Aspects Of Adim Morphology

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

Aspects Of Adim Morphology

List of Abbreviations

Here are the following symbols used and their meanings

  • [ ] phonemic representation
  • / / phonetic representation
  • / high tone
  • \ low tone
  • M mid
  • L low
  • H high
  • ~ nasalization
  • C consonants
  • V vowels

Table of Contents

  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Table of Content

Chapter One:

General Background

  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 1.1 Historical background
  • 1.1.1 History and development of Adim
  • 1.2 Migration and pattern of settlement
  • 1.2.1 Isobo area origin
  • 1.2.2 Otum-usa origin
  • 1.2.3 Calabar estuary origin
  • 1.3 Socio-cultural profile
  • 1.3.1 Marriage institution
  • 1.3.2 Age grade system in Adim
  • 1.3.3 The Economy
  • 1.3.4 Belief pattern
  • 1.3.5 Types of currencies used up to early 20th century
  • 1.4 Phylo-genetic background
  • 1.5 Genetic classification
  • 1.6 Scope and organization of the study
  • 1.7 Data collection
  • 1.7.1 Data analysis

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • Basic Phonological and Morphological Concepts
  • 2.0 Introduction
  • 2.1 Sound inventory
  • 2.2 Sound Inventories in Adim language
  • 2.1.1 Adim consonants
  • 2.2.2 Distribution of consonant sounds in Adim language
  • 2.2.3 Vowel sounds in Adim.
  • 2.2.4 Distribution of vowel sounds in Adim
  • 2.3 Tone Inventory of Adim language
  • 2.3.1 Distribution of tone
  • 2.4 Syllable inventory of Adim Language
  • 2.5 Basic morphological concepts
  • 2.6 Types of morphemes
  • 2.6.1 Free morphemes
  • 2.6.2 Bound morphemes
  • 2.7 Language typology
  • 2.7.1 Analytic/isolating languages
  • 2.7.2 Synthetic languages
  • Agglutinative languages
  • Fusional languages

Chapter Three:

The Structure of Morphemes

  • 3.0 Introduction
  • 3.1 Morphology
  • 3.2 Definition of morpheme
  • 3.3 Free morphemes
  • 3.3.1 Lexical morphemes
  • 3.3.2 Functional morphemes
  • 3.4 Bound morphemes
  • 3.4.1 Prefixation
  • 3.4.2 Infixation
  • 3.4.3 Sufixation
  • 3.5 Functions of morphemes
  • 3.5.1 Derivational functions
  • 3.5.2 Inflectional functions
  • 3.6 Morpheme variations
  • 3.6.1 Homonyms
  • 3.6.2 Antonyms
  • 3.6.3 Synonyms
  • 3.7 Allomorphs
  • 3.8 Counting system

Chapter Four:

Morphological Processes

  • 4.0 Introduction
  • 4.1 Affixation
  • 4.2 Compounding
  • 4.3 Borrowing
  • 4.4 Reduplication
  • 4.5 Clipping
  • 4.6 Refashioning

Chapter Five:


  • 5.0 Introduction
  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Observation.
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • 5.4 Recommendations
  • References

Chapter One

General Background of the Study

1.0 Introduction

According to Garvin and Mathios (1956), language performs a unifying and separate function. This term refer to the feelings of the members of a society or a social group that they are united and identified with others who speak the same language and that they contrast with or are separated from those who do not.

Language from another perspective is a system of signals including voice sounds, gesture or written symbols which encodes and decodes information(wikipedia). Language is an instrument of socialization. This includes among others greetings, political expressions and the likes (Yussuf, 2009).

1.1 Historical Background

1.1.1 The History And Development Of Adim

There is no consensus among the people of Adim as to where their Ancestors came from. Some people believe that their forefathers came from Otum Usa, while others believe that they had always lived where they find themselves today and that they did not come from anywhere else. Many elderly people accept the tradition that their origin is located around the area known as Otum Usa settlement in Ebom-Ebijiakara, the eastern bank of the Cross River in the present Abi Local Government Area and that their ancestors dispersed from the region and first settled in Orum-Ugom along old Abredang Road.

1.1.2 Migration And Pattern Of Settlement

The community which came to be known as Adim in Biase Local Government Area consists of five desperate groups. Those claiming that their origin is from Isobo Area, those claiming origin from Old Otum Usa settlement and those who believe that the people of Adim migrated from the Calabar Estuary (Eyong, 2005). Isobo Area Origin

The tradition from Agwagwune avers that some Adim people were originally Igbos in the present Abi Local Government Area who came from Isobo area. This source further claim that the ancestors of these people were driven out of their original home by a more powerful group and this development sent this inhabitant on a process of migration. In this process, the Adim people came in contact with the Agwagwune during the headship of Onun Eo Oti. Arising from generosity of this leader, the Adim people were given a place of land to settle on.

The source further disclosed that on settling in this present location, the Agwagwune people gave them a name ‘Adimi mo Abba’, which literarily translates as ‘people pressed to the ground’. This name was given to them because of their defeat in a battle in their former settlement at Isobo.

However, this tradition is still far from being true. Otum-Usa Origin

My informant, Chief Eni Eko claimed that Adim migrated from a place called Otum-Usa meaning old settlements. Otum-Usa in Adim dialect is referred to as Orum Inuk. It was situated between Usumulong and former settlement of Ebom Ebijiakara both in Bahumono clan in the present Abi Local Government Area.

