igbo

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to classify the Igbo verbs based on the phenomenon of ditransitivity. More specifically, it aims at characterizing the ditransitive verbs of the language through the use of the concept of ‘event schema’. Ditransitivity, a type of transitivity, is a term which describes a verb or clause that takes two objects. These objects refer to the ‘recipient’ and ‘theme’. Cross-linguistically, the prototypical ditransitive verb is ‘give’. However, this prototypical ditransitive verb has several sub-classes that reflect various semantic subtleties e.g. donate. Looking at the Igbo verbs, this classification is not as straightforward as can be observed for the English verb mostly due to some morphosyntactic characteristics of the Igbo verb, especially in the preponderance of V+NP verbal complex structure, whereby the NP complement to the verb sometimes obligatorily also function as the object of the verb. Consequently, the paper argues that the notion of ditransitivity can be observed as a scalar feature ranging from the prototypical ditransitive (-nyé ‘give’) to the inherent complement verbs (ICVs) with the abstract form at the middle. (Download)

10. B.M. Mbah: On the Igbo Process Verbs

Abstract: Despite the enormity of studies on the Igbo verb and the deep insights gained, many aspects of the Igbo verb are either not studied or studied in a manner that yearns for re-visitations. One of such problem areas is the taxonomy of the verbs, especially the class of the Igbo verbs called process verbs. This class has not been studied sufficiently. This paper therefore takes another look at this class by asking the simple questions: Is there a special class of verbs that can be called process verbs in Igbo? Is there any unique characteristic of process verbs? if otherwise, is a reclassification of such verbs possible. The approach involves a close reading of Uwalaka’s (1988) conclusions on this verb. This approach helps to uncover the constructions objectified in the analysis. The study is able to establish that all Igbo verbs are process verbs with incidental complements. The absence of a complement is filled by the bound cognate noun which also depicts action in process. The conclusion therefore is to reclassify these verbs as ergative verbs.  (Download)

11. Aloysius Udosinachi Umeodinka: Auxiliary Verbs in Igbo

Abstract: This paper takes a second look at the auxiliary verbs in Igbo with the aim of achieving an update on the state of the auxiliaries in the language. It first examines the not less than seven different auxiliaries identified by Emenanjo (1985) and the features he used to identify them. The premise is that these features can contribute to establishing the auxiliary verbs in the different Igbo dialects. Their application to Umuchu dialect of Igbo could confirm the existence of four auxiliaries in the dialect: -je, -ga -ma, and -dị. Hence, this seems to confirm that Emenanjo’s features can indeed serve to establish the auxiliaries in the different dialects of the language. (Downlaod)

12. Benjamin I. Mmadike: Igbo Verbs of Speaking

Abstract: There is yet no detailed study of the Igbo verbs of speaking. This has therefore created a lacuna in the study of this class of verbs in the language. The present study, though a preliminary one, is a detailed attempt at studying such verbs. The verbs used here come from the author’s intuitive knowledge of the language and from the story book, Ihe onye metere, by C.E. Ofomata. The present study examines these verbs in terms of their grammatical features. It also attempts a description of the grammaticalization process by which the complementizer sị̀ is derived from the verb sị̀ ‘say’. In the light of this, the study concludes that these verbs be further investigated to help shed more light on their characteristic features. (Download)

13. Chinedu Uchechukwu & Esther N. Oweleke: Igbo Verb Classes and Their Lexicographic Relevance

Abstract: This paper advocates a change in the grammatical category labels used for classifying verbs in Igbo dictionaries. The need for this change is compared with the change that has taken place in the characterisation of Igbo dictionary users in some dictionaries of the language, whereby the initial focus on an external audience has finally shifted to an internal, well-delineated audience. A similar change in the grammatical category labels in Igbo dictionaries should also involve a shift away from ‘external labels’ that have arisen from the description of other languages to grammatical category labels arising from the description of the Igbo language. One of such labels is the transitive/intransitive classification of Igbo verbs. With the example of the SOS verbs, the paper advocates the elimination of some of the grammatical categories in the dictionaries and the adoption of other categories that have been established for the language. (Download)