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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Lexicostratigraphy: a possible historiographical strategy
Author:Ezeh, P.J.
Periodical:West African Journal of Archaeology
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:language history
Igbo language
Koring language
Abstract:The author examines two Nigerian languages, viz. Igbo and Korring. The two belong to different families within the Niger-Congo phylum: Igbo belongs to the Kwa family, Korring (spoken by the Orring and hitherto not written) to the Benue-Congo family. Since British colonization, the geopolitical situation of the Orring has been a source of great puzzlement to scholars: for instance, did the Orring arrive first in the part of Africa they currently inhabit, or did the Igbo arrive before them? The author uses lexicostratigraphy as a historiographical strategy in order to throw light on this question. Lexicostratigraphy uses two categories of data: samples of the lexicons of the varieties involved irrespective of their age; and facts from lores of the societies in question. The author selected a hundred lexical items from notes taken during his fieldwork among the Orring from 1995 to 2000. An examination of cognacity in the two languages suggests that the Igbo were the first to arrive. It also suggests that before British colonization Orring social organization was different from and independent of that of the Igbo. Bibliogr., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]