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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 5:25pm On Jun 10, 2015
Ihuomadinihu:
Well, i refuse to speculate or believe that ''Chi'' has been known/pronounced differently....

Well, it is something that has been in my head, and I felt there was no harm voicing it out. I feel a case could be made for it. But I also understand I could be wrong.

However, given what historical linguists can tell us about the time distance between proto-Igbo and the modern-day lects, I wouldn't quite confidently assert that 'chi' has always been known as 'chi'.

In a related argument, it seems to me that the word for gods/deities in all but a few Igbo lects contain a 'head' root - arusi/arusi/alushi/arushi/erishi etc.

Same for the Yoruba word for same - orisa.

Proto-YEAI spirituality seems like a 'head-obsessed' one. grin

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 7:43pm On Jun 10, 2015
Radoillo:


Well, it is something that has been in my head, and I felt there was no harm voicing it out. I feel a case could be made for it. But I also understand I could be wrong.

However, given what historical linguists can tell us about the time distance between proto-Igbo and the modern-day lects, I wouldn't quite confidently assert that 'chi' has always been known as 'chi'.

In a related argument, it seems to me that the word for gods/deities in all but a few Igbo lects contain a 'head' root - arusi/arusi/alushi/arushi/erishi etc.

Same for the Yoruba word for same - orisa.

Proto-YEAI spirituality seems like a 'head-obsessed' one. grin
Nothing wrong in sharing what's in your head but i don't share your view. In my opinion, chi did not start as a Godhead seeing that it means both God the creator and a guardian/personal God. Besides the lexical change from 'Si' to 'Shi' (and chi in this case) is not central/common to all Igbo lects. I don't see how si would change into a general 'chi'. We need wider opinions and contributions on this issue.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 1:58am On Jun 11, 2015
Oh where to begin, where to begin... I'm so much enjoying this topic. Heu!

Alright, the number system. Definitely, Radoillo, we both noticed the exact same thing, and like you stated, it was way too obvious to miss. Also, just like you, I find the reconstruction of the numeral 'nine' difficult to reconcile. I do not believe it follows the 5-based compound numeral system. For one, it seems odd that the proto-Igbo 't' would weaken to 's' in all other instances except 'nine'. That alone is a red flag that I believe Williamson et al should have considered. Secondly, the reconstructed 'alo' doesn't fit, because, as you stated, the reconstruction for 'four' isn't 'alo'. Therefor, the reconstruction is flawed.

I believe Ohiri-Aniche realized this and tried to compensate. If you review the reconstruction work on her own manuscript, as opposed to Williamson et al, you'll see that she gives 'biilo' as the reconstruction for 'four'. Her sources for the reconstruction include Egbema and Nenwe speech varieties for 'four', being 'ilo' and 'elo', respectively (can this be verified?). Naturally, one would be inclined to go with Ohiri-Aniche's reconstruction (because it makes more sense), but even a bit of critical thinking can break that.

Considering the l/n dynamic that exists across lects, we should just as well expect communities that favor 'l' to have maintained 'alo' for 'four', but that is not the case. In fact, in all instances, it is the exact opposite. This discrepancy convinces me that the 'biilo' reconstruction is potentially faulty and Egbema and Nenwe are likely outliers in this.

So, with that, it seems likely (at least to me) that 'nine' is not part of the 5-based compounding system, but I do agree that it is a compound of something. The numeral 'one' is clearly present in all variants of 'nine'. So, the focus now falls on 'ite', but how can that be explained? Why is it that all other 't' sounds weaken to 's', but the 'ite' in numeral 'nine' survives in tact after all these centuries? Is it that 'nine' is not a cognate with the other 5-based compound numbers? That would not be surprising. After all, numerals 'one' through 'five' are not cognates. Numeral 'ten' is also not a cognate. Maybe the pattern simply ends with 'eight', and Onitsha is an outlier.

If the pattern did include 'nine' during the proto-Igbo days, then it is clear that something happened to displace it, most likely before the sound shift from proto-Igbo 't' to modern Igbo 's' occurred.

Potentially Noteworthy Speculation: It might not be too far fetched to suggest that the compound for 'nine' somehow translates as 'remove one'. The number system for other languages in the family (cite Edo & Yoruba languages) have that exact set up. Their languages retained that subtraction feature and developed it with higher numbers. It's possible that the branching away of Igbo might have occurred within that time period of development; late enough that we might have 'remove one', but early enough that it did not develop fully.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 2:35am On Jun 11, 2015
Radoillo:
grin

No Igbo-speaker alive today would be able to hold a conversation with a proto-Igbo-speaker if it was possible to go back in time. I suspect that syntax too must have changed.

Oh definitely. No doubt about that. In fact, that's the reason why I included that little aside (assuming syntax stays the same). I strongly believe that syntax did change, especially with the auxiliaries.

Radiollo, nnaa, don't forget your Satem/Centum observation. I still would like to hear it.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 9:35am On Jun 11, 2015
ChinenyeN:



Radiollo, nnaa, don't forget your Satem/Centum observation. I still would like to hear it.

Yes, I didn't forget. I'm trying to gather as much illustrations for it as I can from the 'Comparative Igboid' manuscript in order to make my argument as comprehensively as I can. And it's quite a large manuscript. 500+ pages long! It might be till weekend before I get round to it. grin

Wait...who am I kidding? I may never get round to it. Lemme just give you the skeletal idea, stripped of details. Perhaps, by going through the comparative word lists you could find support for it in certain consonant shifts across the Igbo lects.

