Tag Archives: Language convergence


This study examines Phono-Semantic Matching (PSM) between Igbo and Igala where several words of these languages have similar phonetic/semantic imports. PSM has taken diverse dimensions since its introduction 2003 by an Israeli linguist, Gila’d Zuckermann. It has been seen as a form of camouflaged borrowing and a multisourced neologism in which new words are derived from two or more sources at the same time, and are phonetically and semantically alike. A qualitative method of data analysis is adopted in this study; hence it is a pure descriptive research. There are factors responsible for the phonetic-semantic similarities between a good number of Igbo and Igala words. Genealogical and language contact factors play great roles in this respect. When two or more languages are traced to same genealogical background, it becomes obvious, linguistically, that they will have many things in common. This is the case of Igbo and Igala which are traceable to same language family, the New Benue-Congo family of languages. However, when different languages come in contact irrespective of their similar or different genealogical tracings, they are bound to influence one another. It is discovered that there are strict phonetic convergence and partial phonetic divergence between several words of Igbo and Igala using PSM.

Keywords: Genealogical factor, Language contact, Language convergence, Linguistic borrowing, Phono-semnatic matching

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