Compounding in Igala: Defining Criteria, Forms and Functions

  • GS Omachonu
  • DA Abraham


In spite of the fact that compounding is really pervasive in the world's languages and despite the huge volume of literatures on compounding in languages including African languages, a critical assessment of the extant literature on compounding in African linguistics reveals that providing satisfactory criteria for defining compoundhood still requires both language specific and cross-linguistic investigations for dependable linguistic generalizations. In Ígálà, in particular, not much attention has been devoted to describing compounding. The present study therefore investigates compounding in Igala, a West Benue-Congo language spoken in north central Nigeria. Defining compoundhood and distinguishing compound words in Igala, the study shows and favours semantic criteria above phonological and syntactic considerations. Compounding generally has been found to be a highly productive word formation process in Iglala in terms of forms and functions.

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eISSN: 1595-1413