A Grammar of Contemporary Igbo
676 pages
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A Grammar of Contemporary Igbo


Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus
676 pages


In twenty-five chapters this book covers phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. The chapters are organized in four discrete parts: phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. They are uneven in terms of scope covered, length, the density of their contents and their degrees of difficulty. Each chapter ends with ‘Some References’ relevant to both the topic(s) treated in the chapter, in Igbo linguistics, and in general linguistics.



Publié par
Date de parution 29 décembre 2015
Nombre de lectures 3
EAN13 9789785421521
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 5 Mo

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A Partial List of M & J Grand Orbit Language & Linguistics Texts 1.Four Decades in the Study of Languages & Linguistics in Nigeria: A Festschrift for Kay Williamson2.In the Linguistic Paradise: A Festschrift for E.N. Emenanjo3.Languages & Culture in Nigeria: A Festschrift for Okon Essien4.Globalization & the Study of Languages in Africa5.Trends in the Study of Language & Linguistics in Nigeria:A Festschrift for P.A. Nwachukwu6.Convergence: English and Nigeria Languages: A Festschrift for Munzali Jibril7.Language, Literature and Culture in Nigeria: A Festschrift for Ayo Bamgbose8.Critical Issues in the Study of Linguistics, Languages & Literatures in Nigeria: A Festschrift for Conrad M.B. Brann9.Language Policy, Planning & Management in Nigeria:A Festschrift for Ben Elugbe10.Language, Literature & Communication in a Dynamic World: A Festschrift for Chinyere Ohiri-Aniche11.Language, Literature & Culture in a Multilingual Society:A Festschrift for Abubakar Rasheed12.Issues in Contemporary African Linguistics: A Festschrift forladele Awobuluyi13.Numeral Systems of Nigerian Languages14.The Syntax of Igbo Causatives: A Minimalist Account15.The Eleme Phonology16.Basic Linguistics: For Nigerian Language Teachers17.English Studies and National Development18.Language, Literature & Literacy in a Developing Nation19.Language & Economic Reforms in Nigeria20.The Syntax & Semantics of Yorùbá Nominal Expressions 21.Functional Categories in Igbo22.Affixation and Auxiliaries in Igbo
A GRAMMAR OF CONTEMPORARY IGBO Constituents, Features and Processes
E. Nolue EmenanjoPhD, FNAL, FLAN, FMANProfessor of Linguistics Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt,Nigeria
M & J Grand Orbit Communications Ltd. Port Harcourt
LAN Occasional Publications Landmarks Research Foundation Box 237 Uniport P.O. University of Port Harcourt,Nigeriae-mail: mekuri01@yahoo.com Mobile Phone: 08033410255 Copyright © E. Nolue Emenanjo 2015All rights reversed. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the Copyright owner except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. ISBN: 978-978-54127-3-4 Published by M & J Grand Orbit Communications Ltd. Port Harcourt,Nigeria
This work is dedicated to Mr. Benjamin O. Akwukwuma He started the journey and all the celebrations.
PREFACE This book really set out originally as a revision ofElements of Modern Igbo Grammar. Between 1978 whenElementswas first published, and now, a lot has happened in Igbo Language studies in general, and Igbo grammar, in particular. In 1978, there were very few scholars in Igbo linguistic studies. Most of the available studies then were in the mould of traditional grammar. Today, there are not less than three dozen scholars in all aspects of Igbo linguistic studies, parading different theoretical orientations. Sophisticated studies of various aspects of Igbo(id) grammar (and lexicography) are now available in some of the theoretical frameworks popular sinceSyntactic Structures: Kay Williamson, G. Egemba Igwe, Philip Nwachukwu, Nzebunachi Oji, Mother Angela Uwalaka, Rose-Juliet Anyanwu, G. Ogwueleka, Tim Umeasiegbu, Gaius Anoka, Benson Oluikpe, Ozo-mekuri Ndimele, Ogbonna Anyanwu (2005), Monday Onukawa, Christy Omego, Chinedu Uchechukwu, Philip Anagbogu, B.M. Mbah, C. Ogbulogo, Ngozi Nwigwe, Esther Oweleke, Vicky Onumajuru, B.M. Mmadike, Amaechi Oha. This number, given in no order, constitutes only a sample. As one of the pioneers in Igbo linguistic studies, I am very familiar with this turf as a teacher, researcher, facilitator and “assessor”. Indeed, I came into Igbo linguistics studies at a time when traditional grammar was dominant. So, one of the first things I did following Kay Williamson, William Welmers, William Welmers and B. Welmers and Margaret M. Green, M.M. Green and G. Egemba Igwe, Egemba Igwe and M.M. Green among others was to point out what Igbo grammar really is and should be. We also pointed out what are or should be the formal characteristics of Igbo nouns, ideophones, nominal modifiers, adjectives among other nominal modifiers, pronouns (1977), suffixes and enclitics, verbs and verbals. Indeed, with Welmers and Welmers, Green and Igwe, Williamson, as our guides, we are among the second batch of the first generation native Igbo