Full Length Research Paper
Ibeme is a variety of Igbo spoken in Ibeme clan comprising four vast autonomous communities namely Ibeme, Abala, Oberete-Isiala and Abala-Nkamiri in Obi-Ngwa Local Government Area, Abia State. Previous studies have classified Ibeme as a patois of Ngwa dialect and it is often glossed over with Ngwa. This study attempts to show that Ibeme is a distinct dialect. Lexicostatistics method using Swadesh wordlist comprising 100 lexical items as guideline was adopted. Introspection was also involved in data gathering as a native speaker (that is, the lead author). From the lexicostatistics report, ethnographic description and some phonemic and morphological variations, it is identified that Ibeme is a separate dialectal area. It is concluded that Ibeme is not a patois of Ngwa as claimed by previous study (Oluikpe ). The lexico-statistics report and ethnographic information show that Ibeme is separate dialect area.
Key words: Dialect, Patois, dialect differentiation, cognates and lexicostatistics.
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