Ambiguity in the Igbo Language


  • Chinweude Nwakaego Ugochukwu Department of Igbo African and Asian Studies Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka


Ambiguity in language is a linguistic device which can hinder, hamper or blur effective communication. It results in multiple meaning or interpretation. This device can be used intentionally in a speech situation as a means of evasiveness, treading cautiously and as a means of avoiding undesirable consequences. This study is an attempt to examine the nature and sources of this device in Igbo. The work identified major types of ambiguity, their major causes and implications in Igbo were also highlighted. The objectives are to highlight the uses of the devices in communication and also to enable the users of the language detect them in communicative situations. In doing this, several materials on the topic were reviewed. The researcher also listened to Igbo speakers as they communicate in the society. The survey research method was adopted in collecting the data used in the work. All the data collected were analyzed and interpreted. The results led to the following findings: Ambiguity is a linguistic condition that is common in Igbo language as in other languages; it occurs as a result of using expressions that have more than one meaning. It is therefore necessary to bear the existence of this feature in mind in the process of language teaching.