The Ḿbáīsé-Ígbò WH-words and complementation: A GB syntax approach

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Obioma Bibian Enwere


This paper tries to highlight the peculiar features of WH-Questions (WHQS) and to establish whether WH-words are nominal elements which do subcategorize complements to limit their references. The WH-words in Ḿbáīsé-Ígbò are grouped into two kinds - those marked by WH-words or the Predicate in-situ WHQs and those marked by initial Kèdụ́/ Ńdị ́ị̄/Ńdáā/ Óléē or the Subject in situ WHQs, where the WH-word is based-generated in SPEC-I position. The question words with initial Ńdị ́ị̄/ńdáā/Óléē(Kèdụ), are base-generated head-initially and take cognates - íhē, ébē, ónyē, ótū, ógè, m̀gbè, as their complements, which specify, ‘what’, how, when, where, and manner. The cognates serve as complements. The Predicate in-situ WHQs are the ones in which the WH-words occur in the complement or predicate position by some movement transformations. These WH-words are themselves the complements of the verbs. Adopting the Government and Binding (GB) approach and a qualitative method, with primary and secondary data, it is observed in Ḿbáīsé-Ígbò that WH-words are either the complements of verbs or nominal elements that subcategorize complements depending on their environment of occurrence.

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How to Cite
Bibian Enwere, O. . (2019). The Ḿbáīsé-Ígbò WH-words and complementation: A GB syntax approach. Journal of The Linguistic Association of Nigeria, 22(1), 234–250. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Obioma Bibian Enwere, Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies

University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt



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