The Structure of Evaluative Formations in Yoruba

  • Folorunso Ilori Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies, University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Ibironke Adubiaro-Ajayi Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies, University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria
Keywords: diminution and augmentation, reduplication, assimilation, niche, Yoruba

Abstract

The issue of the processes involved in the derivation of the following sets of Yoruba words:
(a) beẹrẹrẹ/bẹẹrẹbẹ ‘very many’, tààràrà/tààràtà ‘straight on’, etc.; and (b) kóńkóló
‘minutely small’, tínńtínní ‘very small portion’, etc.; is far from being rested. Are they
products of partial reduplication or unique examples of suffixation in the language? Added
to the puzzle is the fact that though natural languages tend to be economical by disallowing
redundancy, the two sets, with their different forms, appear to target the same semantic
niche, which is intensification. This study investigates the structure and semantic
interpretations of these sets of words with insights from evaluative morphology (Stump,
1993; Štekauer, 2015; Aronoff, 2016, 2019; etc.). It argues that the two sets are evaluative
formations in which the language subtly divides its intensification features into diminution
and augmentation. Therefore, the two sets and their subs co-exist without redundancy as
each targets separate linguistic niches within the intensification grading in the language.
The paper argues in favour of a combination of progressive reduplication and
morphophonemic assimilation of features of the root/base as the processes employed in
the evaluative formations.

Author Biographies

Folorunso Ilori, Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies, University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria

Associate Professor of Linguistics

Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies

University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos

Nigeria

Ibironke Adubiaro-Ajayi, Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies, University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria

Doctoral Candidate & Research Assistant

Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies

University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos

Nigeria

Published
2022-12-08
How to Cite
Ilori, F., & Adubiaro-Ajayi, I. (2022). The Structure of Evaluative Formations in Yoruba. Unilag Journal of Humanities, 9(2), 104-117. Retrieved from http://ujh.unilag.edu.ng/article/view/1666