A Contrastive Analysis of Pluralisation Processes in Tiv and English

A Contrastive Analysis of Pluralisation Processes in Tiv and English

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Summary

Abstract
Linguistic studies have recognized certain procedures from which pluralisation in human languages are achieved. Applicable to the Tiv grammar are affixation, tonation, morpheme-transformation or replacives, morpheme deletion, vowel mutation, morpheme substitution, and others. Unlike English, Tiv nouns take the prefix morphemes ‘i’, ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’, ‘mba’ copular as well as the ‘ev’, ‘ov’ and ‘v’ suffixes to form plurals. Data for this research are obtained through oral interviews, library materials, and the intuitive knowledge of the researcher hence he is also a Tiv – English bilingual. Data were also obtained through keen observation of the speech by Tiv speakers especially those featured on Tiv programs on the Radio Benue 1 Makurdi and Ashi waves Katsina-Ala. These speeches in Tiv were compared with speeches in English programs of the aforementioned radio stations and the BBC. Striking contrasting elements were discovered in the morphological process of pluralisation. Through Contrastive Analysis Theory, this study has examined and analysed the morphological processes of English and Tiv. It has observed that differences exist in the pluralisation of both languages. The study has generated specified parameters for pluralisation in Tiv. The study concludes that any Tiv learner of English who attempts to transfer the process of pluralisation from Tiv to English would definitely end up with faulty grammatical constructions because of the disparate and complex nature of the synthetic process of the two languages. Therefore, Tiv English users should pay linguistic attention or interest at these points of contrast.
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Summary

Abstract
Linguistic studies have recognized certain procedures from which pluralisation in human languages are achieved. Applicable to the Tiv grammar are affixation, tonation, morpheme-transformation or replacives, morpheme deletion, vowel mutation, morpheme substitution, and others. Unlike English, Tiv nouns take the prefix morphemes ‘i’, ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’, ‘mba’ copular as well as the ‘ev’, ‘ov’ and ‘v’ suffixes to form plurals. Data for this research are obtained through oral interviews, library materials, and the intuitive knowledge of the researcher hence he is also a Tiv – English bilingual. Data were also obtained through keen observation of the speech by Tiv speakers especially those featured on Tiv programs on the Radio Benue 1 Makurdi and Ashi waves Katsina-Ala. These speeches in Tiv were compared with speeches in English programs of the aforementioned radio stations and the BBC. Striking contrasting elements were discovered in the morphological process of pluralisation. Through Contrastive Analysis Theory, this study has examined and analysed the morphological processes of English and Tiv. It has observed that differences exist in the pluralisation of both languages. The study has generated specified parameters for pluralisation in Tiv. The study concludes that any Tiv learner of English who attempts to transfer the process of pluralisation from Tiv to English would definitely end up with faulty grammatical constructions because of the disparate and complex nature of the synthetic process of the two languages. Therefore, Tiv English users should pay linguistic attention or interest at these points of contrast.

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Submitted: February 08, 2017

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Submitted: February 07, 2017

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Every language has its distinctive syntactic processes usually intended as a guide to the learning and usage of that language. A grammar of a language must contain a lexicon: the vocabulary of the language along with its other linguistic properties. Acquiring or learning a language, therefore, means learning how these properties apply to a particular language besides which combinatorial processes are appropriate for each parameter for that language. Language is a system of symbols designed for the purpose of communication with due adherence to its phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax, the violation of which mars rather than generates meaning.

Language, like human beings, is comprised of parts, known as structures. It begins from sounds, which are combined at the level of form to express meaning. The basic structure of language is phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. All languages possess these macro-linguistics levels, each of which plays important roles in language. Besides the parameters guiding the grammar of phonetics, phonology, and morphology of a language, proper sentence structure makes it possible to communicate without confusion and conform to community norms. The investigation of concrete linguistic data and analyses of language in line with its external form which involves isolating, classifying; besides segmenting the observed language data is emphasized. The desire to focus on structures or forms of words – number, case, tense, and the arrangement of words to facilitate construction of sentences descriptively and scientifically so as to evaluate the ‘grammar’ of nouns – nouns inflect and undergo the morphological processes of pluralisation.

 

Linguistics is the scientific study of language; and every language has its peculiar syntactic processes linguistically designed as a guide to the learning and usage of that language. A grammar of a language contains a lexicon – the vocabulary of the language along with its other linguistic properties. Acquiring or learning a language, therefore, means learning how these properties apply to a particular language besides which combinatorial processes are appropriate for each parameter for that language. In fact, Andrew Radford, Martin Atkinson, David Britain, Harald Clashen, and Andrew Spencer capture this better when they say that:

…a grammar of a language specifies how to combine words to form phrases and sentences, and it seems entirely appropriate to suggest that native speakers of English and of other languages have access to cognitive systems which … specify these possibilities for combination. (4)

The strength of Radford e tal ‘s argument is that a grammar generates a language because it provides rules that account for the syntax of that language and its speakers have mental systems that enable them generate infinite combinations. This aligns with V. J. Cook and Mark Newson’s postulation that “[a] set of phrase structure and transformational rules form a generative grammar, as they state precisely what the structures are in a language and how those structures may be transformed into other structures” (35).

Derivational and inflectional processes enable us to form words from other words, and the field of linguistics which examines the internal structures of words and processes of word formation is known as morphology. Many words in English and in Tiv can easily be split into smaller components, as in words like cutter, chopper, folder, painter, driver, drawer, reader, printer, parker, waiter, and writer.  These are all nouns related to the verbs cut, chop, fold, paint, drive, draw, read, print, park, wait, and write respectively. The same holds true of Tiv, as in words like‘ororen’, ‘mcie’, ‘mdugh’, ‘mhir’, ‘mhembe’, ‘organden’, ‘orngeren’, ‘mdoonom’, ‘idyuran’, and ‘ijungwen’, which are formed from the present continuous tenses ‘oren’, ‘cie’, ‘dugh’, ‘hir’, ‘hembe’, ‘ganden’, ‘ngeren’, ‘doon’, ‘duran’, and ‘zungwen’, respectively. These are originally derived and or inflected from the verbs  ‘oren’, ‘cia’, ‘due’, ‘hire’, ‘hemba’, ‘gande’, ‘nger’, ‘doo’, ‘dura’, and ‘zungwe’, respectively.

David Crystal opines that “the more we understand how it [grammar] works, the more we can monitor the meaning and effectiveness of the way we and others use language’’ (24).

This position shows how modern scientific study of languages attempt to explain what native speakers know intuitively about their languages. Part of the knowledge a native speaker has of his or her language is the ability to identify what is or is not, of his or her language (Orjime David Shim: 2). It is on the basis of this evidence that a native speaker of English will reject “singed’’ as the past tense form of ‘’sing’’, so would a native Tiv speaker reject a combination as ‘’spring’’ as a Tiv word. What advises the validity of this judgement is simply the grammatical rules of the phonological and morphological process of these languages. It is apt to posit that all languages have grammatical resources for the interaction between speaker and addressee. Again, the semantic category of giving information (statement), demanding information (question), and demanding services (commands), are unavoidable in the grammar of all languages. However, the organisation of these grammatical resources or properties for the realisation of meaning differs from one language to another. 

Plurals and pluralisation involve quite varying processes in different languages. In some languages, there might be no variation between the singular and the plural forms of nouns. However, this is, only in a few cases, applicable to languages such as English, Tiv, Kiswahili, Japanese, Igbo, and Turkish. The morphological processes of pluralisation in Tiv, in spite of their complexity, are scholarly intriguing and absorbing. These morphological processes are comprised of prefixation, suffixation, duplication, infixation besides replacives, morpheme additives, tonality and plural markings and morpheme deletion. Some of these processes exist in English, too; though largely viewed as regular and irregular with the plural forms of most nouns created by simply adding the morpheme or letter ‘s’ to the end of the word. A case in point can be seen in:

Singularplural

a. Kingkings

b. Pestlepestles

c. Batbats

d. Bagbags

e. Sacksacks

f. Waspwasps

Translated into Tiv, the above can be pluralised and represented thus:

Singularplural

a. Torator

b. Torityor

c. Nimaanema

d. Ikpaakpa

e.Ibyaaba

f. Ihyambeahambe

The singular and plural of the above words numbered a – f similarly pluralised in Tiv reveals the contrast in pluralisation between these languages. Unlike the addition of the plural marker “s” to the English words, the plurals above are realised from the change of initial phonemes. Indeed, Tartule Tija captures this contrast aptly thus:

When one listens to utterances in Tiv language with critical linguistic interest, particularly the aspects of pluralisation, what one observes which certainly strikes one’s curiosity is the linguistic variants that characterise the distinction from singular nouns or elements in the language. In Tiv language, pluralisation is shrouded in a great deal of complexity, unlike in other languages including English where the procedure for plural formation is less problematic and non-clumsy. (25)

Languages of the world are classified based on the significant properties they share. Ozo-mekuri Ndimele (73-74), Katamba F. (54), Freidin R., (65), Parker F., and Liley K. (76), Little D. (32), Culicover P., W. and Nowak A. (43), and Williams J. D. (27) observe that the search for the most fundamental properties shared by all languages of the world is the domain of language universals, and the study of the range of patterns within which languages may vary is the domain of language typology. Human languages, the world over, are structured into four categories. These, according to Ndimele (74), and Bloomfied, comprise “the agglutinative, polysynthetic, isolating, and inflecting or fusional” classifications (207). English, therefore, belongs to the agglutinating languages – languages in which words are built up by stringing different morphemes together, often into very lengthy sequences. In the categories into which all human languages are structured, “Tiv, therefore”, as Tija asserts, “is a fusional language and exhibits, not entirely, but some identical plural characteristics as English.

Through the exposition of the rich wealth of the Tiv and English languages, this study attempts to show the differences that exist between English and Tiv, in the aspect of pluralisation and to encourage Tiv native speakers learning English as their second language to pay more attention at the point of these differences because they may pose some learning difficulty.

1.2 The Tiv People

Tiv people are an ethno-linguistic or ethnic nation in West Africa. They constitute approximately 2.5% of Nigeria’s total population.  There are numerous submissions about the origin of Tiv people. According to Laura Bohannan and Paul Bohannan (9), Jibo Mvendaga (11), Downes, Roger (7), Abraham, Roye Clive (21),Akiga East Rupert (17), Alfred Akawe Torkula (2), (5). (3), (7), Godwin Yina (1), and Rubingh (58), the geographical position of Tiv is between 6” 3o’ and 8” 1o’ north latitude and 8” and 10” east longitude.

The Tiv share borders with the Chamba and Jukun of Taraba State in the northeast; with the Igede (Benue), Iyala, Gakem and Obudu of Cross River State in the southeast; and the Idoma of Benue State to the south. According to Armstrong, as quoted in Orjime (2), Tiv is a Benue-Congo language of the Niger Congo Family. Their language is also Tiv and their paramount ruler is the Tor Tiv. The Tiv people of Benue State whose population is about 6 million speak the language. They are in almost every part of the country, but mainly in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, and Plateau states, including Abuja – the Federal Capital Territory. As stated in ethnologue.com, the Tiv people from the middle-belt region of Nigeria can be found along Latitude 6 degrees 30 minutes to 8 degrees North and Longitude 8 degrees to 10 degrees east of the equator.

The Tiv people are said to have originated from South-central Africa, with over 20 generations recorded from Tiv himself to the present. Tiv is identified in some versions as the father of all Tiv people while in other versions; it is either Takuruku, Anyamazenga, Karagbe, Son, Gbe, Akem or Awange who is the founding father. Whoever the founding father was, the genealogy of the group is hinged on two of his children: Ichongo and Ipusu. While Ichongo (the elder of the two) begot Iharev, Gondo, Nongov, Masev, and Turan, Ipusu begot Shitile, Tongov, Ukum, and Kparev. There is uncertainty as to the position of Tongo, for while Makar (21) argues that he was begotten by Ipusu, Akiga (27) places him as a son to both Ipusu and Ichongo. What is a common fact is that all Tiv children today are descended from the same family tree (Tiv Genealogy).