The Satem/Centum isogloss takes it name from the words for 'hundred' across the Indo-European language family. Similarly, I propose to name this Igbo isogloss after the words for 'land/ground' across the Igbo lects -- the Ale/Ane isogloss. [I'm using here what I believe to be older variants of the Igbo 'ali/ala/ele/eli/ani/ana']

The Ane lects: Spoken in the greater part of Anambra (where I believe its features originated), the Agbaja-Nkanu axis of Enugu State, and the Enuani and Ukwuani areas of Delta State.

The Ale lects: Spoken in the rest of the Igbo area.

There are some patterns in sound shifts which appear, to me, to support this postulated isogloss.

The 'L'-to-'N' Shift:

Note the use of 'l' in the following words : ala/ali/eli/ele (land), elu (up), olu/uli/ili (neck), luo (marry), ogologo (tall) --- in the Ale - speaking areas;

And the use of 'n' in their Ane equivalents: ana/ani, enu, onu, nuo, ogonogo.

The 'R-to-L' Shift:

Note also the use of 'r' (or the nasalized 'rn') in these set of words: raa(lick), nro (dream), rie (eat), ree (sell), uru (profit/flesh) --- in the Ale - speaking areas, or much of it anyway;

And the use of 'l' in most of their Ane equivalents: laa, nlo, lie, lee, ulu.

the 'H-to-R' Shift (A Minor Shift involving 'H'):

Notice the use of 'h' or 'h' with a nasal sound (hn) in these words: oha (the masses), hapu/hafu (leave), ahuhu (ant), ohu (slave) -- in the Ale area.

And the use of 'r' in most of their Ane equivalents: ora, rapu/rafu, aruru, oru.

Although, I must note that for Ukwuani, this shift seem to have ended up producing an 's' sound rather than an 'r'.

The 'H/Wh-to-Fricative' Shift:

The fricatives involved here include f/v/vb/sh.

Thus we see: uhie (camwood), ahia (market), ehi (cow), etc, in most Ale - speaking areas ending up as : ufie/uvie/uvbie/ushie, afia/avia/avbia/ashia, efi/evi/evbi/eshi in most Ane - speaking areas.


Now, the picture is NOT as neat as I have made it. We have talked before about 'pattern-breaking communities' that try to make nonsense of this type of categorization. Some of this pattern-breaking leaps out at you:

1. The fricative f/v in Abiriba, Ohafia and Arochukwu (all Ale lects) where you would expect a 'h'.
2. The use of 'h' (as in 'oha') in Agbaja (a seemingly Ane lect) where you would expect an 'r'. Although I think the Agbaja case might represent the incomplete Anenization of an Ale - speaking group.

One can find many other pattern-breakers like that. But I think in broad-picture perspectives there is a point to be made here for an Ane/Ale isogloss for the Igbo languages.


Speculating further...

Like I said, earlier I believe that the main defining features of the Ane languages were developed in the area that is now Anambra State. Most probably along the valley of the Anambra River. My reason for suspecting the Anambra Valley is that some of the features of the Ane lects (particularly the L-to-N shifts, and the R-to-L shifts) also occur in Igala, and serve as one of the differentiating markers between Igala speech and Yoruba speech. If one makes the assumption that there was a common innovation source for these sound shifts in both groups of languages (Ane Igbo lects and Igala), then the region where they had the most ancient, the most extensive contact becomes the most likely cradle of the linguistic innovations - the Anambra Valley in this case.

Linguists hold that Yoruba and Igala split 2000 years ago (i.e, about the beginning of the Christian Era). I think this date may be useful in attempting to date the linguistic innovations that gave rise to the Ane linguistic features. Incidentally - though this is still debated by linguists and paleobotanists - it was also about that time (beginning of the Christian Era) that the Southeast Asian Food Complex (Asian yam and coco yams, and perhaps also plantain and bananas) made their way to West Africa and (we would think) Igboland.

Historians think that the new crops revolutionised the agricultural life of people living along the Anambra River, eventually giving rise to the Aguleri Culture, which we hear about in the Eri legends. [The Eri legends explicitly mentions the cocoyam (if not also the Asian yam) as a foundational element of that culture - enabling us to tentatively date the rise of this culture.] The Aguleri Culture (going by Aguleri's traditions) would impact on both the Igala and the rest of the Anambra Valley and the adjoining Awka-Nri Uplands. It is possible that the Ane linguistic innovations were associated with this Culture and spread as its impact spread.

[The Nri supremacists will love this suggestion grin]
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 9:45am On Jun 11, 2015
Also, ChinenyeN, I was thinking about our 'ite' problem last night, and I hit on a phrase which I think might hold an answer.

In my area of Igboland (and, I suspect, in other areas as well), the phrase for abortion is 'ite ime'. The noun 'ite' has a verb root 'tee', which I believe can be translated as 'abort/remove'

Tee ime - Abort the pregnancy/ Remove the pregnancy.

Perhaps this is an ancient verb meaning 'remove' that has only survived in abortion references.

Applying this interpretation to Itenaani/Itoolu/Toolu yields 'Abort one/Remove one'.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 1:06pm On Jun 11, 2015
Radoillo's Off-Topic Speculation -- h/s/sh/r and the YEAI subfamily of the West Benue-Congo

Prelude: cognates need not share the same meaning. Just the same etymology (which might imply a shared, underlying meaning).
Keep that in mind as I provide my response.

