Linguistic and Extra Linguistic Motivation of Neologisms in Igbo: The Dream FM Example

Author: Oguebue Ngozika Ifeoma
Department: Linguistics
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

This study is on the linguistic and extra linguistic motivations of neologisms in the speech of the Igbo language speakers on the radio show ‘Nnaa Meen’ on Dream Fm 92.5. It is built around the understanding that a linguistic unit is motivated if some of its properties are shaped by linguistic sources and language-independent factors. The framework employed in this analysis is on the language-independent factors of motivation as identified by Radden and Panther (2004). The factors include (1) Ecological factors, (2) Genetic factors, (3) Experiential factors, and (4)
Cognitive factors. The qualitative research approach is adopted in this work, with listening and oral interview as the methods of data collection. The identified factors from Radden and Panther are employed for data analysis. Hence, the data is analyzed in four sections with each section focusing on a particular motivation. It can be confirmed that these factors of motivation do not function independently; rather they operate jointly and interact with linguistic units in the motivational process and as a result neologisms are mostly cognitively motivated. In conclusion, every structure in language is motivated to an extent and a structure which lacks motivation, would very likely be perceived as not belonging to the language at all.

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