DIALECTOLOGICAL SURVEY OF ORU WEST IGBO DIALECTS CLUSTER

Author: Chukwu Ifeoma Deborah
Department: Linguistics
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka

This research takes a dialectological survey of Oru West Igbo dialects. The research using a five representative dialects namely: I bı̀ásọ e gbè, M gbídí, N ném̀ pı̀, O tùrù and Ọ zàrà investigates phonological, and lexical features as well as verbal inflection in the dialects; pointing out their similarities and differences. Thus, we discover that Oru West Igbo dialects have a total of 40 phonemes: 31 consonants and 9 vowels. The dialects lack the voiced labiodental fricative /v/. The following 5 sounds are not in the standard dialect: h /ɦ /, r /r /, ry /ſ/, jy /ɟ/, ẹ /ε/. The voiceless post alveolar fricative sh /ʃ/ is visible in O tùrù and M gbídí dialects only. Nasalization is a common feature and as well as phonemic in the dialects. Progressive and regressive assimilation are evident but not partial assimilation. Vowel and consonant elision are present. Others like tone and vowel harmony remain the same as the Standard Igbo dialect. Lexically, the dialects are related though with slight differences. The differences are flexible and also interchange within the dialects. In the verbal inflection the dialects have similarities and slight differences. For example the common progressive marker in all the dialects is ‘là-/lè-’ although others except Ọ zàrà includes ‘nà-/nè-’. Ótùrù dialect has additional marker ‘lọ̀-’. In the future construction the dialects employ the form gà-’. However,M gbídí and Ọ zàrà dialects add ‘jà-/jè-’ and Ótùrù ‘dọ̀-’. Intheperfective construction all the dialects use ‘-là/-lè’ except that I bı̀ásọ e gbè,N ném̀ pı̀ and Ótùrù add ‘- go’.The past tense is-rv in all the dialects.The findings of this work also reveal that the previous classifications do not suit Oru West Igbo dialects.

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