Nasalization in Ngwa-Igbo

Published: September 2019

AuthorNneoma Fyne Ugorji

About Author: Clifford University, Owerrinta, Abia State, Nigeria.

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Nasalization is a phonetic process that involves a lowering of the velum.Ngwa is an Igboid lect under the New – Benue Congo, itself a sub – branch of the Niger – Congo languages. The wordNgwa refers to the people, the geo-political area known as Ngwa land and the dialect of Igbo spoken by the indigenes of Ngwa land. The Ngwa people are found in Abia State in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Some of the objectives of this paper are: to demonstrate the extent to which nasal segments affect other segments in adjacent position where they occur in the dialect, to illustrate that in homo – organic nasalization there are two segments with two different manners of air release from the lungs by the same articulators, the collection of data for this paper was done through the recording of the speech of two native speakers aged 40 -60 years. The theoretical framework adopted for the analysis of data in this paper is Generative Phonology. This is because it gave the principles to account for the phonetic operations in the data presented here. Some of the findings of this paper are: that the nasalized fricatives nasalized every vowel that followed them, but could not nasalize vowels that preceded them where they occurred at word medial position, that homo – organic nasalization occurs in the dialect where, the syllabic nasal copies the place of articulation of its following consonant, that oral vowels but can be nasalized in the phonetic environment of a nasal plosive /m, n, ɲ, ŋ, ŋᵂ/, nasalized fricatives /f͂, v͂, s͂, z͂, h͂, hᵂ͂/ and nasalized roll /ř/, and that that all nasal consonants are continuants as the egressive air is never completely cut off. This paper recommends a further study of nasalization in the Ngwa dialect as its use in the dialect is part of the linguistic competence of a native speaker.

Keywords: nasalization, velic opening, homo-organic assimilation, generative phonology, Ngwa-Igbo