Semelfactivity in Igbo



Aboh, S. C. & A. J. Onuorah


Work Unit:

University of Nigeria, Nigeria; University of Nigeria, Nigeria


Vol.8 No.2 (Serial No.13) 2020 _Contents






This paper examines semelfactivity in the Igbo language. It seeks to highlight semelfactive verbs and other semelfactive sentential elements. The data for the study were obtained through introspection which were confirmed by two native speakers of Igbo and were analysed descriptively. From the study, it was discovered that the semelfactive verbs in Igbo that co-occur with bound verb complements for emphasis are takwu ‘whisper’, lo ‘swallow’, nwụ ‘die’ and hụpe ‘glimpse’ whereas kọ ‘scratch’, tabi ‘blink’, ze ‘sneeze’, kụ ‘knock’, ti ‘shout’, wuli ‘jump’ (wu ‘jump’. -li ‘upward’ as opposed to wuda ‘jump downwards)’, gba ‘kick’, nyụ ‘fart’ and kwa ‘cough’ that take inherent complement verbs. The research also revealed that na mberede ‘suddenly’ and na ntabi anya ‘in a twinkle of an eye’ are semelfactive adverbials in the Igbo language. Based on the findings, the paper concludes that in Igbo, semelfactivity entails a one-time action and a spontaneous or instantaneous action.

Key Words:

semelfactivity, semelfactive verbs, adverbials, Igbo, complements


doi: 10.26478/ja2020.8.13.4


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