NOMINAL CATEGORIES IN IGALA

Sunday Abraham Unubi

Abstract


This paper examined nominal categories in Igala. The nominal categories that were handled by this article include: number, possession, gender, definiteness and case. These play crucial role in all languages of the world. In the method for the study, data collection included both primary and secondary sources. In the primary source, the researcher selected two linguists in the department of Igala, Kogi State College of Education Ankpa, as consultants in terms of getting the relevant data as regards nominal categories in Igala. The secondary source included extant material on this subject done by other researchers in the past both in Igala and other languages for purposes of enriching this work. Some of the findings of the study include: (i) the Igala language has no gender distinction in its case grammar (pronoun) – thus we have the third person singular subject pronouns i and òuŋ  (òŋʷu), which are glossed ‘he/she/it’ as well as the third person singular object pronoun (ŋʷu), also glossed him/her/it; (ii) definiteness in the language is marked by demonstratives, which are of two types: proximate – ‘this’, and distal – lɛ́ ‘that’, while indefiniteness is expressed through the use of the numeral ǒka ‘one’ or ‘someone’; (iii) four cases have been established as used in day-to-day conversation in the Igala language, which are nominative/subjective, accusative/objective, possessive/genitive, and vocative; and (iv) both ɛ̀kɛ̀Ɩɛ̀ and ɛ́nɛkɛ̀Ɩɛ ‘man’ or èbùƖɛ̀ and ónobùlɛ ‘woman’ are used interchangeably in the language but it is only ɛ̀kɛ̀Ɩɛ̀ ‘man’ and èbùƖɛ̀ ‘woman’ that can take the plural marker or morpheme àbó-, while ɛ́nɛkɛ̀Ɩɛ ‘man’ and ónobùlɛ ‘woman’ cannot. If we do, they lose their man/woman sense and evoke a different meaning entirely, and therefore, become ungrammatical, as in *àbɛnɛkɛ̀Ɩɛ would mean ‘people of the male folk, and *àbonobùlɛ would mean ‘people of the female folk’.

Keywords


nominal category, number, possession, gender, definiteness, case

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