The Study of One-Word Sentences in Igbo

Christiana Ngozi Ikegwuonu


This paper sets out to investigate one-word sentences in Igbo with the aim of finding out the categories of words which the language employs in expressing them, their structures, functions and the contexts or situations in which they are used in the language. The data for this study were obtained through oral interviews and also through recording of speech of Igbo native speakers in spontaneous settings. This study adopted a descriptive method of data analysis. The study identified some specific classes of verbs such as motion verbs, activity verbs, verbs of perception, verbs of recognition and verbs of contact which the language employs in expressing one-word sentences and the different contexts or situations in which they are used. These verbs can take extensional suffixes. The enclitic nụ̀ is attached to the verbs when issuing command to more than one person. The verbal structures are short and simple. Some nouns and adverbs are also employed in expressing one–word sentences in Igbo. The words have neither overt subjects nor objects at all. They have their peculiar tones and most of them obey the rules of vowel harmony that operates in the language. Furthermore, an attempt has been made to tone-mark all the syllables used for the study. This implies that both the high, low and downstep tones are marked.

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