 

 

1.3 The Tiv Language

“Tiv language”, as Orjime confirms, “has been committed into writing long time ago” (3). He quoted Rubingh Eugene (1969) as reporting that “[t]he first literature produced in Tiv was a small reader published in 1914 called “zua Tiv” (The Tiv Language) which was followed in 1916 by the Gospel of Mark” (3). While this might have been deliberately intended to emit the medium of religious instructions, it also did help as a medium of instruction in schools. As Orjime puts it, “[t]he Dutch first enacted the idea of developing and reducing Tiv into a written form” (3). This fact, as is evident, nearly all writers on Tiv language have, explicitly or implicitly, accepted it as truly a linguistic fact about the Tiv language. These include a long list as Shoja (1), Ikpa (4), Rubingh (93-95), Carl Kumn (7), Malherbe (21), Armstrong (6), Abraham (5), Downes, Roger Meaden (2), Iorwuese Hagher (11), Mvendaga Jibo (7), the list goes on. All these scholars submit that the Dutch adopted Tiv language; developed it and taught all other subjects in it. Orjime alluded to Gbor who confirmed that the missionaries adopted most of the English alphabet, except “q” and “x”, which are undeniably absent from Tiv language (3).Also influential to Tiv language is the contribution of Malherbe, which is well reported by Shoja thus:

The credit of the development of Tiv orthography however goes to Rev. W. A. Malherbe who developed a practical orthography in 1911. The current Tiv orthography has not been a radical departure from what Malherbe developed. … he developed … A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I,   J, K, L, M, N, O, o, P, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z.(1)

Regrettably however, the development of the language began to wane at the departure of the missionaries. Amongst other reasons, Orjime gives two reasons for the downward turnaround of the language. His words run thus:

…there was not enough literature in the language to help it grow from the mere spoken form to a written one. Another cause of this decline was that there were no locally trained linguists to continue with the good work started by the missionaries. As a result… the Tiv language now survives generally only in the spoken form. (3-4)

There is strength and weakness in Orjime’s postulation above; the former been that Tiv language actually suffered a similar ordeal of African languages- going into the abyss of death, and the latter been that many Tiv scholars have preserved the language from its spoken to its written form. This is informed by numerous books that are now available on Tiv literature by Tiv authors and even non-Tiv writers. While the numerous works acknowledged in this study might strengthen the validity of this argument, this is by no means implying that the language has gone past the stage of extinction, hence the need to continue research on the language.

1.4 The Tiv Culture

It is stating the obvious to say that culture is the way of life of a people. So, Tiv people also have their way of life, and they have some of the most unique cultures in Nigeria. Their traditions have been passed from one generation to another. Some of the unique aspects of Tiv culture are enshrined in marriage, dressing, music, dance, and food. Marriage in Tivland is rooted in the rich culture of the people.

Music and dance is one of the most fascinating cultures of the Tiv people. They have being able to skilfully advance a form of communication that blends music intricately with it. This communication promotes the use of various traditional musical instruments such as kakaki – an instrument which is used to pass important messages to the community. This message could be the crowning of a king, the birth of the king’s son, the marriage of the king’s son or during an attack by opposing community. Through the instrument, members of the community are told to gather at the village square. They also use Ilyu – an instrument made of light wooden material which is also used to gather elders for a meeting with the king. It is further used to announce the death of someone in the community.

The Tiv people also use Indyer – a special musical instrument made from mahogany trunk. It is used to announce festivals such as yam festival and the success of a bumper harvest year. Also worthy of note is the musical instrument known as Adiguve – which resembles the violin and is played to the admiration of all during festivals, death of an elder.

The Tiv have easily seems to have perfected the artistic art of weaving – a craft passed from generation to generation. As a result of the strong cultural identity it commands, Tiv people tend to favour their traditional attire. The anger – made of white and black strides woven together to make a beautifully ravishing design – is the most popular form of attire.

It is important to observe that the culture and tradition of the Tiv is still valid till now, though some parts of it have been made redundant over time due to modernisation besides the influence of Christianity.

1.5. The English Language in Nigeria

English language is viewed in stages or periods as Old English – known formally as Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, and Modern English. Old English is dated from AD 449 to 1066 or 1100, and Middle English dates from 1066 or 1100 to 1450 or 1500 (Ishtla Singh: 41-66). Modern English dates from about 1450 or 1500 and can be sub-divided into Early Modern English from about 1500 to 1660, and Late Modern English from about 1660 to present. While a lot can be said about these periods or stages of English language, the major thrust of this section is the English Language in Nigeria.

There are many factors that initiated and sustained the retention of English language in Nigeria, such as Christian Missionary evangelisation, conquest, and Europe 1750’s industrial revolution, abolition of Trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1883. The use of English language in Nigeria has a long history, dating as far back as the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century when the British merchants and Christian missionaries settled in the coastal town called Badagry, near Lagos in the present day South Western Nigeria, and Calabar – a town in the present day South Eastern Nigeria. According to Femi Akindele and Wale Adegbite:

The genesis of the use of English dated back to the early nineteenth century when freed slaves of Nigerian origin returned to Nigeria sequel to abolition of slave [sic] trade. Many of the freed slaves had received formal education from abroad. Those among them who had Christian orientation proved useful as translators and interpreters in Christian evangelisation during the early missionary periods. (57)

It is important to realise that the primary aim of the Christian missionaries was not to make their converts speak English; rather it was to make them literate enough to read the Bible in their indigenous languages. “Some indigenes”, as Akindele and Adegbite confirm, “were able to learn and use the language after which they became catechists and teachers in the mission schools” (57).

The British colonialists came and propelled the use of English language in Nigeria as the language of education, administration, trade and commerce, medium of social and inter-ethnic communication, and what have you. It is no longer surprising to say that English has become a Nigerian language. The language has become an invaluable legacy of the British colonialist which has provided Nigeria – a multicultural and multilingual nation-with yet another medium of expressing herself. It is apt to posit that English now occupies a pride of place in Nigeria – serving as national language and prestige language spoken by many Nigerians.

1.6. The Statement of the Problem

Just like the English language, the Tiv language has word classes, often called ‘parts of speech’. All the words that are used in Tiv are justified by specific grammatical functions. The noun (Ati), according to Shoja, is grouped into the following classes: proper nouns, common nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, and collective nouns; all of which are used in adherence to the grammatical rules of singular and plural composition. Tiv plural nouns, unlike the English’s regular and irregular formation, are formed in different ways with no specified parameter to determine what form the plural would be. And because Tiv language is tonal, as opposed to English, there are constraints in the Tiv learners of English phonotactic. They mostly violate the phonotactic and pluralisation rules of the language especially in articulating consonant clusters, assimilation, and vowel harmonisation – aspects of Tiv pluralisation. This is necessitated, largely, by mother tongue interference, complemented by the ignorance of the correct spellings of such words. For instance, the plural marker “-s” is pronounced as “-z” when the sound preceding it is a voiced consonant sound; however,  some Tiv English Teachers while teaching at Best Schools International, Gwarinpa, Abuja, realising the plural marker “-s” in such words as ‘bags’, ‘boys’, ‘films’, ‘crabs’, ‘curtains’, ‘mirrors’, ‘arrows’, as “-s” instead of “-z”. This is observed in many classroom situations largely because those words are pluralised in Tiv without affixing “-s” on them; as in – akpa (bags), mbayev (boys), ucinema (films), akambe (crabs), akondu (curtains),  jingi (mirrors), avaan (arrows). The consequence of such wrong pronunciations arises and poses problems of mutual understanding of their speeches when discussing with others. It is in response to the aforementioned calls that this study addresses the following research questions:

1.7. Research Questions

(i) What are the differences that exist in the pluralisation between English and Tiv?

(ii) What are the morphological processes for plural formation in both languages?

(iii) What are the intrinsic features that characterise plurals with zero affixes?

(iv) Are there peculiar processes of forming tonal inflectional plurals between Tiv and English?

 

 

1.8. Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to do a contrastive analysis of English and Tiv pluralisation and encourage learners of the L2 to pay more attention at the point of these differences (hence they are presumed to be the major causes of errors to the learners’ use of the L2) in order to attain both performance and competence in the use of the L2. The specific objectives of this study are:

(i) To examine the difference that exists in the pluralisation of English and Tiv

(ii) To assess the morphological processes that both languages use for plural formation

(iii) To look at the intrinsic features that characterise plurals with zero affixes

(iv) To establish if there are peculiar processes of forming tonal inflectional plurals between Tiv and English.

1.9. The Justification for the Study

All the languages of the world have nouns; and nouns have numbers, this is applicable to English and Tiv. These are the singular number - referring to one, as in ‘tor’ (king), ‘ibya’ (bag) ‘or’ (person), and the plural number, referring to more than one, as in ‘ator’, (kings), ‘aba’, (bags), ‘ior’, (people). These numbers (singular and plural) need necessarily to agree with the verbs that accompany them. The implication of this postulation is that singular nouns take singular verbs and plural nouns take plural verbs. The study devices a comprehensive scheme for analysis and verifications of the morpho-syntactic and morpho-phonological contrast of the Tiv language, with similar illustrations from the English grammatical system. It similarly sorts out the morphological processes of the Tiv language and the English Language as a vital step towards the standardisation of the grammar of both languages. It will help learners of the L2 overcome their learning difficulties and open up doors for further research on this aspect of the Tiv language.

According to Orjime (31-32) there has not been much work done on contrastive analysis of English and Tiv. “The only work known to the researcher [him] on contrastive analysis of English and Tiv is that by Nyiekura (1974) ...it looks at the ‘conditional sentences’ in the two languages”(31-32).  He adds that earlier works done on Tiv language were based on traditional prescriptive grammar. Such writers were Abraham R.C The principles of Tiv (1940), J Gbor (1986) Study of Tiv Language. “The surest way to propagate the culture of a people”, as David Ker asserts“, is through literature” (iv). It is essential to open and preserve research into this area of Tiv language using a medium which other researchers or scholars besides the latter generation would also be privileged to fall back on. As Isaac Yongo (xi), Ayangadue Tersoo and Zayol Terfa strongly confirm, it is easy for a language to be forgotten in this era of globalisation if it is not used in information technology.  Not only will this research feed this area of study into Information Communication Technology and attract further research, but will also add to the already existing works on both languages; especially as it concerns pedagogy.

1.10. The Scope of the Study

English shares with many languages the ability to create new words from old words through various means. There are dialectical differences in Tiv; and the same could be said about English. Hence, a whole contrastive study of both languages would be too broad to be scoped into this study. Therefore, this study limits itself to the assessment of Tiv language through a contrastive analysis of Tiv and English pluralisation, with particular emphasis on nouns, and verbs. It establishes the differences that exist in the plurals of English and Tiv and assesses the morphological processes that both languages share to determine the specified parameters for pluralisation.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1. Preamble

This chapter deals centrally with assessment of works relating to the topic under investigation. Through contrastive analysis theory, it reviews the various morphological processes of English and Tiv languages in relation to pluralisation.

2.2 Contrastive Linguistic Theory

This research concerns itself primarily with contrastive analysis of English and Tiv pluralisation. Therefore, for a full understanding of the study, the researcher chooses to discuss, in general contrastive analysis, its objectives, and evolution. The researcher however uses contrastive analysis and contrastive linguistics as synonymous terms. According to Theo Van et al, “contrastive linguistics [is a term] that is used as a synonym for contrastive analysis” (38)

Contrastive analysis is a “systematic comparis[on] of specific linguistic characteristics of two or more languages” (Theo Van et al)

Similarly, Shacter in (Orjime 9) defines contrastive linguistics as “the analysis of the similarities and differences between two or more languages”. Shacter argues, as cited by Orjime, that the basic difficulties of learning a new language are caused by the interference of the first language (L1) at all linguistic levels.

In a similar light, McArthur views contrastive linguistics as “… a branch of linguistics that describes similarities and differences among two or more languages at such levels as phonology, grammar, and semantics, especially in order to improve language teaching” (261).

