Don Chukwuemeka Utulu


This paper describes some structures of underived and derived tones in Èwùlù (Igboid: West Benue Congo, Delta State, south-south, Nigeria) nouns. Many studies on tone structures of Igbo are generally those carried out on the ‘central’ variety and a number of Eastern Igbo dialects, east of the Niger River to the neglect of the varieties of the western area of the river labelled, ‘Western Igbo/Delta Igbo’. In contribution to, and in furtherance of research studies on Igbo tone phonology from a geo-dialectal perspective, the present paper examines the structures of derived and underived noun tones in Èwùlù. In the analysis, which incorporates acoustic instrumentation (SFS/WASP computerised speech laboratory) in visualisation of the perceived alternations in tone melodies, it was found that tones largely change due to assimilatory effect of other adjacent tone. Likewise, it was observed that, depending on possible lexical tone sequence combinations, underived tone melodies were altered when used in associative (noun-noun) constructions. Some of the observed tonal changes are common phenomena found in central Igbo/Benue Congo languages, while some of the tonal modifications are peculiar to Èwùlù.

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Èwùlù, Igbo, Delta Igbo, nouns, underived tones, derived tones

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejlll.v4i2.202


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