A Study of Igbo Gender-Based Irreversible Binomials

by Open Science Repository Language and Linguistics
(October 2013)


A number of studies have tried to show that the fixed linear order in irreversible binomials does not come about randomly. The choice of which word comes first and which second is claimed to be determined by phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic (extra-linguistic) constraints. This study examines three Igbo gender-based irreversible binomials in which the male term usually has precedence over the female. It adopts the use of the semantic, pragmatic, morphological and syntactic constraints in determining the choice of precedence order. The study reveals that these constraints are consistent with the precedence order in the set of data used. It asserts that this preferred precedence order can be used to gain an insight into the culture of the people. It however suggests that an extensive study of irreversible binomials in Igbo be carried out to determine the universality of these constraints.

Keywords: binomials, constraints, culture, gender, irreversible, pragmatic, precedence.

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A Study of Igbo Gender-Based Irreversible Binomials

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