Variation in the Tone Classes of Ikwere Nouns

By Shirley Yul-Ifode and Roseline I. C. Alerechi.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 16. 2016 $US5.00

Consonants and vowels are major phonological units of any language that help to determine specific characteristics of the language and to mark variations within the language. In tone languages such as Ikwere, an Igboid language spoken in the Rivers State of Nigeria, tone also plays an equivalent role. Certain lexical items in the language may also have a unique behavior in marking variation. This article is based on the hypothesis that tone patterns within the noun system play a supportive role in distinguishing the dialects of Ikwere, and therefore investigates the extent to which tone contributes to the divergence of dialects of the language into the various groups such as the North and South, East and West, etc. Our findings reveal that even though both segmental and suprasegmental units are significant in delineating the dialect groups, the delineations based on noun tone classes are not as neat as those of the segmental phonological features. The result of this work will help in a better understanding of the interaction between tonal and non-tonal phenomena in the Igboid group and greater Niger Congo family of languages.

Keywords: Ikwere, Non-segmental Patterns, Tones, Nouns, Variation

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 16. 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 817.675KB)).

Shirley Yul-Ifode

Professor of Applied Linguistics in Child Language and Communication Disorders, Emevor Study Center, National Open University of Nigeria, Emevor, Delta State, Nigeria

Dr. Roseline I. C. Alerechi

Senior Lecturer, Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Rivers State, Nigeria