Publisher: University of Port Harcourt

Post-Alveolar Fricatives In Ikeduru Igbo: A Clarification On Multiconsonantal Igbo

Ugochukwu D. Mbagwu
KEYWORDS: Post-alveolar Fricatives, Ikeduru Igbo, Multiconsonantal Igbo


There is evidence with reference to Green and Igwe (1963), Igwe (1999) and more recently Ikekeonwu, Emenanjo, Eme and Ng'ang'a (2010) that Igbo is a multiconsonantal language. For Green and Igwe (1963) and Igwe (1999), about 60 consonants exist in Igbo, while for Ikekeonwu, Emenanjo, Eme and Ng'ang'a (2010), the consonants are 86. This paper thinks that the number is far from being real because it does not seem the linguists behind the multi-consonantal discovery have worked with true minimal pairs (pairs set with considerations of segments and the suprasegment, tone) as evident in Mbah and Mbah (2000). Even when this is the case, the sounds of focus could not have been juxtaposed with phonetically similar sounds in the standard Igbo. In other words, no dialect should be treated as independent. This paper demonstrates this position with reference to the post-alveolar fricatives, [ʒ] and [ʃ] in Ikeduru Igbo, which are analyzed here as allophones of the standard Igbo /h/ and /s/ respectively. The major conclusion of the paper is that from dialect-specific studies an all-inclusive consonant chart, displaying phonemes and their phonetic realizations in relation to the different Igbo dialects need be set up.

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