• Francis Iorchia Ayagah Department of Languages and Linguistics, Benue State University Makurdi


This paper examines the morphophonemic patterns of affixation in Tiv plural formation. Given that there exists an interactive relationship between morphology and phonology, this paper seeks to investigate the sound changes that occur when morphemes concatenate through affixation processes to form plurals in Tiv, a Bantiod language spoken mostly in the middle Belt area of Nigeria, especially in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa and Cross River states of Nigeria. The study classifies and analyses the phonological factors that affect morpheme, or grammatical factors that influence phonemes in Tiv plural formation. The objectives of this paper are specifically to: investigate the morphophonemic patterns of affixation in Tiv plural formation in order to describe the rules/constraints in Tiv plural formation, ascertain which environments affixation patterns occur in plural formations in the language, identify which changes occur in morphemes in the course of plural formation and to examine the effect of such changes on the Tiv grammar. The study adopts qualitative research design using Generalized Alignment and Transderivational Antifaithfulness models of Optimality Theory to explain the permissible patterns in Tiv plural formation. Data for the study was collected from monolingual native speakers of Tiv language, who are deemed to be proficient in the language. The data was analysed in tables and findings indicate that when affixes align with singular noun stems in Tiv, various sound changes occur to newly formed plural form of nouns. The paper finds out that plural formation in Tiv takes place by use of prefixes such as mba, ,‘i-‘, ‘a-‘  and ‘u-‘; by the use of the prefix ‘i-‘ with an insertion of /j/ after the plosive, by vocalic alternation/depalatalization/ consonant deletion, voiced prenasalised bilabial plosive copula (mba) prefix, as well as by the ’ev’ and ‘ov’ suffixes. The paper concludes that in all the plural formation processes, sound changes occur, the paper therefore recommends that particular attention be paid to these sound changes that are occasioned by plural formation processes so as to enhance proper understanding and mastery of the Tiv language.




How to Cite

Ayagah , F. I. (2023). MORPHOPHONEMIC PATTERNS OF AFFIXATION IN TIV PLURAL FORMATION. International Journal of Arts, Languages, Linguistics and Literary Studies, 12(4). Retrieved from



International Journal of Arts Languages, Linguistics and Literary Studies