Re-examination of Comitative Strategies in Igbo

Chinenye Esther Onuoha, Chinedu Uchechukwu


This paper is focused on the strategy for the realization of the comitative in the Igbo language. It is built on the assumption that the morphological marking on nouns to indicate individuals or entities in whose company an event takes place is only one of the several strategies for coding the sense of accompaniment that is traditionally associated with the comitative marker. Other strategies that have been confirmed in the literature include the use of adjectives, verbs, prepositions that mean ‘with’, and conjunctions that mean ‘and’. On the basis of these new insights, the paper examines the two morphemes, the suffix =kọ ‘together (with)’ and the verb sò ‘follow’, whose comitative functions have not been investigated in Igbo language studies. It can be confirmed that both structures are involved in the expression of the comitative in the language. The verb sò expresses the comitative in a serial verb construction where it indicates that NP1 follows/joins/participates in the execution of an act initiated by NP2. This is different from the suffix kọ which assigns equal status to both NP1 and NP2 as either co-subjects or co-objects of the same verb. Finally, this division agrees with Zhang’s (2007) classification of comitatives into symmetrical and asymmetrical groups, whereby the suffix =ko expresses the symmetrical comitative while the verb so expresses the asymmetrical.


Comitative strategies; Accompaniment; Symmetrical; Asymmetrical

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