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Tonemic Substitution in Ekwulobia Igbo: A Descriptive Account

CI Ezenwafor


This paper presents an analysis of the tonal behavior of level tones in the Ekwulobia variety of Igbo. It gives a descriptive account of the peculiar tonal patterning of words in this lect. This unique tonal pattern is linked to insignificant and regular tonemic substitution realized especially on nouns and verbs in grammatical constructions. The choice of substitutable tonemes as observed from the analyzed data is highly Ezenwafordependent on the intuitive judgement of the native speaker. This work shows with adequate data, that regular tonemic changes are not always meaningful in Ekwulobia lect. Such tonemic alternations are therefore accorded phonetic status.

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eISSN: 1595-1413