Word Formation in Nnewi Dialect: A Generative: Phonology Approach

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This paper deliberated on the process of word formation with reference to the function of rule of vowel harmony and syllabic nasal in one of the dialects of Igbo which is spoken in Nnewi, Nigeria. The study examined the collaboration of types of vowels and the syllabic nasals of Igbo to form words in Nnewi dialect of Igbo language using Generative Phonology (GP). The GP analysis establishes that the rule of vowel harmony and that of syllabic nasal usage are important indices in word formation process in Nnewi dialect. Explicitly, words like nma, mdụ, ọ̣kwute, ọ́sị́sị́, are not acceptable forms in Nnewi dialect. The data used for the study were collected through reading of books, articles, journals and through internet. Introspective method was also employed in the study in the sense that the researcher served as part of the tools used for the supply of the data being a proficient native speaker of Nnewi dialect. The study is descriptive and the theoretical framework adopted for the study is Generative phonology. The data analysed for the study discovered that until the rules of grammar of Igbo language are applied in the day to day word formation and usage in Nnewi dialect of Igbo, those words formed or used arbitrarily or subjectively (without following the acceptable convention) remain alienable to Nnewi dialect and in fact to Igbo language generally. The study noticed that some words exist that did not agree with the rules of Igbo language. Such words may have been formed or used by those (either as Igbo L2 learners or native speakers) who do not recognize nor understood the rules of Igbo grammar and as a result, made modifications that are not in accord with the rule of word formation in the language. Furthermore, it was equally found out that even though some Igbo scholars may have believed that Igbo language attest only total vowel harmony, this paper wants to argue that Nnewi dialect of Igbo and indeed Igbo language allows partial vowel harmony in the formation of its words even though examples of such words may be minute .



Word formation,, Nnewi,, Dialect,, Vowel harmony,, Generative phonology