The informant asserted that a Bahumono man killed one Adim woman and the people of Adim wanted to retaliate. This development brought about a strained relationship between the Adim people and the Bahumono people. This situation forced the people of Adim to flee from Otum-Usa and moved in southwards direction and eventually arrived at the present site and established a small settlement. These settlements were Inuk-Ogama-Igeme, Inamoka, Arumigom, Onile-ejak, Ogwa, Orum-iton and Ogwe.

Some other people believed that the eruption of a fight following the murder of an Adim woman was not the reason for their migration from Bahumono area, rather, they attributed the cause of their fight to the struggle to acquire more lands and more fishing ponds. Yet others claimed that apart from this petty quarrelling and fighting, other likely cause of their movement was on grounds of famine and epidemic. Since the people were always fighting, less emphasis was placed on agriculture, leading to famine which was consistently epidemic.

Another major proponent of this view is Dr. Ajah Ekpeni Obia who asserted that the name Adim was a corrupt form, colonial coinage of Arum, original tongue and shortened form of ‘Arumerume’. He claimed that the people called Arumerume comprise of five distinct groups of families or clans sharing a common history of tribe, migration and unification. These ancestral families were Arum. Different from the whole community which came to bear the same name(Eyong, 2005).

Evidence also pointed to the fact that in the cause of migration of the semi-bantu (Ekoi) people up the Cross River Estuary, these families of Arumerume first settled in a place called Otum-Usa in the present Abi Local Government Area. Otum Usa was located on a highland situated to the eastern bank of Cross River and sandwiched between Usumutong and former Ebom-Ejiakark homeland. He argued further that the desire to search for fertile plains that could support agriculture propelled the people to migrate down hill and southeast towards the present settlement of Adim.

According to Dr. Obia, the family of Arum led by Onun Echu Otala Ogbuenyi duba first settled in a place called Orum-Ugom. This group or family had its own unique cultural and leadership structures. Originally, there were about eleven households or villages that form Arum clan. Amongst the renowned societies and deities of this ancient clan were Abu-Ukpan, Oduba and Iyase. This was the largest and strongest economically and militarily. That was why its name gradually became the common identity for the emergent union.

He opined that other four groups or families migrated later, after being assured of the habitable land by the pioneer group. The Emomolo group led by Onun Owor Ewelu settled at Onoli-Ejak and so on.

Another tradition explains that the people of Adim are the Ekoi tribe which migrate from Cameroun during the great Exodus of 15th century AD. They had come along with Umon Island on the Cross River. The source further disclosed that as a result of the incessant invasion by the neighbouring villages like Agwagwune, Ablep, Ugep and Abini, the people of Adim resolved to unite in order to face their enemies and to guard against total extermination. One of such invasion was the combined attack of Ugep people from the north and Agwagwune.

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This research work began with chapter one which gave information on the historical background of the language, socio-cultural profile of it’s speakers, socio-linguistic functions and genetic classification of the language. It also included the scope and organization of the study, data collection and data analysis.

An attempt has been made to look into some basic morphological concepts such as morphology, morphemes (free and bound), and the morphological processes present in Adim language and how the morphemes in the language combine to form new words. Since morpheme is the soul of morphology, this research work critically looked into what morpheme is, functions of morpheme, and morpheme types. Aspects of morphology were also briefly discussed which include sound inventory, tonal inventory and syllable structure of Adim language.


After a thorough analysis of the data collected for this project work, the following points were observed on word formation processes in Adim language.

  1. It was discovered that words in Adim language are of two typologies: isolating and agglutinating.
  2. It was also observed that Adim people do not interact so much with their neighbouring languages, so, they do not have much borrowed words.
  3. Both prefixes and suffixes are present in the language. Unlike many other African languages, it was discovered that Adim has some infixes which were used to inflect the meaning of the root morphemes.
  4. In Adim, bound morphemes are very few.


The main focus of this research work was to analyse the process of word formation in Adim language. We have achieved this through ample and copious to illustrate how each of these processes are attested in Adim language.

This also provides the fact that morphological processes of affixation, compounding, borrowing, reduplication, clipping and refashioning are quite productive in the language.

In Adim language, there are twenty-six consonants, seven oral and seven nasal vowels. Adim attest three levels of tone; high, low, and mid and it operates an open syllable structure.

In conclusion, this long essay is a useful study of the morphological aspects wit the study of linguistic phenomena in Adim language.


After a very thorough investigation on the language of this study, the following recommendations were made.

  1. Native speakers of Adim should prevent their language from dying by encouraging their children to speak it at home and let them learn other languages at school.
  2. Useful materials should be made available like dictionaries, textbooks and other materials that can develop a language. This will help to preserve the language and give it more recognition among it’s contemporaries
  3. The fact that Adim people are scattered in Efik and Ibibio speaking parts of Niger-Delta area leaves them to a disadvantage. This has led to the emergence of different dialects. They should take a bold step to come together so as to create a standard form of Adim because Nigeria is a country that is facing a big problem on the issue of which language to choose out of over 500 languages. Then, Adim could have to create a standard for herself, if not, it would be facing a very high rate of extinction because, the varieties would not be seen as different dialects.

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