Now, let me focus on 'head' before I get to 'chi' in my next post. This might not be a thoroughly put-together post, since I'm working it out as I type this. Anyway, here goes. After a bit of processing, it may seem that the word for 'head' in Igbo, Yoruba and Edo may be cognates, but part of me feels unsure about that. In fact, I'm tempted to simply come out and say that they are not. My reasoning stems from the fact that the variants for 'head' in Igbo all reconstruct to a proto-Igbo 't' sound, while the h/s/sh/r sounds all reconstruct to a proto-Igbo 's' sound.

This would make 'isi' (head) and 'isi' (source) out to not be cognates, though they sound exactly alike (reference my earlier post on cognates, for those who need clarification).

Allow me to illustrate:

'Isi' (head) has the following other variants ishi/risi/rishi/itsi, which reconstruct to 'diti'.
'Isi' (source) has the following other variants ihi/iri/ishi, which reconstruct to 'isi'.

If we allow for the likelihood of related h/s/sh/r sound shifts across the YEAI subfamily (within this context constraint), it would then further suggest that the Igbo word 'isi' (source) is the cognate and not 'isi' (head).

Some Speculation to Buttress the Point: We know now that the h/s/sh/r sound shifts are etymologically weakened versions of an older 's' sound. Armstrong's glottochronology suggests that the Igbo branch of the YEAI family split off much earlier than some of the other languages in the cluster. If we maintain that the h/s/sh/r sound shift across the YEAI are related, then a case can be made that the split from the YEAI family likely occurred during the period in which the older 's' was still in use by the YEAI cluster. The Igbo branch of the family would have maintained the '-si' for 'source', while the Yoruba and Edo branches might have later weakened it to '-ri' and '-hi' respectively (cite the given meanings for 'oriki'). For Yoruba and Edo, '-hi' would later come to be applied to 'head' as well. For the Igbo branch, further weakening to h/s/sh/r would further deviate the meaning, while still maintaining the underlying concept of 'source'.

Ex. isi - ishi - ihi :: to come from
Ex. isi - ishi - ihi - iri :: to leak (from a point)

So, seemingly, the Igbo variants for 'head' do not fit into this dynamic. Maybe the cult is a 'origin or source cult' rather than a 'head' one, and 'head' as a meaning is a later development.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 3:15pm On Jun 11, 2015
I've always suspected that the infamous /f/ and /n/ lexical items in Northern Igbo lects were introduced by Nri people. wink
How did the Northern Abia people(Ohafia,Item etc) acquire f in place of h in their dialects though? Hmmm.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 6:34pm On Jun 11, 2015
See, this is why it is good to share one's thoughts, even when one isn't so sure those thoughts make for a strong argument. smiley

Looking at your post, I think you are right about the 'source/point' thing. Apart from the linguistic argument you put forward for it, a cult of 'head veneration' didn't make much sense to me to begin with. But I can understand a cult or cults that venerate the source [of life, of fertility, of good fortune etc]. The connection with the head must have come later to proto-Yoruba and proto-Edo after proto-Igbo had branched off.

Come to think of it, doesn't it make a great deal of sense to interpret 'Chukwu' as 'The Great Source'? And Chineke as 'The-Source-and-The-Creative-Force'

One thing however: I don't entirely feel this negates the hypothesis (which I have now refined in view of your observation) that 'chi' evolved from an older 'si'-bearing or 'hi'-bearing word that translated as 'source', rather than strictly 'head' as I had earlier thought.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 3:54pm On Jun 12, 2015
Speculating on the Etymology of 'Chi' & the YEAI Family

'Chi' presents some difficulties when attempting to derive its etymology (at least, within the context of our discussion). Firstly, we know the concept is ancient, most likely having its roots in the proto-YEAI period, if not earlier. This means that the concept predates most, if not all, sound shifts that brought about modern Igbo. Secondly, though the 'Chi' philosophy/spirituality is clearly shared with other members of the YEAI family, the term [chi] is not immediately identifiable as a cognate of its Yoruba, Edo and Akoko counterparts (verification on Akoko needed, but for now going by the safe assumption that their term mirrors 'ori' and 'ehi').

Thirdly, the work presented by Williamson et al further complicates matters. In the Comparative Igboid manuscript, it can be seen that Williamson et al consistently reconstruct a proto-Igbo 'ki' in all instances of 'chi'.

Ex. okochi, ochichiri (Izugbe) -- ukoki, okikidi (proto-Igbo)

The reconstruction is difficult to reconcile with what we know about the other YEAI branches (with respect to the 'Chi' context). But I believe we can put forth an explanation of sorts for this. Oddly enough, the explanation that I have in mind is almost so simple that even I think there's something wrong with it (but it is sound, as far as speculations go).grin

Speculative Explanation: Among all the YEAI terms, 'Chi' is obviously the outlier. This immediately raises two questions in my mind, which get answered almost as quickly as they are asked.

Question: How come the original '-si' term for the 'Source Cult' did not somehow survive into modern Igbo, when the derived h/s/sh/r variants are all attested for across modern Igbo lects?

Answer: The '-si' term did survive. I have always suspected that the 'isi' in terms such as 'isimbido', 'isiala', 'isiuzo', etc. never explicitly referred to 'head'. Instead, I had always interpreted it as referring more so to a 'starting point' of sorts than 'head', but never had a way to solidify my interpretation. In light of this our discussion, however, it seems evident that I may have actually been right. In effect, it could then be suggested that just as with the Yoruba and Edo, Igbo came to later blend the meaning/usage of derived words for 'head' and 'source' together. Other evidence for the survival of the '-si' term is in the name 'Isioma' as Radoillo rightly noted.

