Lexicalization Patterns of Motion Verbs in Igbo

Author: Ilechukwu Chinasa Dorathy
Department: Linguistics
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

This study is concerned with the lexicalization patterns of Igbo motion verbs. Its aim is to analyse various Igbo motion verbs in order to ascertain the possible lexicalization patterns that can be confirmed for them and how such patterns interact with the serial verb construction that exists in the language. The theoretical framework adopted is Talmy’s (1985 & 2000) Motion Verb lexicalization pattern framework. The data is drawn from standard Igbo through a cross-linguistic classification of motion verbs using two known Igbo bilingual dictionaries by Igwe (1999) and Echeruo (2001). In other words, various lexical items which have been classified as verbs of motion in English by Levin (1993) were listed and their equivalents were sought for in the Igbo language using the dictionaries and then analysed using Talmy’s framework. The study reveals that Igbo motion verbs exhibit six different lexicalization patterns which include; motion and manner, motion and cause, motion and path, motion and two semantic components, motion and no semantic component, as well as motion and numerousity. Finally, it equally establishes that Igbo not only operates a parallel system of conflation but also that Igbo motion verbs do not occur at random in serial verb construction; rather, there are some restrictions in their order of occurrence. In conclusion, the work shows that languages are comparable in conveying information, but generally differ in the amount and type of information that can be expressed as well as how they are expressed.

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