LEXICAL SHIFT, EVIDENCE FROM THE UGA SPEECH COMMUNITY OF THE INLAND EAST IGBO DIALECT

AUTHOR: EZUBEBEM FLORENCE NWABUNDU

DEPARTMENT: IGBO, AFRICAN AND ASIAN STUDIES

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA.

This work examines lexical shift in Uga speech community of the inland East Igbo dialect. By this shift, the speech pattern which used to be the norm is gradually being replaced by other speech forms. This is analogous to dialect shift, a replacement by the dialect of a language by forms from a dominant dialect. The research is a survey research. The researcher used direct and non direct participation, unstructured interview to collect the data. The population of the research was four hundred (400) native speakers of the community, both younger and older members. The variables used were, educated, non educated, male and female genders of the community. The study discovers that the shift occurs mostly among the younger generation of the speech community. It identifies some causes of the shift as age, education, women married from other parts of Igbo speech communities, influence of policies concerning language and education, attitude of Uga people towards their speech variants, social class, and migration. Dialect endangerment, dialect decline additive bilingualism, dialect loss are found to be some of the sociolinguistic implications of the shift. The study also makes recommendations and suggestions for further studies.

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