A Re-analysis of Assimilation in Igbo: Distinctive Feature Approach

  • Aghaegbuna Haroldson Uwaezuoke
Keywords: Igbo, language, Omambala Igbo, phonology, assimilation, distinctive features.


This study re-investigates assimilation in Igbo with a view to identifying features of the types of assimilation. It also seeks to provide distinctive feature matrices of the types of assimilation in the language. It anchors on the Distinctive Features Theory. The data for analysis were obtained from both the primary and secondary sources. The secondary data were from existing texts, while the primary data were from Ọmambala Igbo speech varieties of the Inland West Igbo Dialects Cluster (IWIDC). Descriptive method and Binarity principle were adopted for analysis of the data. Five types of assimilation are established in Igbo by this study: vowel-vowel assimilation, vowel-syllable assimilation, syllabic nasal-consonant assimilation, vowel-consonant assimilation, and consonant-vowel assimilation. Features of these types of assimilation were identified and their distinctive feature matrices established. Besides, feature theory has conveniently accounted for assimilation in Igbo.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2346-7126