Existing literature show that contrastive linguistics or contrastive analysis evolved from philology, specifically, comparative philology. According to McArthur (ed 242) comparative philology is “the branch of philology that deals with the relations between languages descended from a common original”. However, the aims of comparative philology differ from that of contrastive linguistics. According to Nickel in (Orjime 10) though comparative philology and contrastive linguistics compare languages with ‘utilitarian orientation’, the former compares languages so as to establish their “phylogenetic relationship” while the later compares languages with the aim to discover similarities and differences in order to improve language teaching.

The idea of comparing languages began as early as the 17th century. According to McArthur, ancient Greek writers underrated other languages, considering them as ‘barbaric’ and therefore wrote only about Greek without comparing it with the so-called ‘barbaric languages’. According to him, Roman writers were impressed with such an idea and then viewed Latin on equal status with Greek and began the comparison of the languages. Though Latin and Greek were mutually unintelligible, the comparativists were able to establish a similarity in vocabulary. By comparing these vocabularies they established that both languages descended from a common ancestor known as Indo-European.

In the 20th century, according to McArthur, linguistics weaken the interest in philology with the father of linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, describing it as a “pre-scientific”. Before the Second World War, interest in linguistics, particularly contrastive linguistics began to expand. It started in Central Europe and spread into North America. Robert Lado in the 1950s, in the words of McArthur (261) “proposed contrastive analysis as a means of identifying areas of difficulty for language learners”. He opined that identifying areas of difficulty, learners of language can manage the situation with suitable exercises. McArthur concludes that linguists involved in contrastive studies “consider that the study is still in its infancy and continued research is likely bear fruit”. This research is partly inspired by the comment above.

One of the objectives of contrastive analysis is aimed at “establishing linguistic universals and language-specific characteristics of language” (Theo Van et al 38). According to these linguists, such an approach is a development of what was known as the historical linguistic tradition. The tradition, according to them, began with William Jones comparison of Greek and Latin with Sanskrit, in which he discovered systematic similarities between the languages (38). As researches in this area evolved, and particularly, in the nineteenth century, more comparative linguistic studies appeared. They were, however, more concerned with how phonological units related and how the evolved.

The second objective of contrastive analysis, according to Theo Van et al is that languages differ (44). These linguists align linguistic differences to learning problems. A notable researcher in this area was Weinriech. In his published work, Languages in Contact he was interested in the language behaviour of bilinguals in bilingual communities that used two languages alternately. He therefore, discovered a phenomenon of interference in which he explained as follows:

  1. Those instances of deviation from the norms of

either language which occurs in the speech of

bilinguals as a result of their familiarity with more

than one language, i.e as a result of language contact. (44)

Based on the studies he carried out in language contact situation, he came out with an assumption that has been accepted for the explanation of second language learning. Weireinch assumed that:

  1. The greater the difference between the two systems, i.e the more

 numerous the mutually exclusive forms and patterns in each, the

 greater is the learning problems and the potential area of interference. (44)

In this research, the major concern is on the second objective of contrastive analysis as explained above. In other words, the research is more concerned at discovering differences between Tiv and English. Similarities would also be treated but with less emphasis.

The third objective of contrastive analysis according to Theo Van el ta is developing teaching materials. According to them, the most effective materials for the learner are those prepared, based on scientific description of the target language in comparison with the native language of the learner.

At the end of this research, it is hoped that these objectives will help learners, teachers and, planners of learning and teaching materials of second language learners achieve more fruitful results.

2.3. Conceptualisation of Grammar

Grammar is a set of rules governing the composition of sentences, clauses, phrases and words. Mark Newson opines that “...what we have in our heads is a (finite) set of rules which tell us how to recognise the infinite number of expressions that constitute the language that we speak” (4). He immediately adds that:

[w]e might refer to this set of rules [above] as a grammar, though there are some linguists who would like to separate the actual set of rules existing inside a speaker’s head from the linguist’s guess of what these rules are. To these linguists a grammar is a linguistic hypothesis (to use a more impressive term than ‘guess’) and what is inside the speaker’s head IS language, i.e. the object of study for linguistics. (4)

We can, from Newson’s postulation above, distinguish two notions of language from this perspective: the language which is internal to the mind, call it I-language, which consists of a finite system and is what linguists try to model with grammars; and the language which is external to the speaker, E-language, which is the infinite set of expressions defined by the I-language that linguists take data from when formulating their grammars.

The concept of grammar begins right from morpheme to words, then phrases, then clauses and finally sentences. To say that without a word or words, a sentence cannot be formed is to utter a truism, but the notion of word is so common a feature that almost everybody can say he or she knows what it is. In fact, an English dictionary, besides showing how a word is spelt, shows multiple other fundamental things about a word. It tells us what a word means. In fact, that is what a dictionary entry basically consists of: an association of a word, alphabetically listed, with a definition of what it means, and perhaps also some information about grammar (the word class or part of speech that the word belongs to) and its pronunciation. But even after we have known all the above information in relation to a word, and even mastered its phonetic transcription, how do we use it to construct grammatically sound sentences? How do words behave in their distribution in language: where can the words appear; where would they produce grammatical sense and the intended meaning or some kind of ill-formed or ungrammaticality?

In traditional grammar, words are the basic units of analysis. Grammarians classify words according to their parts of speech and identify and list the forms that words can show up in. Although the matter is really very complex, for the sake of simplicity we will begin with the assumption that we are all generally able to distinguish words from other linguistic units. It will be sufficient for our initial purposes if we assume that words are the main units used for entries in dictionaries. We will not describe some of their distinctive characteristics, hence that will tilt us away from the major preoccupation of this chapter. Be that as it may, it pays to remember that words are potentially complex units, composed of even more basic units, called morphemes. A morpheme is the smallest part of a word that has grammatical function or meaning, note that it is not the smallest unit of meaning; we will designate them in braces—{ }. For example, sawed, sawn, sawing, and saws can all be analyzed into the morphemes {saw} + {ed}, {n}, {ing}, and {s}, respectively. None of these last four can be further divided into meaningful units and each occurs in many other words, such as cooked, drawn, laughing, takes, speaks, packed, weaved, writing.

In common usage, a word refers to some kind of a linguistic unit, and words are combined into phrases, clauses, and sentences according to the syntax (the set of rules or principles that govern how words are put together to form phrases, well-formed sequences of words, see chapter two for details) of that language. How do words behave in their distribution in language: where can the words appear; where would they produce grammatical sense and the intended meaning or some kind of ill-formed or ungrammaticality? This question besides other numerous ones that relate to sentence is what this chapter is all about.

A sentence could be thought of as a group of relative words that expresses a complete grammatical thought or sense. In the words of Peter Matthews, a sentence is “...[u]sually conceived, explicitly or implicitly, as the largest unit of grammar, or the largest unit over which a rule of grammar can operate” (364). J D Murthy shares a similar experience when he defined a sentence as “...a group of words which makes complete sense” (234). It is obvious that many grammarians share relatively similar views on the concept of sentence. I particularly find Penelope Choy and Dorothy Goldbart Clark’s definition very appealing. According to them:

A sentence can be thought of as a statement describing an actor performing a particular action. For example, in the sentence “The dog ran,” the actor or person performing the action is the dog. What action did the dog perform? He ran. This actor-action can be found in most sentences (3-4).

We can infer from the submission above that a sentence contains certain indispensable parts, which must be learned. What Penelope and Clark call actor and action are simply subject and predicate, in simple terms. These concepts are vital as far as sentence construction is concerned. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the most important grammatical skill you can learn is how to identify subjects and predicates. If we consider how solving arithmetic problems necessitates that you know the multiplication tables, we will admit gladly that solving grammatical problems meticulously demands that you master how to identify subjects and verbs or predicates with perfect accuracy.  Closely related to each other, these are thematic and functional categories that serve as pegs upon which a sentence is hung. To understand the difference between thematic and functional categories we first need to introduce concepts to do with how the elements of a sentence can be related to each other. Take a simple sentence: Terfa chased Jacob. This sentence describes an event which can be described as ‘chasing’ involving two individuals, Terfa and Jacob, related in a particular way. Specifically, Terfa is the one doing the chasing and Jacob is the one getting chased. The verb describes the character of the event and the two nouns refer to the participants in it. A word which functions as the verb does here, we call a predicate and words which function as the nouns do are called subjects. Here are some other subjects and predicates:

(2) Jacob came

subject predicate

(3) Moses is kind

subject  predicate

In sentence (2) we have a ‘coming’ event referred to involving one person, Jacob, who was doing the coming, consequently, the subject of the sentence. In sentence (3) the predicate describes a state of affairs, that of ‘being kind’ and again there is one subject involved, Moses, of whom the state is said to hold.

2.4 Morpho-syntactic Features

Morpho-syntactic features are the class of linguistic features that govern the grammatical behaviour of morpho-syntactic units. It is a linguistic term used to refer to grammatical categories or properties for whose definition criteria of morphology and syntax both apply. Morpho-syntactic features are also called grammatical categories. For instance, the personal pronouns in English can be arranged in tables using the grammatical categories of person – 1st, 2nd, 3rd; number – singular verse plural; gender – masculine, feminine, neuter; and case – subjective, possessive, and objective. The inflectional categories used to group word-forms into paradigms cannot be chosen arbitrary – they must be categories that are relevant to stating the syntactic rules of the language. For instance, person and number are categories that can be used to define paradigms in English because English has grammatical agreement rules that require the verb in a sentence to appear in an inflectional form that matches the person and number of the subject. What this means, in simple terms, is that the syntactic rules of English care about the difference cat and cats because the choice between these two forms determines which form of the verb is to be used.

Morphosyntax is the part of morphology that covers the relationship between syntax and morphology; and it concerns itself with inflections and paradigms. A paradigm is the complete set of related word-forms associated with a given lexeme. The classical examples of paradigm are the conjugation of verbs and the declensions of nouns. Accordingly, the word-forms of a lexeme may be arranged conveniently into tables by classifying them according to shared inflectional categories such as tense, aspect, mood, number, gender or case.

According to Crystal, “… linguistics is the scientific way of studying language…” (27). This definition is echoed by Lyons and he feels “…is one that will be found in most textbooks…” (1), it points undeniably to language, which is defined in various ways. In fact, “[t]he definitions of language”, Lyons affirms, “are not difficult to find” (3). He quoted Block and Trager (1942:5) who defined language as “… a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group operates” (4). He also quoted Hall (1968: 158) who defined language as “the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols" (4).

Sapir feels “[l]anguage is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols” (8).  This definition of language by Sapir, Lyons feels, “suffers from several defect” (3). However he feels Chomsky’s definition of language “covers much else besides natural languages” (7). According to him (Chomsky), as quoted in Lyons, “…I will consider a language to be a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements” (7). These and other definitions of language point to one fact: language is a system of symbols designed for the purpose of communication with due adherence to its phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax, the violation of which mars rather than generates meaning.

Language, like human beings, is comprised of parts, known as structures. It begins from sounds, which are combined at the level of form to express meaning. The basic structure of language is phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. All languages possess these macro-linguistics levels, each of which plays important roles in language. The major thrust of this study, however, is morphology.

2.5. Plural

In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions such as "one", "two", or "three or more". In many languages including English and Tiv, the number categories are singular and plural. Some languages also have a dual number or other arrangements. The count distinctions typically, but not always, correspond to the actual count of the referents of the marked noun or pronoun. In any human language, “a plural”, as Matthews asserts, “is often a term in the category of number…” (307). It is a semantic feature of forms used in referring to more than one, or more than some small number of individuals or things. This aligns with Gabriel Ugande (32) and J.D Murthy’s position when he observed that “[a] noun which denotes one person or thing is known as singular number”(18).

According to Bradley, “[a] plural is the term used for noun, pronoun, determiner or verb when it refers to two or more people, things or group” (881). He further emphasises that “plural implies consisting of more than one person or thing or different kinds of people or things” (881).

