A Comparative Analysis of Lexical Prepositions in the Ibibio and Igbo Languages



Christian Sopuruchi Aboh, Comfort Nwuka Ezebuilo, Joy Charles Ibeneme



University of Nigeria, Nigeria








This paper aims at comparing the lexical prepositions of the Ibibio and Igbo languages. Its objectives are to identify what constitute lexical prepositions in Ibibio and Igbo and highlight the similarities and differences between Ibibio and Igbo lexical prepositions. The Ibibio data used for analysis were elicited from two Ibibio native speakers whereas Igbo data were obtained through introspection. The Ibibio and Igbo data were analysed descriptively. The findings of the research reveal that the lexical prepositions obtainable in Ibibio are ke ‘to, in, for, at’, mme ‘with’, anọ ‘from’, and ito/nto ‘from’. In Igbo, some of the lexical prepositions include: na ‘to, in, at, from’, maka ‘for’, and gbasara ‘about’. The similarity observed between Ibibio and Igbo lexical prepositions is that they both occur before a Noun Phrase (NP), that is, they take NP as their complement. In terms of their differences, the preposition ‘to’ is marked in Igbo but is unmarked in Ibibio. The preposition ‘with’ is overtly marked in Ibibio with mme but it is implied in Igbo constructions. Another notable difference between Ibibio and Igbo lexical prepositions is that the English preposition ‘from’ inflects for number in Ibibio but such feature is absent in Igbo. The paper recommends that further comparative researches should be carried out on other types of preposition like the category incorporated prepositions, and other word classes between Ibibio and Igbo in particular and other African languages in general.


lexical prepositions, Ibibio language, Igbo language, African languages


doi: 10.26478/ja2018.6.9.3


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