Holophrastic Utterances: Types and Meaning Dimensions in Igbo

  • Aloysius U. Umeodinka
  • Edith U. Nwobu


Linguistics, in its study of language, brings out the essential role communication plays in the daily lives of human beings. The roles are particularly revealed in semantics, the study of meaning. These meanings have as much different shades as they are used for interaction at the different levels of word, phrase and sentence. It is against this background that this paper focuses on “Holophrastic Utterances: Types and Semantic Dimensions in Igbo”. One of the objectives of the study is to make known the meaning of adult holophrastic expressions. The study is also purposed to categorize such utterances, reveal their contexts of usage and their dimensions of meaning in Igbo. The approach adopted for the study is descriptive. And it is the Use Theory of Meaning that guides the study. The research discovers that adult holophrastic utterances are such that go beyond the involvement of children’s type of simple one-word utterances used in their stages of development to embrace the use of such single words by adults to reveal the social or common background they share in their interactional relationships. It is the expression of a complex of ideas in a single word or in a fixed phrase. The holophrastic utterances have been discovered to be classifiable into interrogative, affirmative, consolatory, greeting, appeal, appreciative, disapproval, advisory, imperative and condemnation. It has also been found out that the names of the different classes are synonymous with their contexts and purposes.


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eISSN: 1595-1413