Miscellaneous Influences on the Igala Numeral System
Posted by abdul at December 2nd, 2014
Particularly in the counting of money today, the influence from the British Pound system evaluation, the influence of the Hausa language and the influence of the English language most recently are evident in the Igala counting system. IPAMU ‘pound’ is used in evaluating the Naira as a hangover from the British sterling system. Value equivalence is in consonance with the earlier period of the change over to the Naira, when a pound was twice the value of a Naira. Thus, we have IPAMU MO ELU (lit. pound times five) ‘ten Naira’, IPAMU MO EJO (lit. pound times eight) ‘sixteen Naira’, IPAMU OJE (lit. pound times fifty) ‘one hundred Naira’ and so on. The Hausa influence in this respect is evident from the counting in sets of two hundreds using IJEKA (lit. bag in Hausa). IJEKA OKA (lit. one bag) ‘two hundred Naira’, IJEKA MO EJI (lit. bag times two) ‘four hundred Naira’, IJEKA MO EGWA (lit. bag times ten) ‘two thousand Naira’. These first two possibilities involve the use of code-mixed forms. However, the third influence, which is observed mostly among the younger generation of speakers, is in the use of a straightforward English, avoiding the complications of any of the earlier two alternatives altogether in counting, particularly of money. These are means which speakers of the language utilize as some sort of solution to a complicated numeral system of their own language, and this is a rampant pattern of situational code mixing/switching in the Igala language state. It could thus be observed from this section that the Igala numeral system is changing like a juvenile facing numerous and conflicting consciousness in the process of maturation to adulthood. Although it is not even a favourable choice to keep the system in the infancy of a primitive system, the system must not be watched turning out to be delinquent, burdensome to and neglected by its users. This is the case for a guided modification.
Linguistics and Communication Department