linguists. When I look back over some four decades from 1969 when I began my own studies in Igbo grammar there is really a lot to celebrate about, in the human and material resources now available in Igbo linguistic and literary studies. Title of the Book The title of this book is in two parts: the main and the sub. The main title emphasizes the article A’ which suggests that the work is just one approach, my own approach or orientation. Contemporarysuggests the variety of Igbo which the book looks at in both time and space, and in Igboid linguistics. The wordcontemporaryenables us to reach out to and include data, examples and even counter-examples from across Igboland, in the seven states where Igbo-speaking live. Contemporary Igbo goes beyond Central Igbo, (Ward), Modern Igbo Neo-Central Igbo, and Standard Igbo (Emenanjo). Our contemporary Igbo is, indeed, fairly synonymous with Neo-Central Igbo (Emenanjo). Put differently, contemporary Igbo is Standard Igbo with current
geo-historical realities, a pan-Igbo substratum, and an inclusive and holistic mindset about Igboness, in language matters.  The subtitle of this book is a mouthful. But we need it to capture all the phenomena emphasized in the work.Featurescovers phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic ones.Constituentsis a cover-term for phonological, morphological, grammatical, and semantic categories and structures.Processesused to cover phonological, morphological, is morpho-syntactic, syntactic and semantic operations, as well as both lexicalization and grammatical. Finally, the use of the wordprocesses, enables us to refer to, among others, matters like adjectivization and adverbialization rather than adjectives and adverbs, and aktionserten in addition to aspect. ‘Pure’ adjectives and prepositions are very few in Igbo, and adverbs non-existent. But the language, like all languages, has strategies of lexicalization for handling adjectival, prepositional and adverbial notions. Structure of the Book There are twenty-five chapters in this book. These cover phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. These chapters are organized in four discrete parts: phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. The chapters are uneven in terms of scope covered, length, the density of their contents and their degrees of difficulty. Each chapter ends with ‘Some References’ relevant to both the topic(s) treated in the chapter, in Igbo linguistics, and in general linguistics. We need to point out that this is the first text on Igbo grammar which has given recognition to formal semantics, on one hand, and a considerable space to phonology, on the other hand. We need also to mention that this book is not another popular school or examinations-oriented text. It is a fairly serious analytical work on Igbo language and linguistics. It has really taken us some time and efforts to put this work together. Some expenditure of cerebral energy will thus be required of those who will use it, for whatever purpose. Theoretical Orientation I have not presented all the data in this book in more ‘formal’ or ‘abstract’ forms, in any one or more of the many competing theories of contemporary linguistics. This is not out of ignorance. But, out of choice. After all, Emenanjo (1981/85) was carried out in the version of Revised Extended Standard Theory (REST) current at the time. But while fashions and theoretical orientations may come and go, in the nature of attrition or progress, time-tested descriptive works, as practised in British linguistics survive and continue to provide solid language data and analyses for the theorists and theoreticians, and for other non-grammatical purposes like literary aesthetics and stylistics, and computational studies. I know that some people, especially the doctrinaire and dogmatic among us, may find some of the data presented in this book and how these are presented, unsettling, provocative,
possibly, an unnecessary diversion designed to upset the apple cart and start another orthography or dialect controversy, with the potentials for opening the floodgate to a multiplicity of other controversies! Again, let me emphasize that this is a serious grammar book not an exercise in popular, simplistic, school or examination-oriented text. This work is the product of close to half a century of our experience in research, teaching, assessing and publishing in Igbo grammatical studies. For me, to rehash and to re-presentElements of Modern Igbo Grammar (1978)in a new cover jacket, is to suggest that studies in Igbo grammar have been static and stunted. This is far being the case. Igbo grammatical studies now have variety, depth and breadth. This book has only tried to present some vignettes of that variety, depth and breadth, as recorded, experienced, and analyzed by me. Use of Data from Different Igbo Dialects The mention and use ofdialectsin Igbo studies-grammar and literature – elicits a lot of reactions even, from scholars. For some,dialectsis a red-letter or red-flag word. It is even a curse word, a taboo word, almost at the same level with anathema. The word