Causativity in Ìgbò Personal Names

Maduabuchi Sennen Agbo 1 ,
Author Information & Copyright
1University of Benin, Nigeria
Corresponding Author : Maduabuchi Sennen Agbo, Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Faculty of Arts, University of Benin, PMB 1154, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Phone: +234-8056021759; Email:

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jun 17, 2014; Revised: Jul 24, 2014; Accepted: Aug 14, 2014

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


Causativity is a universal feature of the grammar of languages. It is also a fundamental category of human cognition. This has stimulated a wide ranging literature on it. However, there is only one major investigation of causativity in Ìgbò and this work is essentially theory oriented, neglecting the centrality of causativity in Ìgbò tradition, socio-cultural milieu, and belief systems. Thus, this investigation, has the objective of describing the morphosyntactic features and lexicalisation patterns of Igbo personal names in order to situate the significance of causativity in Ìgbò tradition and culture. Ìgbò personal names have causativizing morphemes in their lexicalised forms. These morphemes include fùnà, gbò, gbú, , kwé, kwú, and . They encode causative senses when affixed to nominals or clauses. The lexicalization of these fused forms produce Ìgbò personal names with causative readings and socio-cultural and contextual interpretations. The grammatical analysis of these personal names is a contribution from Ìgbò to the cross-linguistic study of causation and the universal cognitive category of causativity. It is also a stimulus for the further investigation of the grammar of causativity and transitivity, and also, verbal compounding and causativity in Ìgbò. This will be fundamental to a better understanding of causativity as a universal feature of the grammar of languages.

Keywords: causativity; cognition; lexicalization; morphosyntax; Igbo personal names; Igbo culture



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