According to Corbett, Greville:

Grammatical number is a morphological category characterized by the expression of quantity through inflection or agreement. As an example, consider the English sentences … “That apple on the table is fresh” and “Those two apples on the table are fresh”. The number of apples is marked on the noun—"apple" singular number (one item) vs. "apples" plural number (more than one item)—on the demonstrative, "that/those", and on the verb, "is/are". In the second sentence, all this information is redundant, since quantity is already indicated by the numeral "two". (47)

Greenberg, Joseph H (59), and Laycock, Henry (372) confirm that most languages with grammatical number, nouns, and sometimes other parts of speech, have two forms, the singular, for one instance of a concept, and the plural, for more than one instance. Usually, the singular is the unmarked form of a word, and the plural is obtained by inflecting the singular. This is the case in English: car/cars, box/boxes, man/men. There may be exceptional nouns whose plural is identical to the singular: one sheep/two sheep. Laycock particularly adds that “English is typical of most world languages, in distinguishing only between singular and plural number … (372-3)”, hence he feels:

The plural form of a noun is usually created by adding the suffix-(e)s. The pronouns have irregular plurals, as in "I" versus "we", perhaps because they are ancient and frequently used words. English verbs distinguish singular from plural number in the third person ("He goes" versus "They go"). (Laycock: 373)

Given that nearly all grammarians have, explicitly or implicitly, agreed with the assertions above, it can be correctly inferred here that the English concept of plural is not different from the meaning and understanding of plural in the Tiv language. It is in this similar line of reasoning that Tija, for instance, submitted thus:

…the nouns “ikon”, “ayough”, “ajir”, “ior”… and “iyov”are plural words or nouns in Tiv, which are gained from their singular forms such as “or”, “kon”, “iyough”, “iji”, “swam”. These are translated into English language as “trees”, “houses”, “eggs”, “people”, and … [yams]”, respectively. (26)

We can also include in this category such plural nouns as “ave” (hands), “ibua” (cows), “mtem” (pots), “awen” (stones), “isham” (seeds), “ingur” (feathers) which are derived from the singular nouns as “wegh” (hand), “bua” (cow), “ityegh” (pot), “iwen” (stone), “ishange” (seed), “ngur” (feather), “ahambe” (wasps), “acan” (spots), “akuhe” (bones), “akuva” (buttons), “akpe” (bottles), “ashe” (eyes), “asegh” (jars), “ivo” (goats), “mbaada” (bows), “atumbe” (huts), “atindi” (laws) respectively. What, however differs between these languages is the morphological processes of pluralisation.

2.6. Pluralisation

Pluralisation is the process of forming plurals in languages, in this study; the concept is related to English and Tiv. In his appraisal of Tiv pluralisation, Tija has this to say:

[Pluralisation] entails the various procedures which are inherent in the linguistic repertoire of Tiv native speaker that enables him to form quantitative nouns in the language. It is a process because, there are acceptable morphological conventions or rules in the language for plural formation which must be observed, maintained, and adhered to without violation. (26)

From the forgoing postulation therefore, to say that pluralisation is an outgrowth of morphological study in linguistics is simply stating the obvious, in this context, English and Tiv language precisely. Joan Bybee L opines that “[a] language has grammatical number when its nouns are subdivided into morphological classes according to the quantity they express; such that every noun belongs to a unique number class (nouns are partitioned into disjoint classes by number) (65). In addition to Bybee’s observation above, it is noticeable that noun modifiers (such as adjectives) and verbs may also have different forms for each number class and be inflected to match the number of the nouns to which they refer (number is an agreement category). This is partly the case in English: every noun is either singular or plural (a few forms, such as "fish", can be either, according to context), and at least some modifiers of nouns—namely the demonstratives, the personal pronouns, the articles, and verbs—are inflected to agree with the number of the nouns to which they refer: "this car" and "these cars" are correct, while "*this cars" or "*these car" are ungrammatical and, therefore, incorrect. However adjectives are not inflected and most verb forms do not distinguish between singular and plural. Only count nouns can be freely used in the singular and in the plural. Mass nouns, like "milk", "silverware", and "wisdom", are normally used in only the singular form. Many languages distinguish between count nouns and mass nouns.

Though not exactly a term relating to verbs, however, the subjects of sentences determine what verbs to be used- singular or plural. According to Ayo Bamgbose, “[v]erbs are very important in English structure because, without them, we cannot have sentences; and many facts about actions, feelings, time, attitudes etc. are expressed through verbs” (62). The rule of grammatical concord demands that a singular subject takes a singular verb and a plural subject takes a plural verb, as in: Moses sings as much as he dances, and Moses, James, and Jacob sing as much as they dance. The concept of plural also applies to pronouns – a word which refers to something already mentioned in a sentence. Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum assert that “[t]hey [pronouns] are used instead of nouns to prevent repetition of the noun to which they refer” (32). In fact, Radford et al feel that:

The commonest pronouns are the personal pronouns which can be … described in terms of number (singular/plural) and person (first person when the speaker is included, second person for the addressee when the speaker is excluded and third person in other cases …. Nouns such as Tom, or apples can also be regarded as third person forms (singular and plural respectively) because they can be replaced by the corresponding pronouns ‘he’ and ‘them’. (152-153)

Just like the pronouns must agree with the nouns they are replacing in English, the same holds true in Tiv, as in Ivungu la shi gba hinen ve, ngi a hinen je or fetyo uyaven ga “the owl is hooting, when it is hooting, nobody sleeps”, and Avungu la shi gba hinen ve, nga a hinen je or fetyo uyaven ga “the owls are hooting, when they are hooting, nobody sleeps”.

Morphology is a linguistic concept that entails the identification, analysis, and description of the structure of a given language’s morpheme and other linguistic units, such as root words, affixes, parts of speech, intonations and stresses. It is clear that in Tiv language, as is in English, if not all languages, words can be related to other words by rules that collectively describe the grammar of these languages. For instance, Tiv speakers and English speakers recognise that the words ikpa (bag) and akpa (bags) are closely related, differentiated only by the initial vowels-for Tiv, and the plurality morpheme “-s”- for English, bound, perhaps, only to nouns. Speakers of Tiv language- a fusional language, just like English, recognise these relations from their tacit knowledge of Tiv’s rules of word formation. They infer intuitively that akpa (bags) is the plural of ikpa (bag). Most of the issues involved in converting singular Tiv nouns, verbs, and pronouns to their appropriate plural forms, regardless of their admirable richness, are fraught with difficulties. Even constructing the simplest of sentences may require quite sophisticated semantic understanding to enable the correct syntax to be chosen. Again, even at the lexical level, it can be a complex matter to correctly reflect their number, person, case, and mood. For instance, the genitive case in Tiv often has an entire length of morphemic fusion based on numbers. The variants of the genitive include possessive morphemes. Six possessive morphemes which take many allomorphs -a, -u, -en, nu, ve, -ase, with noun possessive as in:

-a- -‘my’ as in yough yagh (yam my) ‘my yam’

-ou- – ‘your’ as in ikyegh yough (chicken your) ‘your chicken’

-en- - ‘your’ as in aba en (bags your) ‘your bags’

-na – ‘his/her’ as in takerada na (book his/her) ‘his/her book’

Ve– ‘their’as in igyo ve (pigs their) ‘their pigs’

Ase – ‘our’ as in aba ase (bags our) ‘our bags’

It can be observed thereof that attempts to generate more complex text raise tractable problems due to the diversity of forms available in Tiv. Hence the morphological rule at this level in Tiv is complex and demands the intuitive knowledge of the native speaker, which can guide in determining the selection of appropriate variants. And what informs the knowledge in determining the selection of appropriate variants is the various morphological processes of the language (s).

2.7. Morphology

Derived from Greek, the term morphology is composed of morph- meaning ‘shape’ or ‘form’, and –ology meaning ‘the study of something’.  According to Aronoff, M and Fudeman K, “[t]he term [morphology]  is used not only in linguistics but also in biology as the scientific study of forms and structure of animals and plants, and in geology as the study of formation and evolution of rocks and land forms” (3). Viewing morphology in the sense of linguistics, they define it as “… the scientific study of forms and structure of words in a language” (3-4).

Morphology is a linguistic concept that entails the identification, analysis, and description of the structure of a given language’s morpheme and other linguistic units. “Morphology”, Matthews confirms, “is the study of the grammatical structure of words and the categories realise by them” (252). As a sub-discipline of linguistics, the word was first named in 1859 by the German linguist August Schleicher who used morphology for the study of the form of words.

According to Ndimele, “[m]orphology is (a branch of linguistics which focuses on the study of how words are created or formed in human language” (2). Stressing the significance of words in human language, he cites Brown and Miller for upholding the relevance of morphology as “… a bridge between the syntax of a language and its morphology”, (161). This explicates our study, which centrally, is the morphological analysis of the Tiv and English word formation or pluralisation. Of similar relevance to this study is Lyons’ conception that “morphology is the study of words and the rules leading to their formation”, (19). He further proffers superior argument that morphological analysis enhances the observation and description of the grammatical constructions in a language, their forms and functions, phonological variants, their distributional constraints as well as mutual relationship within larger stretches of speech. Perhaps, Matthews demonstrated this well when he maintained that:

… a morphological analysis will divide [the word] girls into girl and –s, which realizes ‘plural’: singer into sing and –er, which marks it as a noun denoting an agent. A category is ‘morphological’ if it is realized within words.  Thus morphological case is case as realized by different elements within nouns or words of other classes, as opposed to case roles realized by independent words or word order… (252).

The implication of the above is that morphology deals with word forms in different uses and constructions. And this means that morphological processes include affixation (prefixation, infixation, and suffixation), reduplication, modification, suppletions, allormorphy, vowel change or replacives, and so on. The aforementioned relate to our study, which borders on the morphemic survey of the English and Tiv language in its contemporary usage, with specific focus on the procedures of plural formation particularly on nouns, verbs, and pronominalisation

 

 

2.8. Morpheme

Languages contain a phonological system that governs how symbols are used to form sequences known as morphemes or words, and a syntactic system that governs how morphemes and words are combined to form phrases and utterances. A morpheme is the smallest unit of grammatical structure. According to Lyons (1974:81) as quoted in Fromkin Victoria and Robert Rodman:

Morphology is simply the study of word forms in (English) language. It is concerned with the use of morphemes to form words. This entails that morphology is the linguistic investigation of the combination of morphemes. Morphemes on the other hand, are the ‘minimal units of grammatical analysis, the units of lowest rank out of which words, the units of next ‘higher’ rank are composed. (43)

It can be inferred from the above submission that, by morpheme, is implied the smallest indivisible meaningful unit of language. Derived from the Greek’s “morphe”, meaning “form”, the morpheme, as consented to by Akmajian et al. is “the basic parts of a complex word… the different building blocks that make it up…” (16). Fromkin and Rodman view morpheme as “the minimal linguistic sign, a grammatical unit in which there is an arbitrary union of a sound and a meaning which cannot be further analysed” (142). This idea of the morpheme expressed by Fromkin and Rodman heightens the assertion that every word, in every language, is a composition of one or more than one morpheme. This position is also consented to by Ndimele who refers to morphemes as “[t]he analysis of words into smaller meaningful units…” (51).

After identifying “morphs that make up the morphemes” (51), Ndimele maintains that:

Morphs are the actual morphological forms consisting of a sequence of zero, one or more discrete units, and which are used to realize a morpheme. In other words, a morph is a recurrent distinctive sound, sequences of sounds or no sound at all, used to represent the more abstract unit – morpheme …. All the morphs that represent one morpheme are referred to as its allomorphs. That is, allomorphs are variant forms of a morpheme. (51)

The implication of Ndimele’s submission above is that a morph is the exponent of a morpheme, relating to the morpheme as an abstraction, with a morpheme itself being its realization (e.g. these words toys, pots belts, books, films, bags, horses, being a morph in each are the allomorphic realization of the “s” morpheme in English, in contrast to Tiv). An allomorph is a family of morph and relates to the phonological aspects of grammatical analysis. The morpheme is classified into groups or types. These comprise the free, or root, or base morpheme, and the bound or inflectional morpheme. Bloomfield, one of the proponents of morphemic classification, observes that “as the most elemental unit of grammatical structure, morphemes are often categorised into two broad forms namely Free and Bound forms: and these combine into principal linguistic signs or meaning-carrying units” (218). The study has given more attention to the Free and Bound forms which are central determinants of number or plurals in the grammatical structure of the Tiv language. The free morpheme is independent in terms of meaning and form; hence it can stand on its own; while the bound morpheme cannot stand on its own as it is subordinate to the free morpheme. Bound morphemes are the affixes which are prefixes, infixes or suffixes.

