THE REFLECTIVE-RECIPROCAL POLYSEMY IN IGBO

AUTHOR: CHINEDU UCHECHUKWU

FROM IN THE PERSPECTIVES OF LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF R.U. UZOEZIE

EDITED BY: NGOZI EZENWA-OHAETO and IFEYINWA J. OGBAZI

According to Heine (2000) the reflexive/reciprocal polysemy is not fully treated in the grammar books of many African languages. As the Igbo language does not belong to one of those examined by the author, it is worthwhile to find out whether Heine’s conclusion also applies to Igbo. The paper endeavours to examine how such a reflexive/reciprocal polysemy is reflected in the Igbo language. The conclusion is that the polysemy is often misunderstood, leading to wrong conclusions on the nature of the reflexive in Igbo. Furthermore, an identification of the polysemy factor should contribute to a better analysis of the structure in the Igbo language.

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