African Research Review

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Aspects of the semantics and pragmatics of verb-noun selection restrictions in Igbuzo-Igbo

Esther N. Oweleke


This paper discussed the semantic as well as the pragmatic properties of the Igbo language that are responsible for the co-occurrence possibilities of verbs and their objects. It examines the linguistic and extra-linguistic information inherent in this interesting phenomenon attested in the language. Using the binary feature format of Componential Analysis, the paper revealed the semantic components that constitute the meaning of the nouns in the NP2 position select or impose restrictions on the nouns that can co-occur with them. The paper also analysed some sentences in Igbuzo-Igbo to demonstrate that the semantic combination of words and phrases in abstraction from context often fall short of being the complete meaning of an utterance. The paper therefore argued that the interplay of the semantic and pragmatic components of meaning is needed to achieve effective communication.
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