2.9. Morphological Processes

Every language has its own way of word formation that generates meaningful grammatical expressions. This is a morphological process, which, John Goldsmith confirms, “… is a means of changing a stem to adjust its meaning to fit its syntactic and communicational context” (48). This aligns with Matthews’ position that:

Morphological process [is] any of the formal processes or operations by which the forms of words are derived from ‘stems or roots’. E.g. reran is derived from the root run by two morphological processes, one adding re- (- rerun), the other changing u to a (rerun – reran). (252).

Matthews further lists types of morphological processes such as “… affix; compound; modification; reduplication; subtraction, suppletion” (252). According to Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum:

…the chief processes of English word-formation by which the base may be modified are:

(1) AFFIXATION (a) adding a prefix to the base, with or without a change of word class (eg: author – co-author… )

(b) adding a suffix to the base, with or without a change of word-class (eg: drive – driver … ).(430)

Linguistic studies have recognized certain procedures from which pluralisation in human language are achieved. Applicable to the Tiv grammar are affixation, tonation, morpheme - transformation or replacives, morpheme deletion, vowel mutation, morpheme substitution and others. Unlike English, Tiv nouns take the prefix morphemes ‘i’, ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’, ‘mba’ copular as well as the ‘ev’, ‘ov’ and ‘v’ suffixes to form plurals. A few examples suffice below:

Singular Plural Prefix Plural Noun

or - person i i-or - persons

gbogh rod i-gbov - rods

naagh – offertory i-niav - offertory

wo - mountain i-wo - mountains

hir - talisman a a-hir – talisman (magic/magical act)

ibya – sack a-ba - sacks

ikpa – bag a-kpa - bags

bamber - piece a a-bamber- pieces

oo-oo - anthill u u-oo-oo - anthills

igyuve – eagle u-gyuve – eagles

ityendezwa – promiseu-tyendezwa - promises

zwar - reservoir u u-zwar - reservoirs

ada -bow mba mba-ada - bows

alum – orange mba-alum - oranges

alom – rabbit mba-alom – rabbits

ikyungugh - dove m-kungum

Again, in contrast to Tiv, the English plural morphemes are morphological and their phonological condition has three shapes: /s/, /z/, and /iz/, the realization of which is determined by the type of segmental phoneme preceding it; as in hats /hats/, bags /bagz/, and boxes /boksiz/ respectively. Apart from some instances of vowel change or zero morpheme which exist in both Tiv and English, the morphemes in the latter, unlike the former, take the plural form with the addition of –s - books, -es - mangoes, -ies - flies, -ves - knives, -en - women.

2.10. Theoretical Framework.

Much progress has been made in classifying the languages of the world into genetic families, each having descent from a particular precursor through tracing of such developments through research and time, resulting to comparative linguistics. Of equal essence is contrastive linguistics which plots the observable differences between languages. Language is systematic and dynamic tool for human communication and is widely held to be diverse in nature. It is apt to posit that modern contrastive linguistics intends to show in what ways how languages differ so as to help resolve teaching practical problems. Since the inception of contrastive linguistics by Robert Lado in the 1950’s it has often been linked to aspects of applied linguistics. This was made to avoid interference errors in foreign language learning as advocated by De Pietro in order to assist interlingual transfer of translating texts from one language into another as demonstrated by Vinay and Darbelnet (1958) and more recently by Hatim (1997). In line with this direction, therefore, contrastive descriptions can be evaluated at every level of linguistic structure: speech sounds, graphology – written symbols, morphology – word formation, lexicicology– word meaning, phraseology - collocation, syntax – sentence structure, and textocology – complete discourse.

According to Waya David:

Current linguistic and pedagogical theories have come up with two different approaches to errors. The earlier approach is contrastive analysis, which is based on the premise that languages are different and that because of these differences, the language learner will encounter difficulties. (1)

Waya further adds that “[t]he basic practice of contrastive analysis is to first write a description of language to be compared (description of phonology, morphology or syntax subtests, noth[sic]ing [noting] the differences and similarities)” (1).

“Contrastive analysis is traditionally defined as a method which helps the analyst to ascertain in which aspects … two languages are alike and in which they differ” (Filipovi: 13) The classical Second Language Acquisition studies of the late 1950s and 1970s have viewed Language Acquisition as an associative task that involves developing a set of linguistic habits. These earlier studies adopted a Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis. According to Wardhaugh Ronald:

The claim that the best language teaching materials are based on a contrast of the two competing linguistic systems has long been a popular one in language teaching. It exists in strong and weak versions, the strong one arising from evidence from the availability of some kind of metatheory of contrastive analysis and the weak from evidence from language interference. (2)

Wardhaugh further posits that “[t]he strong version of the hypothesis is untenable and even the weak version creates difficulties for the linguist” (2). As Flynn asserts, “[t]he major claim of this hypothesis is that L1 acquisition is rendered possible through reinforcement, association and generalisation” (7). Robert Lado also aligns with Flynn’s position when he confirms that the general assumption of Contrastive Analysis is that “[i]ndividuals tend to transfer the forms and meanings and the distribution of the forms and meanings of their native language…” (2)  in the acquisition of L2. The implication of Lado’s submission above is that the L2 learner’s work is to transfer linguistic patterns and habits from L1 to the L2. Perhaps, should the patterns to be learned is the same as the one already present in L1, then, there is simply a positive transfer of these linguistic habits. When, however, the two patterns do not match, there is bound to be a negative transfer of L1 linguistic habits, resulting in interference which the learner can overcome by learning the new linguistic pattern (Lado: 4). According to Mary Nguveren Ikima, “[m]any of the propositions of Contrastive Analysis were left unsupported and CA was proven to have failed to answer some crucial question[sic] on L2 acquisition” (106). She alluded to Sciarone, 1957, Larson-Freeman and Long 1991), for example, that “…studies exist which showed that differences between L1 and L2 do not always interfere with learning, and similarities do not always facilitate learning” (106). Contrastive Analysis is the study and comparison of two languages by examining the structural similarities and differences of the studied languages. The most central aims to contrastive analysis are to establish the inter-relationships of languages so as to create a linguistic family tree besides aiding second language acquisition. Lado, who’s Linguistic Across Culture ignited serious research into contrastive analysis feels that studies comparing and contrasting different languages have a role to play in language formation and history. The production of language family trees and genealogies are useful for explaining how different languages were formed and where they came from; besides it is used in connecting languages together. Charles Carpenter contends that “[t]he most efficient materials are those that are based upon a scientific description of the language to be learned, carefully compared with a parallel description of the native language of the learner” (9). And in the case of Tiv, Waya feels that:

It is commonly observed that the influence of Tiv morphology has much to do with errors often committed by learners of English. The argument stance from the fact that differences exists in the nature of morphological processes of the languages [English and Tiv]. In most cases, the over generalisation is noticed.(2)

 

The strength of Waya’s argument above is that studying the relationship between English and Tiv through contrastive analysis will help the learner or translator to choose the best vocabulary s/he needs in order to convey meaning. Besides, attempts of the Tiv people in learning the English language as a second language (L2) for effective communication occur with certain challenges and difficulties at different levels. The constraints and challenges range from phonotactic to syntax and semantics. This study, however, concentrates on Tiv pluralisation vis-à-vis or in contrast to English’s, thereby x-raying the complexities involved in the morphological processes of plural formation in Tiv language. Using Contrastive Analysis theory, the study compares and contrasts pluralisation between these languages and what effect such differences have on Tiv speakers learning English as their second language. The process aims to encourage such learners of the L2 to pay more attention at the point of these differences (hence they are presumed to be the major causes of errors to the learners’ use of the L2) in order to attain both performance and competence in the use of the L2.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Preamble

This chapter is about the methods the researcher used to achieve the findings of this research titled – A Contrastive Analysis of Pluralisation Processes in Tiv and English.

Researchers have argued that the difficulties in learning a second language are caused by the interference of the mother tongue which had already been internalized. According to such findings, linguistic elements that are found in the second language and the mother tongue will be easier for the learner of the second language while on the other hand, elements that are not found in the mother tongue but are present in the second language will pose more difficulty for the learner of the second learner. For example, the Tiv of Benue State will have more difficulty in articulating the ‘th’ phoneme because it is absent in the Tiv orthography while on the other hand, they will find it easy to pronounce ‘f’ because it is present in both orthographies.

It is therefore the emphasis of this research that teachers and planners of learning aids should pay more attention to these areas of difficulty in order to reduce problems of learning for learners of second language. This research is carried out among Tiv- English bilinguals learning English as their second language.

3.2 Sources of Data

Data for this research are obtained primarily through oral interviews, library materials, and the intuitive knowledge of the researcher hence he is also a Tiv –English bilingual. Data were also obtained through keen observation of the speech by Tiv speakers especially those featured on Tiv programs on the Radio Benue 1 Makurdi and Ashi waves Katsina-Ala. These speeches in Tiv were compared with speeches in English programs of the aforementioned radio stations and the BBC. Striking contrasting elements were discovered in the morphological process of pluralisation.

3.3 Method of Data Collection

Data collection in this research is through primary and secondary sources. Primary sources of data were interviews. The researcher interviewed selected elders of Tiv who are believed to have a good knowledge of Tiv language. The researcher pronounced words in Tiv and asked the elders to give the plural forms of such words. In the process, the researcher noted the plural markers. Data were also collected through radio programs. The researcher recorded programs on Radio Benue, Makurdi and Ashi waves, Katsina-Ala, those in Tiv and English, especially the news read in English and Tiv was a good means of making the comparison. Besides, while participating in the editorial Department in Best Schools International as the Editorial Consultant, The Quarry Magazine, the researcher realised that even though the plural marker “-s” is pronounced as “-z” when the sound preceding it is a voiced consonant sound; some Tiv English teachers while teaching at Best Schools International, Gwarinpa, Abuja, realising the plural marker “-s” in such words as ‘bags’, ‘boys’, ‘films’, ‘crabs’, ‘curtains’, ‘mirrors’, ‘arrows’, as “-s” instead of “-z”. This is observed in many classroom situations largely because those words are pluralised in Tiv without affixing “-s” on them; as in – akpa (bags), mbayev (boys), ucinema (films), akambe (crabs), akondu (curtains), jingi (mirrors), avaan (arrows). The consequence of such wrong pronunciations arises and poses problems of mutual understanding of their speeches when discussing with others.

The data collected through secondary sources was from textbooks in Tiv – J.T Orkar’s Seer Fan Zwa Tiv and English – Robert Lado’s Linguistics Across Cultures and others as well as journals and anthologies.