dialect in the opinion of some should consigned to the dustbin of remembered history. Indeed, in spite of Standard Igbo, most of us still speak our dialects or resort to triglossia in Igbo, even in the public domains with pan-Igbo people. Our oral literature is, as Chibuko Okebalama, rightly pointed out in one of his essays, will, for a very long time to come, draw its raw texts from the dialects even where we make strenuous and valiant efforts to reduce such data to Standard Igbo! We should not forget, in a hurry, that the standard variety of any language is also one of the dialects of that language, albeit the ‘prestigeful’ one. For a language like Igbo which has no Received Pronunciation (RP), dialects will continue to intrude into and feature in our oral discourse and, in writing. I am convinced that in the teaching and learning, as well as research in Igbo grammar, dialects will always come in handy and naturally, for effective pedagogical and heuristic purposes.  One of the underlying motives of this work is to provoke and stimulate serious dialogues and debates about many phenomena and gaps yawning seriously for research by scholars and graduate students. In fact, there are very many serious issues in Igbo grammar calling for solid descriptive and taxonomic analyses. These include, in no special order: mood, extensional suffixes as case markers, affixes, derivational prefixes, affixes, clitics and particles, argument structure and idiomaticization, etc. The point we are trying to emphasize is that, in spite of the great strides that have been made in virtually all aspects of Igbo phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, and in very many different theoretical frameworks, there is still a lot that remains to be done. We need a lot more theoretical studies. But we also need a great many more solid taxonomic, descriptive studies to throw up the data required for serious theoretical studies. Sometimes, some people feel that solid descriptive studies are bereft of theoretical orientation.
Both Lyons’ and Gleason’s early descriptive works are essentially theoretical but not in the same way that American linguistics or generative grammarians of the Old World understand it!  I would like to mention that one of the shockers that users of this book, who are familiar with my earlier works, will be in for is that I have revised myself in many places and on a number of issues. This is no weakness. Academics grows from the give-and-take of exchanges inherent in monologues, self-evaluation, dialogues and disagreements. The raison d’etre of academics is the search for newer and better arguments, approaches or findings to upturn older ones. Any academic who fails to heed this has become anachronistic and expired. He should, therefore, be disregarded and completely ignored.  I always had some job telling some of my ‘colleagues’ and students that theElements of Modern Igbo Grammarwas written and completed with a specific purpose in mind, on May 8, 1976, and published some two years after! With the avalanche of serious and incisive studies now available on various aspects of Igbo, from different theoretical perspectives by students and scholars in a good number of universities in Nigeria and overseas, one cannot but grow. I have had to grow. And everybody must have to grow, to be current and relevant.  Indeed in my active years in combative academics, I encountered many Igbo who considered any reference to, or inclusion of dialect materials in texts to be clearly wrong, mischievous and designed to distract people from Standard Igbo (SI)! As a teacher, however, I always made constant resort to dialects and dialect materials. I found that dialects appear to have more psychological reality than SI, for a number of students, learners, writers and scholars! Indeed, whenever, in my teaching days, I resorted to dialect data, in my teaching in or of SI, I found that my class came alive as most students sat up and fully participated. And so, real-time and meaningful learning took place. In addition we find that dialects have their idiosyncratic and unique data and features which complement each one and one another, in enriching all areas of Igbo studies, for both comparative and contrastive purposes. References The size of his work frightened me on completion. And so, I looked for ways of reducing it. With regard to our references, I asked myself these questions: would having a composite bibliography, at the end of the book, drastically reduce its size, instead of having the references, chapter-by-chapter? One major advantage of having most of the references at the end of the chapters is that they are handy. But, since some of the references kept recurring, would not a composite bibliography at the end of the book be more economical since there would be just one entry instead of a multiplicity of entries for some citations? It was, indeed, during the final revision and typing of the work that I finally opted for the chapter-by-chapter references with all its liabilities instead of a composite one!
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