Question: It seems clear that 'Chi' is not a cognate, based on the reconstruction work by Williamson et al. So, how then did it come to be applied to the 'Source Cult'?

Answer: 'Dawn'. I am of the belief that 'Chi' initially was used to refer to 'dawn', 'the day', etc. Expressions such as 'i voola chi' attest to a likely separate and distinct usage other than 'source' during the proto-Igbo period. Words such as 'echi' and 'echiile' further support this distinct usage. However, it would seem that at some point in proto-Igbo history, the 'Source Cult' became associated with dawn, the day and the sun. Examining the rest of the YEAI family, we can see that there exists a lack of association with 'dawn' in all branches except Igbo. That is our missing link.

Speculative Conclusion: (So simple that I almost feel stupid for providing such a long synopsis) It is the association with 'dawn' that likely displaced the original '-si' term for the 'Source Cult' and then associated the cult with 'Chi'.

Imagine, if not for the association with 'dawn', modern Igbo could be saying 'Ihileke'/'Isineke'/'Isitoke'/'Ishiokike'/'Ihiokuke'.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 5:49pm On Jun 12, 2015
More Evidence to Consider with Respect to 'Chi'

The Ika lect shows something interesting in the context of this discussion. The reconstruction work by Williamson et al shows that the Ika lect does not use 'Chi'. This we already know, because we are aware that Ika uses 'Ehi'. At first, one might be tempted to call it a borrowing from Edo, but two things suggest otherwise.

1. We know now that the h/s/sh/r dynamic is clearly associated with the '-si' term for 'source', and lectal surveys have shown Ika to consistently favor 'h' with respect to the h/s/sh/r dynamic.

2. Ika apparently uses the proto-Igbo '-ki' where other lects use '-chi' (i.e. 'ekiile' vs 'echiile').

These two key points suggest that Ika lect might have become isolated from the rest of the Igbo branch during the period in which sound shifted from '-ki' to '-chi'. It explains why the lect lacks 'Chi' and uses names such as 'Kime' where other lects would use 'Chime'.

That Ika also does not thoroughly associate the 'Source Cult' with 'Chi'/'Ki' (i.e. the transition from original '-si' to 'Ki' did not fully complete) also suggests that the 'Chi'-'Source Cult' association might have possibly begun shortly before or during the isolation of the Ika lect. This is significant in establishing the timeline for association. It suggests that the full transition from the original '-si' term to 'Chi' may have occurred a lot closer to Igbo pre-history, rather than during the proto-Igbo period (further explaining why we still find remnants of the original '-si' term in our names).

This effectively makes Ika the last surviving lect to etymologically maintain the original term for the 'Source Cult'. So, the 'Source Cult' fully survived into modern Igbo after all. The historical association with Edo might have influenced the use of 'Ehi' as opposed to the more likely 'Ihi' variant (speculation).

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 8:21pm On Jun 12, 2015
Nde nkeye ani.. Ndee anu?! grin
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 8:30pm On Jun 12, 2015
ChinenyeN:
Nde nkeye ani.. Ndee anu?! grin
Lol. Ike gwuru m ke mgbe unu bidoro tuwasiwa 'Chi'.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 9:20pm On Jun 12, 2015
Ihuomadinihu:
Lol. Ike gwuru m ke mgbe unu bidoro tuwasiwa 'Chi'.

Gwudu ngede? Kaa nkeye ge. grin
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 9:44pm On Jun 12, 2015
ChinenyeN:


Gwudu ngede? Kaa nkeye ge. grin
Lol.
Biko tughari a ihe idere na bekee ma o bu na igbo nke ga i kwe nghota.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 9:57pm On Jun 12, 2015
Ihuomadinihu:
Lol.
Biko tughari ihe idere na bekee ma o bu na igbo nke ga i kwe nghota.

Hahahah
Translation: Gwuru giri? Kaa ke ghi.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 10:01pm On Jun 12, 2015
Anyway, I'll be back soon to share my thoughts on everything else.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 10:01pm On Jun 12, 2015
ChinenyeN:


Hahahah
Translation: Gwuru giri? Kaa ke ghi.
Haha,o dikwa egwu. So that was proto igbo?
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 10:03pm On Jun 12, 2015
ChinenyeN:
Anyway, I'll be back soon to share my thoughts on everything else.
Ok. Till then.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 10:21pm On Jun 12, 2015
Ihuomadinihu:
Haha,o dikwa egwu. So that was proto igbo?

Well, we'll call it the best approximation of proto-Igbo that I can possibly muster.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 10:42pm On Jun 12, 2015
Brilliant submissions, ChinenyeN.

When you made the connection between 'chi' (spirit-force - for want of a better translation) and 'chi' (dawn), my eyes lit up. I quickly remembered an essay written by Chinua Achebe which I had read many years ago and then forgotten. I went in search of it again and I want to quote some relevant portions. The essay is titled 'Chi in Igbo Cosmology' and can be found quite quickly online:

"There are two clearly distinct meanings of the word chi in Igbo. The first is often translated as god, guardian angel, personal spirit, soul, spirit-double, etc. The second meaning is daylight....Thus we speak of chi ofufo meaning daybreak and chi ojiji, nightfall....

"For a long time I was convinced that there couldn't possibly be any relationship between chi (spirit being) and chi (daylight) except as two words that just happened to sound alike. But one day, I stumbled on the very important information that among the Igbo of Awka, a man who arrived at the point in his life when he needs to set up a shrine to his chi will invite a priest to perform a ritual of bringing down the spirit from the face of the sun at daybreak"

At the time I thought this was a most interesting piece of information, but I didn't think too much of it because I was then more interested in pursuing the connection between chi and its Yoruba and Edo counterparts.

