Aspectual Morphemes and Oppositions in Ìgbò


  • Maduabuchi Sennen Agbo


Aspect, morpheme, oppositions, inchoative, terminative


The consensus in Ìgbò aspectology is that the language has only four aspectual morphemes: ga, na, la and the five allomorphs of the reduplicated vowel (-rV ) suffix. Nevertheless, a careful look at Ìgbò verb morphology and semantics reveals that other morphemes exist which encode aspect and aspectual oppositions. Therefore, this study investigates the morphosemantic representations of these morphemes in Ìgbò and the aspectual contrasts therein. The data for the study comes from spoken Ìgbò in Ìgbò language movies. The intuitive knowledge of the author is also a source of data. The data was transcribed and presented to native speakers for grammaticality judgements. The approach to data analysis is descriptive since the objective is to identify these aspects within the facts of Ìgbò. Ten morphemes are described and broadly categorised as durative and terminative morphemes. The durative morphemes are zíé, gídé, gásíá, nwù and ká, while the terminative morphemes include, gó, dèbè, tụ̀, chá, and zùó. The durative morphemes encode the aspectual oppositions of continuous-nonstatic, continuous-static, abilitative, pluractional and superlative. The terminative morphemes encode the oppositions of the terminative-inchoative, cessative, restrictive, conclusive and completive. These aspectual oppositions are not exhaustive since the study is based on data from only five dialects of the language. However, the study is a contribution from Ìgbò to the cross-linguistic study of aspects and also a basis for further investigation of the derivational and inflectional features of Ìgbò aspectology, aktionsart and aspect and also the syntax of telicity.


Author Biography

Maduabuchi Sennen Agbo

Department of Linguistics
University of Benin, Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.


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How to Cite

Sennen Agbo, M. (2020). Aspectual Morphemes and Oppositions in Ìgbò. Journal of the Nigerian Languages Project, 2. Retrieved from