Ditransitive Constructions in Igbo

Author: Chukwuogor Mbanefo Chinwuba
Department: Linguistics
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Ditransitive constructions are, semantically, constructions with a recipient (R) and a theme (T) argument, where these semantic role labels are understood broadly enough to allow for the cross-linguistically heterogeneous formal properties of languages. One of the most comprehensive works on the subject is Malchukov et al (2010), which is a compilation of essays on the ditransitive constructions in several languages of the world. However, Malchukov et al’s work does not have an essay on the Igbo language. This thesis is therefore an exploration of ditransitive constructions in Igbo. In doing so, many of the definitions and the questionnaire on ditransitive constructions presented in Malchukov et al’s work are used. Consequently, Igbo has two types of ditransitive constructions – the basic ditransitive construction and the ditransitive serial construction. Furthermore, flagging and indexing of arguments are not found in the language, whereas the word order can change from RT (its basic form) to TR, provided the T is a pronominal with given or old information. Finally, we note that Igbo possesses neutral alignment in flagging and neutral alignment in indexing. Igbo belongs to the group of languages with neutral alignment or double object constructions.

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