But looking again now at Achebe's essay and your own submission, I think I am beginning to understand the transition, ages ago, from 'isi' to 'chi' : An early association between the sun - the ultimate 'isi' (source) of fertility and life - and the cycles of dawn (chi ofufo - clearing up of day) and dusk (chi ojiji - darkening of day). Igbo cosmology (and this is true of all cosmologies) is complex.

*I mentioned this subject in passing to my dad. He smiled, nodded and mentioned a popular Igbo name 'Ishiekwene' - 'May Ishi not agree/ May Ishi forbid'. This name only makes sense if one understands that 'ishi' in this context is synonymous with 'chi'. Another relic of a pre-chi past, it appears.

I find this 'discovery' deeply self-satisfying. Languages are treasure troves of hidden histories.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 12:14am On Jun 13, 2015
A little observation about the name 'Kime' and it's connection to 'Chime'...

This should be a different discussion, on another thread, but maybe I should say something about it here, especially seeing as it forms part of the argument for your thesis concerning Ika and Ehi/Ihi/Chi/Ki.

Victor Manfredi (a scholar who worked among the Agbor people) and Iduwe (an Agbor traditional historian) have shown that the Ika name 'Kime' have no etymological connection with the name 'Chime'.

Kime in Ika is short for Kimekuzi, which means "What will I now say?" [Writing it in Enugu Urban it would be: "Kee iye m me ekwuzi?"]

Kime (or Chime, as he is known in Aniocha) is held (in Agbor traditions collected by Iduuwe) to have been an Agbor man who migrated to Aniocha. Manfredi makes the reasonable suggestion that it was in Aniocha that the name got altered in line with Ika/Aniocha sound differences to yield a name that is (in meaning) different from the original Kime.

Concerning Ihi and Later Ehi Among the Ika

That was a very interesting submission. The Aniocha also have the term 'ashi' for 'chi'. The term ashi agrees with our 'sound equivalence law': h/r/sh/s. [Nri is 'Nhi' among the Ika, and 'Nshi' among the Aniocha.] 'Ashi' also appears to have the marks of being the word 'ehi' 'Aniochanized' after it came from the Benin or secondhand through Ika [an 'a' taking the place of an 'e' as in the following Ika/Aniocha words: ehwuhwo/akwukwo, era/ala].

But I don't know why I hesitate about this: an 'ihi' cult that became 'ehi' under Benin influence. The submission appears sound. I will give it a lot of thought.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 1:22am On Jun 13, 2015
Radoillo:
I find this 'discovery' deeply self-satisfying. Languages are treasure troves of hidden histories.
Enyi, speculative or not (and of course, not withstanding my 'Kime' example), we have effectively provided some serious [and sound] answers to some long-standing questions. For that, we should feel nothing less than self-satisfaction.

Also, thanks for the revelation on 'Kime'. I was not aware of that tidbit. Had I known, I certainly would not have used it as an example.

Radoillo:
But I don't know why I hesitate about this: an 'ihi' cult that became 'ehi' under Benin influence. The submission appears sound. I will give it a lot of thought.

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts after you've taken some time to think about it. I have some thoughts of my own that I would want to share, based on the above quote, but I'd rather hold my tongue for the time being and see what you say.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Phut(f): 4:36am On Jun 13, 2015
Great job @ Radiollo and ChinenyeN. Some of us might not be able to contribute but better believe we are reading and enjoying every bit of it.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 1:27pm On Jun 13, 2015
Ihuomadinihu:
I've always suspected that the infamous /f/ and /n/ lexical items in Northern Igbo lects were introduced by Nri people. wink
How did the Northern Abia people(Ohafia,Item etc) acquire f in place of h in their dialects though? Hmmm.

After going through the wordlist in the 'Comparative Igboid' manuscript a little more carefully, I noticed something which I initially thought strange, but which I now think answers the emboldened question.

Contrary to what I had thought, it would appear that the 'f' [in place of 'h'] was already present in Proto-Igboid. Thus ahia (market) in proto-Igbo was afi-ya.

Later, both the Anambra Valley and parts of Abia were, for some reason, isolated from the sound shift that transformed this particular 'f' into a 'h' in much of Southern Igboland.

So it wasn't an 'Anambra' feature that mysteriously cropped up in Abia, but a formerly general proto-Igbo feature that disappeared everywhere, save for these two clusters - the Anambra cluster and the northern Abia cluster.

In light of this I should make a few changes to my proposed 'Anambra innovations' that separated the Ane - speakers from everyone else. Rather than shifting from a 'h' to an f/v, it would now appear that the Ane groups retained it (alone with Abiriba and Co. in Abia) while everyone else lost it.

However the 'L' to 'N' Shift and the 'R' to 'L' Shift would still appear to have been genuine Anambra innovations, as the proto-Igbo reconstructions favour 'L' over 'N' and 'R' (usually 'd' in proto-Igbo) over 'L'.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by TerraCotta(m): 5:47pm On Jun 13, 2015
ChinenyeN:
Speculating on the Etymology of 'Chi' & the YEAI Family

'Chi' presents some difficulties when attempting to derive its etymology (at least, within the context of our discussion). Firstly, we know the concept is ancient, most likely having its roots in the proto-YEAI period, if not earlier. This means that the concept predates most, if not all, sound shifts that brought about modern Igbo. Secondly, though the 'Chi' philosophy/spirituality is clearly shared with other members of the YEAI family, the term [chi] is not immediately identifiable as a cognate of its Yoruba, Edo and Akoko counterparts (verification on Akoko needed, but for now going by the safe assumption that their term mirrors 'ori' and 'ehi').

