Call for papers Volume-7, Issue-1, July 2022 Last date of submission : 31-07-2022

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Aniekan NYARKS, Ph.D

Llexico Semantic Variation In Anaang Language: A Stratified Comparative Analysis Of Lower Cross Language

2.0 Preamble

This work: “Lexico Semantic Variation in Anaang Language: A Stratified Comparative Analysis of Lower cross Language” was motivated by the clarion call from the academic treasure: “The Linguistic Analysis of the Phonological Deviations in Anaang Language: A Stratified Comparative Analysis of Lower Cross Language” in International Journals of Current Innovations in Education, volume 4 number 1 P 55 – 56  2020. The article advocated for the investigation of the lexical and semantic (lexico semantic) varieties in Anaang Language. So in response, this work delved into the lexico semantic as a study and dialectology as a course.


3.0 Introduction

Khan and Jabeen (2015) define lexico semantics as the study of the way individual words and idioms tend to pattern in different linguistic contents on the meaning level. Lexico Semantics is the study of the meaning of words. This involves the study of the structure of words and their meaning and how they act in grammar, compositionality and the relationship between the distinct senses and uses of words. Ordinary description of lexis may be said to be the total stock of words in a language or the component of language made up of vocabulary. It consists of jargons, dialects, slangs, swearing, taboos, colloquialisms, terms, dysphemism’s, clichés, euphemisms, archaisms (Wikipedia) etc. Moreover, John Lyons (2016) defines linguistic semantics as the study of meaning systematically encoded in the vocabulary/grammar of natural language. Linguistically, according to Wikipedia lexico semantics stands for the complete set of all possible words in a language or a particular group of words that are brought together for a particular linguistic purpose. Stringer (2019) sees lexical semantic as being concerned with inherent aspects of word meaning. On the other hand, semantics is the diffusion of words.

In an attempt to distinguish a language from a dialect, another related definition of a language given by Trudgill (1993:3) is that “a language is a collection of mutually intelligible dialects”. Mutual intelligibility means the understanding of that dialect within the language community (the environment where the language is spoken). This definition has the features of categorizing dialects as sub-forms of a language. Daulatova (2020) asserts that lexico semantic is concerned with “the relationship between the expressive and semantics aspects of words, the whole and part relation between the lexical meaning and its semantics, this is evidenced by the paradigmatic and syntagmatic feature of word meaning”. On the whole, Race and Hulis (2019) see lexical semantics as the computation of the representation of the meaning of a word. 

However, we see dialects as a genre; that is an aspect of language. The reason for this concept is that a dialect is a part of a language. Mutual intelligibility, which exists in dialect, suggests that all the dialects are understood by their speakers though they may be some phonological or lexical differences. This suggests that such mutual intelligible dialect may have developed from one source, the proto language. This is the reason they are often referred to as “family, group, division, phylum, etc”. For instance, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish which developed from the same proto-language, Indo-European, have today become different languages as the people migrated to different geographical location and contacted other tribes and other languages. Meanwhile, there are some lexical similarities in all the languages from the same proto stock. According to Trudgill (1993:4)

If we consider, the first Scandinavian language, we observe that Norwegian, Swedish, Danish are usually considered to be different languages. Unfortunately, for our definition, though they are mutually intelligible, speakers of these languages can readily understand and communicate with one another.

This is the reason dialects are sometimes referred to as subparts of a language, meaning that they all have aspects of each other in them, which shows a trace to a common background.

Furthermore, apart from the different dialects, which come from the proto-language becoming languages, a language can be made up of different varieties, which are the dialects, like the different dialects of the Anaang language. In this study, variety shall be used as a dialect interchangeably. Varieties may also arise as a result of accent. Accent refers to the way speakers realize their words implying phonetic or phonological differences. Trudgill (1993:5) agrees that dialect on the other hand, may refer to varieties, which are grammatically (and perhaps lexically) as well as phonologically different from other varieties.

Furthermore, Trudgill (1993:8) illustrates that language identification may be due to political, geographical, historical, cultural or social reasons. Thus when some groups of people know quite well that their variety of language will be a marker of identification of their region and sovereignty, they hold on to their variety and ignore the other. Therefore, apart from linguistic reasons, political, economic, and social reasons have played important roles in the identification of languages and dialects. According to Trudgill (1993:18)

We have to recognize that, paradoxically enough; a “language” is not a particularly linguistic notion at all. Linguistic features obviously come into it, but it is clear that we consider Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and German to be single languages for reasons that are so much political, geographical, historical, sociological and cultural as linguistic.

  Since language is a maker of culture and identity every tribe wants to maintain her dialect or language as a tribal sign which will invariably be a step to their political aspiration and economic development in the same vein. Connell (1991:9) comments as follows on the language situation of the Lower Cross:

…equally important to the question of language or dialect (indeed perhaps are social, cultural and political considerations). In many instances, the actual deciding factor as to whether certain languages should be classified as dialects or languages depends on political boundaries or the culture identities of the groups involved.

  In this study, it is our responsibility to find out aspects of lexico semantic varieties in Anaang language and in another study, the factors responsible for this variation.