Ibibio Causative and Anti-Causative Verb Alternations

Ogbonna Anyanwu


Causative and anti-causative verb alternations include the commonly attested cross-linguistic morphosyntactic phenomena and most languages have different ways of marking the alternations. Whereas in some languages, there is a clear morphological marking on the verb to indicate the causative/anti-causative distinction, in some others, there is no such morphological reflex or marker to indicate a verb’s status with respect to causativity. This paper provides a descriptive analysis of causative and anti-causative verb alternations in Ibibio. Following the categorizations of Haspelmath’s (1993) the paper highlights the two major ways by which the causative/anticausative verb alternation can be expressed in Ibibio. The first is through the directed (morphological) alternation, by which the distinction between the causative/anti-causative is indicated by a morphological reflex on the anti-causative verb. In Ibibio, the anticausative verb morphology can be expressed in three different ways; germinating the final consonant of the verb (root) of the lexical causative with a high tone vowel whose [ATR] value harmonizes with that of the final vowel of the root verb, suffixation (to causative verb root) of a harmonizing high tone vowel with a consequent weakening of the final consonant and by lengthening the first vowel of the causative verb root. The other option is the non-directed (lexical) alternation which is further divided into the suppletive and labile alternations (Haspelmath 1993). For the suppletive alternation, different verb roots are used for the causative/anti-causative alternations while the labile alternation is not yet observed in Ibibio The paper further observes that as has been noted in some languages, the anti-causative construction in Ibibio unlike its causative counterpart is characterized by a change in word order, absence of causative agentive noun phrase and an anti-causative affix (a morphological reflex of detransitivization and anti-causativization in the directed alternation. The data on which this study is based were collected from adult speakers of Ibibio by the author using an elicitation list. The database consists of acceptable words/expressions collected from standard Ibibio speakers within Uyo metropolis in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria.

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v1n2p25


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

E-mail: elr@sciedupress.com

Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'Sciedupress.com' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.