The reconstruction is difficult to reconcile with what we know about the other YEAI branches (with respect to the 'Chi' context). But I believe we can put forth an explanation of sorts for this. Oddly enough, the explanation that I have in mind is almost so simple that even I think there's something wrong with it (but it is sound, as far as speculations go).grin

Speculative Explanation: Among all the YEAI terms, 'Chi' is obviously the outlier. This immediately raises two questions in my mind, which get answered almost as quickly as they are asked.

Question: How come the original '-si' term for the 'Source Cult' did not somehow survive into modern Igbo, when the derived h/s/sh/r variants are all attested for across modern Igbo lects?

Answer: The '-si' term did survive. I have always suspected that the 'isi' in terms such as 'isimbido', 'isiala', 'isiuzo', etc. never explicitly referred to 'head'. Instead, I had always interpreted it as referring more so to a 'starting point' of sorts than 'head', but never had a way to solidify my interpretation. In light of this our discussion, however, it seems evident that I may have actually been right. In effect, it could then be suggested that just as with the Yoruba and Edo, Igbo came to later blend the meaning/usage of derived words for 'head' and 'source' together. Other evidence for the survival of the '-si' term is in the name 'Isioma' as Radoillo rightly noted.

Question: It seems clear that 'Chi' is not a cognate, based on the reconstruction work by Williamson et al. So, how then did it come to be applied to the 'Source Cult'?

Answer: 'Dawn'. I am of the belief that 'Chi' initially was used to refer to 'dawn', 'the day', etc. Expressions such as 'i voola chi' attest to a likely separate and distinct usage other than 'source' during the proto-Igbo period. Words such as 'echi' and 'echiile' further support this distinct usage. However, it would seem that at some point in proto-Igbo history, the 'Source Cult' became associated with dawn, the day and the sun. Examining the rest of the YEAI family, we can see that there exists a lack of association with 'dawn' in all branches except Igbo. That is our missing link.

Speculative Conclusion: (So simple that I almost feel stupid for providing such a long synopsis) It is the association with 'dawn' that likely displaced the original '-si' term for the 'Source Cult' and then associated the cult with 'Chi'.

Really impressive speculations and a plausible explanation. I don't have much to add, although i will say that other linguists have suggested that the ori/ehi/chi cognates are more complex than the relationships of the modern terms for 'head' suggests. In Bolaji Aremo's "How Yoruba and Igbo Be Aime Different Languages," he points out that there is likely to be a rare or near-obsolete cognate for 'source' (as in 'source of a river' etc) in the term isun/Orisun (likely contracted to 'osun' in the name of the modern state and the river/goddess) and Igbo 'isi'. He suggests that 'Orisun' may be closer to the YEAI original, though I'm not sure why. He thinks 'ori'/modern 'head' is a late innovation and a branch from this YEAI term. It adds an interesting dimension to this discussion. More can be found here (on page 22 in case you don't get a direct link) https://books.google.com/books?id=OiynbBvMblcC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=orisun+bolaji+aremo&source=bl&ots=m6-ns99nfy&sig=4q5RQIReNDJyrk4dX_A1TkZsfRo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI66Gi14uNxgIViXuSCh0KNwDK#v=onepage&q=orisun%20bolaji%20aremo&f=false

'Si' is also modern Yoruba for 'open'; it would be a stretch to relate that to 'break' as in 'day break'/'dawn' but maybe that's another avenue to explore. Sincere thanks to you and Radoillo for the enlightening discussion, since I've always found historical linguistics (and well-funded archaeology)to be our most likely source of reconstructing precolonial culture shifting. I wish Physics were around to enrich this with an Edo perspective but that's probably a broader YEAI thread at some point in the future.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 6:09pm On Jun 13, 2015
ChinenyeN, here are some preliminary observations on your Ika Ihi hypothesis:

I tried to verify if 'isi' (to come from/source) varies in Ika as 'ihi'. I was unable to find anything, or maybe I was scrolling so fast (down the manuscript) I failed to see it. The whole from-Ihi-to-Ehi theory will rest on 'Ihi' being present in Ika...as against 'isi/ishi'. While an r/s/sh/h dynamic has been established, and while we know that Ika falls on the h-end of that spectrum, it doesn't look to me like it applies in every single scenario.

Also, if there was an 'ihi' phase (rather than an isi/ishi phase) in the development of the personal-force cult in Ika which missed the 'chi' phase, but under Edo inspiration became 'ehi', would it be out of place to expect Ika to have Ihi/Ehi derivations for the High God? Like Ihiokike, Ehiokike? No such derivations for the High God exists. Instead, the names they apply to the High God (Osenobue and Ose, its shortened form) derive from Benin. The absence of such 'manipulations' of 'ihi/ehi' suggests to me a certain lack of flexibility in the manipulation of the 'ehi' concept that points to the 'fact' that this isn't an organic part of Ika cosmology pre-Bini impact.

I'm also a little doubtful that Ika split from the other Igbo linguistic forms before the shift from 'ki' to 'chi'... I certainly think it very likely that that shift was already underway at the time Ika went its way.

My main reason for this doubt is that there are words in Ekpeye (purportedly the oldest extant lect to branch off from proto-Igboid) which demonstrate that the ki-to-chi shift had already begun to occur for Ekpeye.