3.4 Method of Presentation

This study presents the data which will be used for analysis in chapter four under columns based on original word, pronunciation or tonal realisation, tonal inflection, zero affix, morphological transformation, inflectional formation by prefixation, inflectional formation by suffixation, morpheme additives and morpheme deletion. This is presented below:

Column A: Pronunciation or Tonal Realisation

Singular FormPlular Form

Tiv English Tiv English

Ivo goat ívógoats

Iyôsnake íyósnakes

Ikyeghchicken íkyéghchickens

Ishufish íshúfishes

Ikyulekecorn íkyúlékécorns

nagh sacrifice naghsacrifices

Iywadog íywádogs

Iyôngosheep íyôngósheep

Inyamanimal ínyámanimals

Column B: Tonal Inflection

Singular FormPrefix Plural Plural

gbough – rodi-gbyough – rods

kpagh – crimsoni-kpyav – crimsons

kpandegh – tax i-kpyandev – taxes

nyeregh – peg i-nyerev – pegs

nyaregh – refuse i-nyarev – refuse

hugh – foam i-hyugh – foams

angev – sickness i-angev – sicknesses

Column C: Morphological Transformation

Singular Plural Prefix Plural Noun

ikyamegh – block a-kam – blocks

ikyembegh – crump a-kembe – crumps

ilyeegh – part (of the body) a-legh – parts (of the body)

ikyôvogh – shoe a-kôv – shoes

ihyuugh – leave a-hu – leaves

ityamegh – seed a-tam – seeds

ityuulugh – okraa-tuul – okro

igyuve – eagle a-guve – eagles

igyundu – back a-gundu – backs

ihyan – rib (generic)a-han – ribs (generic)

ihyô – knife a-hô – knives

Column D: Inflectional Formation by Prefixation

Singular form Inflectional prefix Plural form

Tiv English “i” Tiv English

Angevillness i-angevillnesses

Haavroof i-haavroofs

Or person i-or persons

Kpengacontainer i-kpengacontainers

Ho tunnel i-hotunnels

Womountain i-wo Mountains

Column E: Plural Formation by Suffixation

Tiv English ‘v’ ‘ov’,‘ev’ Tiv English

Nomso=male nomsoov=males

yough  =yam i-yough=yams

Anngô =brother anngôôv=brothers

Won =in-law wonov =in-laws

Anngbyan =relation anngbyanevrelations

Column F: The Additive Plural Formation

Singular FormPlural Form

Tiv English “mba” Tiv English

Ifyam  frog mbaifyamfrogs

Mhenthought mbamhenthoughts

Aôndo deity mbaaôndodeities

Ada bowl mbaadabowls

Abeda wrappermbaabedawrappers

Anyam leopard mbaanyamleopards

 

 

3.5 Method of Data Analysis

Since the concern of this research is more about contrasting elements between Tiv and English in the aspect of pluralisation, each of the plural markers isidentified with a word carrying such an example. Such a word is then translated into English for non-Tiv to understand what it means. For example, ‘mba’ (plural marker) ada (word: singular) translated as ‘bow’. Mbaada (plural) translated as ‘bows’, Tor (king) Ator (kings); tor (pestle) ityor (pestles); nima (bat) anema (bats); ikpa (bag) akpa (bags); ibya (sack) aba (sacks); ihyambe (wasp) ahambe (wasps). Also, those words whose plurals remain the same but only realised through tone such as: ishu (fish) ishu (fishes) ivo (goat) ivo (goats) igyo (pig) igyo (pigs), are also taken care of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

4.1 Preamble

The major thrust of this chapter is a detailed presentation and contrastive analysis of English and Tiv pluralisation. The chapter will present the areas of contrast and similarities that exist between both languages in their aspects of pluralisation. It will deal with phonological and morphological conditions of morphemes, morpheme prefixation, plural formation, pluralisation by suffixation, the double ‘m’ formation and replacive nouns, the additive plural form, pluralisation by tonality.

4.2 Contrastive Analysis of Tiv and English pluralisation.

It is a universally known fact that language generally is rule governed. However, different languages are guided by different rules, the Tiv language inclusive. In this study, it is observable that, pluralisation in the Tiv language is a complex phenomenon. Thus, the devices which attend plural formation in the language are equally complicated and irregular. From the illustrations which are indicated later, conscious attempt is made at an analytical discussion of some of the rules of pluralisation in the English and Tiv grammatical system.

 

4.2.1 In the earlier discussion in this study, it is stated that most Tiv nouns take the prefix morphemes ‘i’, ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’, ‘mba’ copular as well as the ‘ev’, ‘ov’ and ‘v’ suffixes to form plurals. A few examples suffice below:

Singular Plural Prefix Plural Noun

gbough – walking stick ii-gbyough – walking stick

kpandegh – tax i i-kpyandev – taxes

yiav – produce i i-yiav – produce

angev – sickness ii-angev – sicknesses

haav – roof i i-hyaav – roofs

or – person i i-or – persons

yough – yam i i-yough – yams

yôugh – iron/metal ii-yôugh/myôm – irons/metals

wo - mountain i i-wyo - mountains

ivaan – arrow a a-vaan – arrows

gande – drum a a-gbande – drums

ahôm – fat a a-hôm – fats

itsam – hymn a a-tsam – hymns

wegh – hand a a-ve – hands

ikiva – button a a-kuva – buttons

ikpe – bottle a a-kpe – bottles

ishan – star a a-san – stars

hir - talisman   a a-hir - talisman

ihyo – knife a a-hô – knives

bamber - piece a a-bamber- pieces

oo-oo - anthill u u-oo-oo - anthills

zwar - reservoir u u-zwar - reservoirs

ada - bow mba mba-ada - bows

Plural Suffix

u

iyough- yam u iyough - yams

ov ev

won –  in-law ov wonov – in-laws

anngbyan -relation ev anngbyanev – relations

 

4.2.2 Also, to pluralise nouns in Tiv, such nouns must both be prefixed and suffixed by a corresponding morphemic element, and the prefix and suffix must as a rule, occur at the noun initial and final positions. This is briefly illustrated below:

Singular/Plural Prefix Plural Noun

‘u’ & ôv

ngô -mother ungôôv – mothers

4.2.3 To pluralise nouns with zero affix, the pitch level of the plural noun must be raised from low-low tone to high-high or high-high-low tone as the case may be. Below are examples:

Singular/Plural Prefix Plural Noun

i

ívó – goatívó – goats

ishú – fishíshú – fishes

ígyó – pig ígyó – pigs

íhyev – rat íhyev – rats

íkyegh – chicken íkyegh – chickens

ikyuleke – maize ikyuleke – maize

iyar – zebra iyar – zebras

ibyo – guiltibyo – guilt 

ikyer – goitre ikyer – goitres

iyôngo – sheepiíyôngó – sheep

 

4.2.4 Also, the phonological rule of Tiv necessitates nouns that take the ‘i’ prefix in their plural formation to insert the “y” semi-vowel glide after the initial consonant of the noun. An example is indicated thus: tar /tæ:(r)/- nation i& y-glide ityar /?t?&:(r)/ - nations. Further illustrations will suffice here below:

Singular Plural Prefix Plural Noun

gbough – rodi-gbyough – rods

kpagh – crimsoni-kpyav – crimsons

kpandegh – tax i-kpyandev – taxes

nyeregh – peg i-nyerev – pegs

nyaregh – refuse i-nyarev – refuse

hugh – foam i-hyugh – foams

angev – sickness i-angev – sicknesses

Also a noun with initial bilabial or alveolar stops (p, b, t, d) takes the prefix ‘i’ and an ‘y’ glide insertion for the plural thus. It is quite amusing but equally interesting to realise that the same procedure that permeates for plural formation stated above that the phonological rule of Tiv necessitates nouns that take the ‘i’ prefix in their plural formation to insert the “y” semi-vowel glide after the initial consonant of the noun also does nearly almost same to be singular. In this case, vowel sound // is affixed as a plural prefix thus:

Singular Plural Prefix Plural Noun

ikyamegh – block a-kam – blocks

ikyembegh – crump a-kembe – crumps

ilyeegh – part (of the body) a-legh – parts (of the body)

ikyôvogh – shoe a-kôv – shoes

ihyuugh – leave a-hu – leaves

ityamegh – seed a-tam – seeds

ityuulugh – okraa-tuul – okro

igyuve – eagle a-guve – eagles

igyundu – back a-gundu – backs

ihyan – rib (generic)a-han – ribs (generic)

ihyô – knife a-hô – knives

Linguistic studies have identified certain procedures from which pluralisation in human language are achieved. Applicable to the Tiv grammar are, as mentioned earlier, affixation, tonation, morpheme - transformation or replacives, morpheme deletion, vowel mutation, morpheme substitution and others. These are examined in detail in the succeeding sub-titles.

4.3 Column D: Inflectional Formations by Prefixation

It is important to state that the Tiv language, just like English language, is an inflectional language. And in most inflectional languages, bound morphemes are fused to other lexical stems or base morphemes to transform the singular state of words, especially nouns, into plural forms. Thus, the plural noun formation in Tiv, as earlier noted, is marked by noun inflection prefixes.

As a rule, the Tiv grammar employs these prefix morphemes: ‘i’, ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’ and others for its noun pluralisation, as illustrated below:

Singular form Inflectional prefix Plural form

Tiv English “i” Tiv English

Angevillness i-angevillnesses

Haavroof i-haavroofs

Or person i-or persons

Kpengacontainer i-kpengacontainers

Ho tunnel i-hotunnels

Womountain i-wo Mountains

A cursory observation of the demonstration above is a reflection of number formation, using the ‘inflectional prefix’ “i” to inflect the stem of nouns from singular to plural. This is in concordance with Fromkin and Rodman’s position that, “a word or morpheme undergoes change when its grammatical function… is changed” (335). This position is agreed upon by Tija (37) and Waya (5) who feel that Tiv language use inflectional prefixes fused with other lexical terms. Unlike English, Tiv nouns inflect it by prefixation of some additive element of the stem so that the singular mfe (wisdom) becomes the plural mbamfe (wisdom).

4.4 The Inflectional Prefix ‘i with ‘y’ Semi-vowel Infixation

It is significant to note that in Tiv, an ‘y’ inflectional element is inserted after the initial alphabet of the base morpheme to pluralise nouns. The following are examples:

Singular Form Inflectional Prefixes Plural Form

Tiv English ‘i’ and ‘y’ glide Tiv English

Tar nation i-tyarnations

Tom job i-tyomjobs

Kwaleaf ikyaleaves

Buacow i-byuacows

Kontree i-kyontrees

Takeda book i-tyakedabooks

Given the illustrations above, it is observable that the plural morph is not only prefixed to the stem, there is also an element, the palatal ‘y’ inserted within or in the medial positions of the base morphemes. This syntactic feature is necessary both for grammatical convenience and phonological correctness in the Tiv grammar. In other words, the syntactic change in the singular form also entails phonological change in the plural nouns. Whereas the singular is phonologically realized as /t/ and /r/, the plural is articulated /iti/, /r/, with half-long stress midway between long and short.

Though Tiv and English plural morphemes are morphologically and phonologically conditioned; however, the morphological condition of the phonological condition in English, besides being regular, takes three basic shapes: /s/, /z/, /iz/ allophones whose realisations or pronunciations are determined by the consonant preceding it – voiceless or voiced, as in the following:

/s/ /z//iz/

Books /bu:ks/films /fi:mz/horses /h siz/

Cats /k  ts/bags /b  gz/watches /wiz/

Pots /p  ts/dogs /d  gz/boxes /b  ksiz/

 

4.5 The ‘a’ and ‘u’ Prefixes Formation

In addition to the ‘i’ prefix morph, there is also the ‘a’ and ‘u’ prefixes which also constitute plural forming elements in the Tiv language as indicated in the following instances:

Singular Prefix Morph Plural Form

Tiv English Tiv English

Gbandedrum‘a’ a-gbandedrums

Bebajondobroken calabash a-bebajondo broken calabashes

bamber- piece a-bamberpieces

hir - talisman a-hir talismans

4.6 The Prefix ‘U’Formation

Tiv English ‘U’ Tiv English

Nunoo parasite u-nunoo=parasites

oo-ooanthill u-oo-oo=anthills

tyekuocean u-tyeku=oceans

zwarreservoireu-zwar   =reservoirs

tugudu woven clothe u-tugudu=woven clothes

4.7 Column E: Plural Formation by Suffixation

The next feature of the Tiv pluralisation worthy of consideration is suffixation. For this process, the noun inflectional suffix morphemes ‘ev’, ‘ov’, and ‘v’ are predominantly rampant and usually occur at the end of the root morpheme. Let us consider the following demonstrations:

Singular Suffix Morpheme Plural Form

Tiv English ‘v’ ‘ov’,‘ev’ Tiv English

Nomso=male nomsoov=males

yough  =yam i-yough=yams

Anngô =brother anngôôv=brothers

Won =in-law wonov =in-laws

Anngbyan =relation anngbyanevrelations

In Tiv phonology, the ‘v’, “ev” and “ov” suffix morphemes are realised with the tip of the upper teeth mildly touching the lower lip. Thus, a velar sound is produced as a result of this

“teeth-lip” contact, with stresses on the double vowels /eu:v/ in the masculine gender,

‘nomsoov’, and the non-masculine gender – ‘anngoov’, which are phonologically realised as

/nomseu:v/ and /& a?o:v/, respectively.

