Vowel Harmony Peculiarities in Ekwulobia Igbo

Vowel Harmony Peculiarities in Ekwulobia Igbo
CLAREP Journal of English and Linguistics (C-JEL)

Author: Chibunma Amara Ezenwafor
Institution: Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Imo State
Email:  bunma_4real@yahoo.com


Patterns of vowel harmony in the Igbo language vary from one variant of Igbo to the other. Employing a descriptive framework, this study examines the operations of vowels and their harmonic peculiarities in the Ekwulobia dialect of Igbo. It established that Ekwulobia Igbo has eight phonemic vowels dividing neatly into two sets, and one phonetic vowel [ɛ] that occurs in a mutually exclusive environment. Unlike the Standard and the Onitsha Igbo, the perfective marker suffix in Ekwulobia Igbo adheres strictly to vowel harmony rule within the perfective verb form. Observed also is the fact that the cv (where c is the alveolar nasal /n/) and vcv (where c is the voiced glottal fricative /h/) demonstrative markers also conform to the vowel harmony rule; a pattern which is not obtainable in Standard and the Onitsha Igbo. Finally, in marking negation in the Ekwulobia Igbo, there is a strict correspondence of the vowel of the suffix with the vowel of the root. It might suffice to say, therefore; that in the Ekwulobia Igbo, there seems to be a stronger harmony pattern as demonstrated in the perfective marker suffix, demonstrative markers, and negation marker suffix than seems to operate in the Standard and Onitsha Igbo dialects, a feature which is quite peculiar to it.


vowel harmony, Standard Igbo (SI), Ekwulobia Igbo (EI) Onitsha Igbo (OI)

Pages: 201-214
ISSN: 2698-654-X
ISBN: 978-3-96203-100-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-96203-244-9 (PDF)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.56907/gat43b0c