Thus, proto-Igbo 'eki' (ring) is 'echi' in Ekpeye.

Proto-Igboid 'bu-iki' (cane-rat) is 'buchi' in Ekpeye.

Proto-Igboid 'ki' (lead) is 'chi' in Ekpeye.

Ika probably separated, then, with some words already in 'chi' form and others still in the 'ki' phase...just like in some Ikwere dialects (where 'echiile' is still 'ekiile').

A reversalof every 'chi' root in Ika back to 'ki' probably occurred at a later phase of Ika history -- under a peculiar set of influences (I suspect intense relations with the Bini whose language appears to lack a 'ch').

Again, it would seem strange if the 'Source Cult' in Ika did not participate in the next phase of that cult's development - identification with the dawn/daylight. Ekpeye, for all its distinctness and 'early branching-off, would appear to have attained that phase.

Hence in the 'Comparative Igboid' manuscript, it indicates that 'morning, dawn, day, and life force [note:life force] in Ekpeye is 'oyukwe'. A very different word from the 'chi', 'ichi' and 'nchi' recorded for the other lects (except, of course, for Ika which is left blank), but the important thing here is that even for the Ekpeye, the stage of identification of the personal life-force we know as chi in most modern lects with the dawn had been reached.

So an early separation does not satisfactorily explain the Ika situation. What does (for me at least) is good ol' wholesome borrowing. The religious impact of the Bini on Ika is very obvious. Osenobue, Olokun, Idigun, Ogiuwu - all Bini supernatural forces, all adopted by Ika, sometimes (possibly) at the expense of a more local alternate. I think, Ehi was one more borrowing that displaced the more Igbo cult that might have reached the dawn-association phase, if the Ekpeye illustration is anything to go by.

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Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 9:45pm On Jun 13, 2015
TerraCotta:


Really impressive speculations and a plausible explanation. I don't have much to add, although i will say that other linguists have suggested that the ori/ehi/chi cognates are more complex than the relationships of the modern terms for 'head' suggests. In Bolaji Aremo's "How Yoruba and Igbo Be Aime Different Languages," he points out that there is likely to be a rare or near-obsolete cognate for 'source' (as in 'source of a river' etc) in the term isun/Orisun (likely contracted to 'osun' in the name of the modern state and the river/goddess) and Igbo 'isi'. He suggests that 'Orisun' may be closer to the YEAI original, though I'm not sure why. He thinks 'ori'/modern 'head' is a late innovation and a branch from this YEAI term. It adds an interesting dimension to this discussion. More can be found here (on page 22 in case you don't get a direct link) https://books.google.com/books?id=OiynbBvMblcC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=orisun+bolaji+aremo&source=bl&ots=m6-ns99nfy&sig=4q5RQIReNDJyrk4dX_A1TkZsfRo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI66Gi14uNxgIViXuSCh0KNwDK#v=onepage&q=orisun%20bolaji%20aremo&f=false

'Si' is also modern Yoruba for 'open'; it would be a stretch to relate that to 'break' as in 'day break'/'dawn' but maybe that's another avenue to explore. Sincere thanks to you and Radoillo for the enlightening discussion, since I've always found historical linguistics (and well-funded archaeology)to be our most likely source of reconstructing precolonial culture shifting. I wish Physics were around to enrich this with an Edo perspective but that's probably a broader YEAI thread at some point in the future.

I'm tempted to break 'Orisun' down as 'ori' - 'source' and sun (related to 'su', 'ru', 'hu') which translates as 'flow' in some YEAI languages, including several Igbo lects. Taken together = 'source of the flow'. Doesn't sound too distant from the etymology given in your post. But it doesn't seem, from this breakdown at least (which I'm not saying is absolutely 100% accurate), that the term or its contraction 'osun' is directly related to Igbo 'isi'. It doesn't also seem from the breakdown that 'osun/orisun' could be the YEAI original for 'source'.

On the whole though, Mr Aremo's analyses are interesting.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 1:57pm On Jun 14, 2015
Radoillo:


After going through the wordlist in the 'Comparative Igboid' manuscript a little more carefully, I noticed something which I initially thought strange, but which I now think answers the emboldened question.

Contrary to what I had thought, it would appear that the 'f' [in place of 'h'] was already present in Proto-Igboid. Thus ahia (market) in proto-Igbo was afi-ya.

Later, both the Anambra Valley and parts of Abia were, for some reason, isolated from the sound shift that transformed this particular 'f' into a 'h' in much of Southern Igboland.

So it wasn't an 'Anambra' feature that mysteriously cropped up in Abia, but a formerly general proto-Igbo feature that disappeared everywhere, save for these two clusters - the Anambra cluster and the northern Abia cluster.

In light of this I should make a few changes to my proposed 'Anambra innovations' that separated the Ane - speakers from everyone else. Rather than shifting from a 'h' to an f/v, it would now appear that the Ane groups retained it (alone with Abiriba and Co. in Abia) while everyone else lost it.

