Reflexivization and Reciprocality in the Kalabari Language



Oribomate, J. & S.C. Aboh


Work Unit:

University of Nigeria, Nigeria; University of Nigeria, Nigeria


Vol.9 No.1 (Serial No.14) 2021






This paper examines reflexivization and reciprocality in Kalabari with particular attention to the forms, functions and structures of reflexive and reciprocal constructions (the nominal sub-type) in the language. The paper adopts the binding theory as a framework in analysing the data. The data were gathered through interaction and introspection. The findings reveal that reflexives and reciprocals in Kalabari require a compatible clause-mate antecedent due to the strong anaphoric relationship between reflexive and reciprocal markers and their antecedents respectively. The findings further reveal that the form of Kalabari reflexives consists of -ḇù (-self) and the appropriate form of the pronoun in the language. The paper also reveals that the Kalabari language makes a tripartite distinction for number, person and gender, and the form of the reflexive does not change; only the pronoun changes, while reciprocals consist of a reduplicated form jụmọ jụmọ, jápụ jápụ and jéin jéin. In terms of the structure, findings reveal that reflexives and reciprocals come before the verb of the clause in which they occur. The finding further reveals that reflexives in the language perform both non-emphatic and emphatic functions, while reciprocal relates to human and non-human reference of mutuality. Tonal inflection also makes a distinction in 1st person singular and 2nd person singular reflexives. It is therefore recommended that more studies be done to ascertain the form, function and structure of the verbal and possessive sub-type of reflexive and reciprocal constructions in the language.

Key Words:

reflexives, reciprocals, binding, Kalabari, Universal Grammar


doi: 10.26478/ja2021.9.14.7


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