Journal of West African Languages

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A Typology of Ìgbò Comitative Constructions A Typology of Ìgbò Comitative Constructions

There has been a considerable amount of publications on the cross-linguistic study of comitativity. These studies have taken various approaches to the issue of comitativity. Nevertheless, scholars of Igbo grammar are yet to publish accounts of this concept in the language. Thus, this paper sets out to investigate comitativity in Igbo with the aim of identifying the semantic types, the shared features and the morpho-syntactic coding of comitativity. The approach is purely descriptive in order to present this preliminary study in clear and simple terminology. The collection of data includes the natural speech of native speakers, texts from two books of folktales and constructed data. The discussion of the empirical data reveals that there is a semantic type of Igbo comitative termed Lexicalised comitative. They include lexical items with substantive content like ló iló ‘do enemy’, yì òyì ‘befriend’ and sò’follow’. The other semantic type is the Affiliative with verbs such as kwàdò ‘support’, kwù ‘stand with’ and kwé ‘agree with/believe’ The type known as Instumentalised comitatives has two sub-groups. They are the jí Instrumentaliser and the –nyụ́ọ́ Instrumentaliser. The third type known as the Modalised comitative comprise seven sub-types. They are –kọ̀ Modaliser, -kwù Modaliser, -kwàsá Modaliser, -nyé Modaliser, -chì Modaliser and –tà Modaliser. Each of these types of comitatives is operationalized by the suffixes attached to the verbs denoting comitativity. Of course, the jí Instrumentaliser is not a suffix but a verb representing comitativity. The discussion of the data in this paper introduces further areas of research on Igbo comitatives. These are comitative coordination and comitative based causative constructions.


Volume Number 46.2
Topic #1 Typology
Author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Language English
Language Family Other Benue-Congo
Subject Language Igbo

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