However the 'L' to 'N' Shift and the 'R' to 'L' Shift would still appear to have been genuine Anambra innovations, as the proto-Igbo reconstructions favour 'L' over 'N' and 'R' (usually 'd' in proto-Igbo) over 'L'.
Ok,i knew you were going to write this. I already mentioned that the shift from /h/ to /f/ was probably an Anambra/Nri innovation on a different thread sometime last year, but you felt it has always been a proto igbo feature. I decided to chip it in again,waiting for you to counter it once more. Lol.
Nevertheless,we all know that most Northern Abia groups were not originally natives of that region(Ohafia). So am still a bit skeptical,if they were part of the Abia groups isolated along with Anambra valley people during the /f/ to /h/ shift in other igbo dialects.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 2:23pm On Jun 14, 2015
Ihuomadinihu:

Ok,i knew you were going to write this. I already mentioned that the shift from /h/ to /f/ was probably an Anambra/Nri innovation on a different thread sometime last year, but you felt it has always been a proto igbo feature. I decided to chip it in again,waiting for you to counter it once more. Lol.
Nevertheless,we all know that most Northern Abia groups were not originally natives of that region(Ohafia). So am still a bit skeptical,if they were part of the Abia groups isolated along with Anambra valley people during the /f/ to /h/ shift in other igbo dialects.

LOL. I'm pretty certain I wasn't the one who countered you on that thread. As a matter of fact, if I had been part of that discussion, I would most certainly have agreed with you. I, too, believed 'h' was the original sound, and that the shift to 'f' was an Anambra thing. But the last couple of days of looking at the proto-Igbo reconstructions in Williamson et al's papers is changing the way I look at proto-Igbo and sound shifts.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 5:19am On Jun 15, 2015
Radoillo:
[The Nri supremacists will love this suggestion grin]
grin grin grin grin

Alright, I'm back. I admit, just like some of you, I too was surprised to see the reconstruction work by Williamson et al favor an 'f' for proto-Igbo. I would have nearly sworn that 'h' was the phoneme in use, but I guess that is why they are the linguists. I won't deny though that their work has helped me understand sound shifts a lot better. Normally, I would have contended with others over the 'f'/'h' issue, but after spending days reading the manuscripts, I've come to really understand the logic behind the reconstructions.

Now, on to my responses...

Radoillo, I have always believed that it was easy to generalize Igbo-speaking lects into two major linguistic groups primarily because of the l/n dynamic. Your Ale/Ane isogloss does an excellent job of taking that to the next level. I'm not surprised that you would mention the l/n shift first. It is, after all, among the most obvious of shifts. Any exposed Igbo-speaker would immediately recognize this dynamic, and so I honestly believe it serves as a strong basis for mapping the isogloss (further evidenced by the fact that you have named the isogloss after a term that incidentally exemplifies said l/n dynamic). The r/l dynamic is actually the second most obvious shift that any exposed Igbo-speaker will immediately notice. I like how those two [l/n & r/l] are the first two that you discussed.

Beyond the sound shifts though, there is one other thing that I would add to the list of markers for this isogloss. Nasality and aspiration. It is my believe that nasality and aspiration, along with the l/n dynamic serve as the strongest pieces of evidence for the Ale/Ane isogloss postulation. The fully-anenized (if I may borrow your term) lects seem to have essentially dropped most, if not all, aspects of nasalization and apparently never adopted aspiration (if we go by Williamson et al's logic that aspiration evolved from weakening nasal vowels with hard consonants).

As for dating the innovation.. I'll admit that I am not all that versed on what historians and paleobotanists say about the Asian Food Complex and West Africa. Regardless, if we go by the conservative estimate (dating based on the split of Yoruba and Igala linguistic branches), then we look at some serious implications. For instance, if we take the 2,000 year ago estimate and consider the diversified number of Ale-speaking lects, it would then imply that much of the proto-Igbo-speaking branch must have long since spread before the split of the Yoruba and Igala branches. Their spread would have isolated them from the innovation and resulting anenization.

Also, your speculation on the innovation and the Anambra valley reminds me of our discussion a while back in another thread about Urata/Isu and Social prejudices. You made a contribution in that thread that I believe can be applied here. This is in response to the role of the Aguleri culture in the anenization of lects. You stated that you believe the 'Anambranization' (or anenization) of the Awka uplands likely predates the rise of Nri hegemony. The statement in that thread synchronizes with your statement in this thread of how the rise of the Aguleri culture occurred after the innovation [and as a result of the Asian Food Complex revolutionizing agriculture during that period]. This give me the understanding that anenization may have occurred in two waves. The first was the initial innovation. Following the initial innovation, groups spread from the Anambra valley, eventually making contact with [previously isolated] Ale-speaking groups (cite Nnewi & Isu traditions as an example). The revolution in agriculture during this same period would later gave rise to the Aguleri culture which resulted in a second wave of anenization, due to the impact of the culture. This could be evidenced by the Agbaja example you gave earlier on, where you considered Agbaja to likely be a partially anenized, Ale-speaking group (Does Agbaja fall into the Eri/Nri sphere of influence?)

It also raises one more question in my mind. Where are the pattern-breaking communities actually located (with respect to the Eri/Nri sphere of influence). What we might be seeing are the remnants of previously Ale-speaking lects that might have undergone anenization during the second wave. Of course, it's just a speculation with no real basis, since I cannot account for the location of these pattern-breaking communities.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 5:38am On Jun 15, 2015
TerraCotta, thanks for sharing the link. I have never read Aremo's work before, but it is interested (and satisfying) to see that I independently reached a similar conclusion as someone else. It suggests that there actually is something behind what we've been discussing all this time. Although, I am also not sure why he would believe that 'Orisun' is closer to the original YEAI term. None the less, it suggests that we've been on the right track so far in this discussion.

Also, I'd hate to say this, because it feels as though I may be belittling Aremo's work, but I find some of his conclusions on cognates disagreeable. True, now is likely not the time to get into it, and this thread is likely not the thread to do hold such a discussion. I can definitely say thought that I wouldn't mind having that discussion in the future, in a more broadly focused YEAI thread.

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