The Tone - Semantic Concept in Ibibio Revisited

  • Paulinus Noah


The most popular hypothesis on the correlation between tone and semantic concept, especially as it has to do with ideophones, seems to be that of Noss (1975,1985) on Gbaya and Ekere (1987, 1995) on Ibibio respectively. The hypothesis is that high tone denotes light colour, weight and mood, and low tone denotes heavy weight, mood etc. While a little data seem to show this phono-semantic tendency, the overwhelming data we have unearthed supports no direct co-relation. This paper thinks that though rules may have exceptions, an avalanche of such as in this Ibibio phono-semantic situation necessitates a fundamental reconsideration of the postulation with regard to the relationship between tone and ideophones of weight, colour and intensity, in Ibibio at least. Data for the study were elicited mainly from existing literature, field work and participant observation.

LWATI: A Journal of Contemporary Research, 8(2), 101-105, 2011

Author Biography

Paulinus Noah
Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies University of Calabar, Nigeria

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1813-2227