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The study of the verb <I>Jì></i> in Igbo: A morphosyntactic analysis

Christiana Ngozi Ikegwuonu
Ifeoma M. Nweze


The Igbo language is one of the languages of the Benue Congo family chiefly spoken in the South-east part of Nigeria. The verb jì n Igbo language means hold/have. Although some works have been done on the classes of verbs in the language, no detailed study so far has been done on the verb jì. It is on this premise that this study sets out to examine the morpho-syntactic analysis of the verb jì with the objectives of exploring the different syntactic constructions in which It can be used to indicate different interpretations or meanings in the language, determine its morphological structures, syntactic patterns and characterizations in the constructions. The study adopts a descriptive approach in the analysis of the data. The data for the study was collected through the recording of the natural casual occurring speeches of the native speakers during conversations and discourses. A careful analysis of the data reveals that the verb jì can be used without attachment of any affix to express different semantic meanings such as present or past time meanings, to supply reasons for actions, show how certain actions are performed. It can inflect to indicate other semantic meanings such as: past time meaning, negation, preposition, imperative, and so on. The verb jì is a multiargument verb and can subcategorize for two or three arguments in the syntactic structures. It also has the potential to participate in different constructions with physical objects/entities, states and events to generate different interpretations. It is an inherently low tone verb but the tone can change depending on the syntactic constructions. We, therefore, recommend further research works to be done in the verbs of the Igbo language to help in throwing more light on their different characteristic features.