4.8 The Double ‘m’ Formation and Replacive Nouns

Another fascinating process of the Tiv pluralisaiton is the ‘m’ – morph formation. A notable significant constituent of this form is its double occurrence in any given context, both as a prefix and suffix. Contrary to that, the ‘m’ morpheme in the Tiv language is often used as a nasalized allomorphic variant of ‘i’ morpheme in the noun initial position as can be viewed below:

Singular ‘M’ Morpheme Plural Form

TivEnglish “m” Tiv English

Ityegh  --pot --mtem --pots

Ityôgh --pole --mtôm --poles

Icigh--drug -- mcimbim--drugs

Iyôgh--metal   --myôm --metals

Ityogh --head --mtom --heads

Ikyagh--container --mkam--containers

Notable about this process is some aspect of deletion. The ‘i’ and ‘gh” morphemes in the initial and final positions of the singular nouns are substituted by the prefix and suffix ‘m’ morphemes in the plural form. That is, the initial ‘i’ and ‘gh’ in the beginning and end of the stems disappear while the ‘te’, ‘tô’, ‘ka’ and ‘ci’ which are now replaced by the prefix and suffix ‘m’ are retained. Phonologically too, the base morphemes containing the diacritic symbol are articulated closely to the English glottal, while ‘o’ sounds are realised also close to the English

/eu/ diphthong.

For the replacive plural nouns, the following are classical examples:

Singular Plural Form

TivEnglish Tiv English

Weghhand avehands

Kwagh thing akaathings

Wan child ônovchildren

Icorraphiaatsorraphias

Tsatail ica tails

Zwamouth ijômouths

4.9 Column F: The Additive Plural Form

The additive morpheme formation can also be identified as an aspect of Tiv pluralisation.

Regarding the additive morpheme, the “mba” copula is the central process of consideration here.

The Tiv plural morpheme ‘mba’ can be likened to the English concept of collectivity, since it is the collective noun indicator. Elaborating on this morphological procedure from the English perspective, Tomori identifies two types of morphological formations (32). These comprise the “additive” and the “replacive” morpheme formations. Whereas the additive morpheme formation presupposes the appendage of the morpheme to an already existing root or stem, the replacive formation implies the complete syntactic change of the plural noun from the singular by the process of mutation. Some examples of ‘mba’ plural morphemes suffice below:

Singular ‘Mba’ Copular Morphs Plural Form

Tiv English “mba” Tiv English

Ifyam  frog mbaifyamfrogs

Mhenthought mbamhenthoughts

Aôndo deity mbaaôndodeities

Ada bowl mbaadabowls

Abeda wrappermbaabedawrappers

Anyam leopard mbaanyamleopards

An important characteristic of this feature is that, while the base morphemes which take the ‘mba’ plural are stressed when they begin with a vowel as in /mba:Ondo/, mba:beda/, etc, those which have initial consonants are unstressed.

4.10 Pluralisation by Tonality

This presentation will be quite incomplete without, lastly, looking at a very unique procedure of the Tiv plural noun formation known as tonation. The Tiv, like many African languages, is a “tone” language. Tone, therefore, is a unique characteristic of the pluralisation in Tiv. This process, by implication, means that, depending on the native speaker’s pitch, different sounds will imply different things, particularly for singular and plural nouns when the sound is uttered in a low or high pitch. In other words, there are many nouns in the language which have the same singular and plural forms, syntactically. For such forms, there is no distinction between the singular and plural in the written Tiv. However, in spoken manifestation, the plurals, some of which are listed below, can only be determined by tonal change.

Singular FormPlular Form

Tiv English Tiv English

Ivo goat ívógoats

Iyôsnake íyósnakes

Ikyeghchicken íkyéghchickens

Ishufish íshúfishes

Ikyulekecorn íkyúlékécorns

nagh sacrifice naghsacrifices

Iywadog íywádogs

Iyôngosheep íyôngósheep

Inyamanimal ínyámanimals

The demonstration above clearly shows that tonality in the Tiv plural system is quite unique, a fact emphatically consented to by Kpamor (1), Orjime (2), and Shoja (4). It is important to realize that this procedure affects mostly animal names, whose stems begin with the ‘i’ vowel and the nouns involved take zero affix except for the tone or pitch level. In the Tiv syntax, this category of nouns bear accent marks or pitch indicators to reflect tonal variation with corresponding semantic differences as indicated in the examples above.

4.11 English morphological processes

A critical look at the morphological processes of the English language reveals that if new words are not generated English language will be dead because there would be monotony in the language. This is also known as word-formation processes and is as important as morphology itself. This is because it is an attempt to generate new words in the language.

Morphological processes, otherwise known as word-formation processes, are processes through which words are formed from morphemes in the language. There are various ways of forming words in English language such as clipping, affixation, borrowing, blending and stress shift.

4.11.1 Clipping

Clipping or abbreviation, as a morphological process, is very productive; not only in the English language but also in many African languages. It involves some element of reduction in the length of a word. In the words of Adeniyi, “[c]lipping is a pseudo-lexical unit which results from the grapho-phonemic reduction of a word, which still shares the semantic and paradigmatic relationship with the full form of the word” (79). It can be inferred from Adeniyi’s submission above that clipping is a process of extracting a shortened form of a word from its longer morphological form. This aligns with Crystal’s postulation when he opined that “…clipping [is] a type of word formation in which new words are derived by shortening another word” (46). Some of the examples he gave include, ‘exam’ from examination, and ‘ad’ for advertisement. In English, for instance, ‘telephone’ becomes phone; ‘brassiere’ is bra. In all the observations above, it is clear that both the clipped form which it originates share both semantic and syntactic features. However, the two words are distinct lexical units with separate morphological identities. We can then form plurals from the examples of the clippings above thus:

Singular pluralclipped from

Phone phonestelephone/telephones

Advert advertsadvertisement/advertisements

Exam examsexamination/examinations

4.11.2 Affixation

In simple language, the term affixation can be referred to as a morphological process of attaching an affix to the root or base of a word. They are classified based on two criteria: the position in which the affix occurs relative to the location of the root of the word; and the function an affix performs when it is attached to the root of a word. Based on the above, we have prefix, infix, and, suffix, and here, prefix and suffix will be elucidated with illustrating examples. As noted in 4.3 morpheme prefixation plural formation in Tiv, in English too, words are formed through prefixes by attaching a morpheme to the root word as in the examples:

Prefix meaning exampleplural

Bihaving two or occurring twicebicyclebicycles

Archhighest in status or worsearchangelarchangels

Arch-enemyarch-enemies

Deto reverse an action deforestationdeforestations

Sub beneath subsoilsubsoil

Submarinesubmarines

In a similar development, most morphemes in English take the plural form with the addition of “-s”, that is a suffix, as in:

Singularplural

Teacherteachers

Playerplayers

Eagleteaglets

Socialistsocialists

Directordirectors

Capitalistcapitalists

Bookbooks

Eggeggs.

The above is a reflection of the regular forms, the irregular forms or mutated plurals are a bit complex hence their formation is dependent on the letter that ends a word such as o, ch, x, s, y, f or fe, us, um, ex, or ix, is, on, as in examples of such words as:

SingularPlural

witch witches

box boxes

gas gases

bus buses

kisskisses

4.11.3 Root and Derivational Morphemes

As noted earlier in this study, besides being bound or free, morphemes can also be classified as root, derivational, or inflectional. A root morpheme is the basic form to which other morphemes are attached. It provides the basic meaning of the word. The morpheme “call” is the root of ‘caller’. Derivational morphemes are added to forms to create separate words, case in point in the above where “er” is a derivational suffix whose addition turns the verb “call” into the noun “caller”, usually meaning the person or thing that performs the action denoted by the verb. For example, “paint+-er” creates painter, one of whose meanings is “someone who paints.” This morphological process of English can also make possible the formation of these plurals from those words: “caller” becomes “callers” in the plural and “painter” becomes “painters” in the plural respectively.

4.11.4 Inflectional Morphemes

Inflectional morphemes do not create separate words. They merely modify the word in which they occur in order to indicate grammatical properties such as plurality, as the “-s” of ‘magazines’ does, or past tense, as the “ed” of ‘controlled’ does. We can regard the root of a word as the morpheme left over when all the derivational and inflectional morphemes have been removed. For example, in ‘immovability, “im-“, “-abil”, and “-ity” are all derivational morphemes, and when we remove them we are left with “move”, which cannot be further divided into meaningful pieces, and so is the word’s root.

We may distinguish between a word’s root and the forms to which affixes are attached. In ‘moveable’, “-able” is attached to “move”, which is noted as the word’s root. However, “im-” is attached to ‘moveable’, not to “move”; grammatically, there is no word as “immove”, but ‘moveable’ is not a root. Expressions to which affixes are attached are called ‘bases’. While roots may be bases, bases are not always roots. It is on the basis of these evidence English nouns that end in a vowel + y take the letter “s” in pluralisation:

Singular Plural

boyboys

wayways

Nouns that end in a consonant + y drop the y and take ies:

baby babies

lorrylorries

partyparties

A lot of nouns that end in o take es in the plural:

Singular Plural

potato potatoes

hero heroes

echoechoes

embargoembargoes

potato potatoes

tomatotomatoes

torpedo torpedoes

veto vetoes

It is worthy of note to observe that some nouns ending in “o” break the above rule and get “os” in the plural form, as demonstrated below:

Singular Plural

Auto autos

Kangarookangaroos

Memomemos

Photophoto

Kilokilos

Pianopianos

Videovideos

Studiostudios

Tattootattoos

As observed above, that some nouns ending in “o” break the above rule and get “os” in the plural form, still, some nouns ending in “o” get either “os” or “oes” in the plural forms, as in the these examples:

SingularPlural

Mottomottoes

Cargocargoes

Mosquitomosquitoes

Tornadotornadoes

Zerozeroes

The morphological process of pluralisation of some English nouns that end in “f“ or “fe” usually change the “f” sound to a “v” sound and add “–s” or “–es”, as shown thus:

knife = knives

 leaf = leaves

hoof = hooves

life = lives

self = selves

4.11.5 Vowel Change 

As noted earlier about pluralising certain Tiv nouns through morpheme substitution, the same procedure is applicable to forming some English plurals. This is done through vowel change. Some words do not take an “s” to form their plural; they only go through infixation. That is, they experience vowel change. Besides being irregular plurals, they are also called mutation or mutated plurals, hence certain phonemes are deleted and replaced with others as the formation of the plural demands. The following examples are proofs of this:

Singularplural

Manmen / men /

Footfeet / fi:t /

Toothteeth / ti:? /

Mousemice /mais/

Goosegeese /gi:s/

Child children / t??ldren /

Ox oxen / ?ksn /

4.11.6 Zero or No Vowel Change

As stated elsewhere earlier about Tiv pluralisation that to pluralise nouns with zero affix, the pitch level of the plural noun must be raised from low-low tone to high-high or high-high-low tone as the case may be. In English, too, there are several nouns that have irregular plural forms and plurals formed in this way are sometimes called irregular plurals. However, unlike Tiv, in English the pronunciation still remains the same, as in the following:

Singular Plural

Fish fish

Deerdeer

Sheepsheep

Barracksbarracks

The feature of pluralisation known as suffixation considered earlier in this study about Tiv, seems to correlate with English. For this process, as stated about Tiv, the noun inflectional suffix morphemes ‘ev’, ‘ov’, and ‘v’ are predominantly rampant and usually occur at the end of the root morpheme. In English, nouns ending in “um” undergo the morphological process that take “a”, “i” or “s” to form their plural. We can demonstrate this in Tiv and in English thus:

Tiv English ‘v’ ‘ov’,‘ev’ Tiv English  singular plural

Nomso=male nomsoov=malesstratumstrata

Iyoo=yam i-yov=yamssymposiumsymposia/symposiums

Anngô =brother anngôôv= brothersaddendumaddenda

Won =in-law wonov =in-lawsmediummedia

Anngbyan =relation anngbyanevrelations ovumova

In a similar development, English nouns ending in “ex” or “ix” undergo the morphological process that take “ices” or “s” to form plural,; as demonstrated below:

Singular Plural

Matrix matrices/matrixes

Apexapices/apexes

indexindices/indexes

appendixappendices/appendixes

cervixcervices/cervixes

It has earlier been established that there is process of pluralisation known as deletion. In Tiv, the ‘i’ and ‘gh” morphemes in the initial and final positions of the singular nouns are substituted by the prefix and suffix ‘m’ morphemes in the plural form. That is, the initial ‘i’ and ‘gh’ in the beginning and end of the stems disappear while the ‘te’, ‘tô’, ‘ka’ and ‘ci’ which are now replaced by the prefix and suffix ‘m’ are retained. In English, however, the morpheme deletion and insertion occurs where nouns ending in “is” becoming “es” to undergo the morphological pluralisation, as in the following:

Singular Plural

Thesistheses

Synopsissynopses

Diagnosisdiagnoses

Neurosisneuroses

Hypothesishypotheses

Crisiscrises

Parenthesisparentheses

Basisbases

Analysisanalyses

Axisaxes

4.11 Discussion of Findings

From the presentation of the data above, one can easily understand that there are many ways of plural formation of nouns in Tiv. These include pluralisation by prefixation, suffixation, replacive nouns, the additive and pluralisation by tonality.

