Volume 1: 2015

Editorial Comment

With this volume, I welcome you to the maiden edition of Igbo Language Studies (ILS): A journal of Igbo Language and Linguistics. The focus of this maiden edition is the classes of Igbo verbs and the issues connected with their classification.

Emenanjo’s contribution is a major bird’s eye view of the various classes of the verbs of the language and a call for more work on Igbo verbs. Ezenwafor, C.I. and Ezenwafor, C.A. answer this call in their effort to elaboratethe the nature of Igbo quality verbs. The authors argue that out of the thirteen semantic types proposed by Dixon (2004) only five apply to Igbo verbs of quality.  Ikegwuonu on the other hand, examines the class of locative verbs, the bare and non-bare locatives. She concludes that Igbo belongs to the Type II group of languages (Ameka & Levinson, 2007) that have 3 to 7 locative verbs with some contrastive semantics. Closely related to the locative verbs are the copula verbs which Uchechukwu, P.A. identifies as -bụ́ and -dị́ and -nọ̀. She argues for -bụ́ as the prototypical copula verb of the Igbo language.

The next two papers are on Motion verbs. Prezi classifies  according to their morphology, tone and semantics, and also notes their occurrence in serial verb constructions. Ilechukwu on the other hand, examins them in terms of their lexicalization patterns. The author identifies the following lexicalization patterns for Igbo motion verbs: motion+manner, motion+cause, motion+path, motion+two semantic components, as well as motion and numerousity.

Okeke explores the reflexive and reciprocal verbs and demonstrates through some tests that not all classes of Igbo verbs can express reflexivity and reciprocity. Uchechukwu, C. and Egenti build on Uchechukwu (2007) to argue for the use of the Cognitive Linguistics concept of construal for the classification of Igbo verbs. They argue that experiential verbs have a predominantly patient-oriented perspective that plays a role in the semantics of Igbo verbs in general.

In his examination of ditransitive verbs, Chukwuogor observes that the preponderance of V+NP/PP verbal complexes in the language hinders a straightforward classification of Igbo verbs as ditransitives. Consequently, he argues for ditransitivity as a scalar feature of Igbo verbs. Similarly, Mbah draws attention to the class of so-called process verbs and the need to re-examine them. He argues that all Igbo verbs are process verbs, and concludes that the process verbs should be re-classified as ergative verbs.

Umeodinka applies Emenanjo’s (1985) features of Igbo auxiliary verbs to Umuchu dialect of Igbo to confirm four auxiliary verbs in the dialect. The paper strengthens Emenanjo’s earlier conclusion that the number of auxiliary verbs in Igbo varies from dialect to dialect.  

Finally, Uchechukwu, C. and Oweleke conclude this maiden edition by drawing attention to the practical lexicographic problems connected with Igbo verb classes. The authors first note a shift that has taken place in the target audience of Igbo dictionary users, from an ‘external’ European audience to an ‘internal’ Nigerian audience. Based on this, they argue for a similar shift in the grammatical information in Igbo dictionaries, from a simple take-over of ‘external’ grammatical category labels from English dictionaries to the use of ‘internal’ grammatical category labels arising from the description of the Igbo language.

We hope readers would find this maiden edition worthy of study, as we look forward in confidence to future volumes of the journal.

Chinedu Uchechukwu