 Under subsection 4.2.1, plural formations of words by prefixation are presented. For example, wo – mountain takes the plural prefix of ‘i’ to become ‘iwo’ and ‘bamber’ takes the prefix ‘a’ to become ‘abamber’. There are many ways of forming plurals of such formations as presented in the work.

It can be observed in Tiv unlike English that one of the major ways of making plural of nouns is through prefixation. A major contrast between Tiv and English is the formal’s predominant reliance on prefix inflections to make plurals of nouns while English is its predominant reliance on suffix inflection to make plural of nouns.  Most nouns in English are regular nouns and the common way of making their plurals is an addition of a suffix inflection. For example, ‘table’ (singular) becomes ‘tables’ (plural)

Any Tiv learner of English who attempts to transfer the process of pluralisation from Tiv to English would definitely end up with faulty grammatical constructions because of the disparate and complex nature of the synthetic process of the two languages

The chapter also presents pluralisation by suffixation. In this category, nouns take their plural forms by adding a suffix to the base form of the word. For example, as presented above, ‘won’ – in-law takes the suffix ‘ov’ to become ‘wonov’. Similarly, ‘angbyan’ – relation, takes the suffix ‘ev’ to become ‘angbyanev’

4.12 Implications for Tiv Speakers of English

From the discussion and findings presented above, it is obvious that differences exist in morphological processes of pluralisation in English and Tiv, hence the need to pay attention at these points of contrast. The implication, therefore, is that Tiv users and learners of English erroneously transfer the process of pluralisation from Tiv to English and end up with faulty grammatical constructions. This is so because of the disparate and complex nature of the synthetic process of the two languages. In a classroom situation, the implication of grammatical and pronunciation errors will manifest in the students’ blemishes in their use of English, consequently effecting competence and performance. When one spends time and examines, linguistically, the way some Tiv English teachers communicate in English, one quickly realises that they realise phonotactic and pluralisation of English words differently. They mostly violate the phonotactic and pluralisation rules of the language especially in articulating consonant clusters, assimilation, and vowel harmonisation- aspects of Tiv pluralisation. This is necessitated, largely, by mother tongue interference, complemented by the ignorance of the correct spellings of such words. For instance, the plural marker “-s” is pronounced as “-z” when the sound preceding it is a voiced consonant sound; however, Some Tiv English Teachers realise the plural marker “-s” in such words as bags, boys, films, crabs, curtains, mirrors, arrows, as “-s” instead of “-z”. This is observed in many classroom situations largely because those words are pluralised in Tiv without affixing “-s” on them; as in – akpa (bags), mbayev (boys), ucinema (films), akambe (crabs), akondu (curtains), jingi (mirrors), avaan (arrows). The consequence of such wrong pronunciations arises and poses problems of mutual understanding of their speeches when teaching students, and when discussing with others. Indeed, pupils and students tend to copy their teachers almost in everything the latter have done, even the errors they are wont to commit. In exam situations, the students will be judged and assessed based on their standard use of the English language, not by the teachers’ teaching results.

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

5.1 Preamble

This chapter aims at first summarising all that has been said. It also attempts to recast briskly on pluralisation in English and Tiv through the lenses of Contrastive Analysis theory. It will then sum up and conclude so as to enrich the entire business of the analysis of the morphological processes in plural formation of both English and Tiv.

5.2 Summary

Languages differ somewhat in precisely which grammatical and lexical distinctions are made – English and Tiv language inclusive. The grammatical category of number can be marked at a variety of points — on nouns, pronouns, articles, and demonstratives, on adjectives, and on verbs. As can be seen from the previous chapters in this study, the Tiv plural markers have principal formations, like the English, the Tiv has phonological and morphological conditions of the morphemes. However, where the English phonological conditions are said to be regular, the Tiv phonological conditions are realised by variation of tone and pronunciation of the nouns probably in raising tone to make them plurals, the singular form is usually in medial tone while the rising tone is for plural as illustrated thus: ishu (fish) ishu (fishes) ivo (goat) ivo (goats) igo (pig) igo (pigs).

As stated elsewhere in this study, derivational and inflectional processes enable us to form words from other words, and the field of linguistics which examines the internal structures of words and processes of word formation is known as morphology. Many words in English and in Tiv can easily be split into smaller components, as in words like cutter, chopper, folder, painter, driver, drawer, reader, printer, parker, waiter, and writer.  These are all nouns related to the verbs cut, chop, fold, paint, drive, draw, read, print, park, wait, and write respectively. The same holds true of Tiv, as in words like‘ororen’, ‘mcie’, ‘mdugh’, ‘mhir’, ‘mhembe’, ‘organden’, ‘orngeren’, ‘mdoonom’, ‘idyuran’, and ‘ijungwen’, which are formed from the present continuous tenses ‘oren’, ‘cie’, ‘dugh’, ‘hir’, ‘hembe’, ‘ganden’, ‘ngeren’, ‘doon’, ‘duran’, and ‘zungwen’, respectively. These are originally derived and or inflected from the verbs  ‘oren’, ‘cia’, ‘due’, ‘hire’, ‘hemba’, ‘gande’, ‘nger’, ‘doo’, ‘dura’, and ‘zungwe’, respectively.

Plurals and pluralisation involve quite varying processes in different languages. The morphological processes of pluralisation in Tiv, in spite of their complexity, are linguistically interesting. These morphological processes are comprised of prefixation, suffixation, duplication, infixation besides replacives, morpheme additives, tonality and plural markings and morpheme deletion. Some of these processes exist in English, too; though largely viewed as regular and irregular with the plural forms of most nouns created by simply adding the morpheme or letter ‘s’ to the end of the word. A case in point can be seen in:  Tor (king) Ator (kings); tor (pestle) ityor (pestles); nima (bat) anema (bats); ikpa (bag) akpa (bags); ibya (sack) aba (sacks); ihyambe (wasp) ahambe (wasps).

The singular and plural of the above words in English similarly pluralised in Tiv reveals the contrast in pluralisation between these languages. Unlike the addition of the plural marker “s” to the English words, the plurals above (in Tiv) are realised from the change of initial phonemes.

Human languages, the world over, are structured into four categories. These comprise the agglutinative, polysynthetic, isolating, and inflecting or fusional classifications. English, therefore, belongs to the agglutinating languages- languages in which words are built up by stringing different morphemes together, often into very lengthy sequences. In the categories into which all human languages are structured, Tiv is a fusional language and exhibits, not entirely, but some identical plural characteristics as English.

Pluralisation, it has earlier been established, is the process of forming plurals in languages, in this study; the concept is in English and Tiv.

From the forgoing postulation therefore, it is stating the obvious to say that pluralisation is an outgrowth of morphological study in linguistics, in this context, English and Tiv language precisely.

The idea of comparing languages began as early as the 17th century. According this study, Robert Lado proposed contrastive analysis as a means of identifying areas of difficulty for language learners. He opined that identifying areas of difficulty, learners of language can manage the situation with suitable exercises.

It is against the backdrop of the above that this study, as earlier noted, has used contrastive analysis as the theoretical framework.

One of the objectives of contrastive analysis is aimed at establishing linguistic universals and language-specific characteristics of language. The second objective of contrastive analysis is that languages differ. As this study had noted, Weireinch assumed that: “[t]he greater the difference between the two systems, i.e the more numerous the mutually exclusive forms and patterns in each, the greater are the learning problems and the potential area of interference” (44).

This research tilted majorly on the second objective of contrastive analysis as explained above. In other words, the research had been more concerned at discovering differences between Tiv and English pluralisation. Similarities have also been treated but with less emphasis.

At the end of this research, it is hoped that these objectives so analysed have helped learners, teachers and planners of learning and teaching materials of second language learners achieve more fruitful results.

As can be inferred from the previous chapters, the morphological condition of Tiv pluralisation in certain instances is often formed by such morphs as (u-, i, m-, a-,mba-,) The principal variant is “mba” and the other four variants which may seem to be regular formation because of their ability to occur at the prefix to form most of the plural morphemes in Tiv. The classical examples for “mba-” are: anyam (Tiger) mbaanyam (Tigers); jondugh (calabash) mzondum (calabashes); ter (father) uter (fathers); ichan (suffering) atsan (sufferings). There are often forms of morphological conditioned, the markers usually take different shapes in the description of morpheme. For examples, the change of shapes: wan (son) onov (sons) or offspring; morpheme with only plural form: ishwa (beniseed)  ishwa (beniseed); addition of ‘v’ at suffix, the deletion of ‘w’ Kwase (woman) kasev (women); attachment of plural only at the suffix: ankuhe (bone) ankuhem (little bones). There are terms of genitive case which is often an entire length of morphemic fusion. The morphological condition, indicate [mba] as the first group with its variant m-,i-,a- and u – as allomorphs of the same plural morpheme. They normally occur as the prefix to make the word plural.

In the earlier discussion in this study, it has been observed that most Tiv nouns take the prefix morphemes ‘i’, ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’, ‘mba’ copular as well as the ‘ev’, ‘ov’ and ‘v’ suffixes to form plurals. A few examples suffice thus: gbough – (rod or walking stick) i-gbough – (rods or walking sticks); or – (person) i-or – (persons); yov – (iron/metal) i-yôv/myom – (irons/metals); wo – (mountain) i-wo – (mountains); ivan – (arrow) a-van – (arrows); bamber – (piece) a-bamber- (pieces); oo-oo – (anthill) u-oo-oo – (anthills); zwar – (reservoir) u-zwar – (reservoirs); ada –(bow) mba-ada – (bows) iyou- (yam) u iyou – (yams); won –  (in-law) wonov – (in-laws); anngbyan –(relation) anngbyanev – (relations).

Through the study, it is established that unlike Tiv, the English plural morpheme –s” can be expressed by three different but clearly related phonemic forms /iz/, /z/, and /s/. These three have in common not only their meaning, but also the fact that each contains an alveolar fricative phoneme, either /s/ or /z/. The three forms are in complementary distribution, because each occurs where the others cannot, and it is possible to predict just where each occurs: /iz/ after sibilants (/s/, /z/, /z/ after voiced segments, and /s/ everywhere else. Given the semantic and phonological similarities between the three forms and the fact that they are in complementary distribution, the study revealed that it is reasonable to view them as contextual pronunciation variants of a single entity. In parallel with phonology, we earlier referred to the entity of which the three are variant representations as a morpheme, and the variant forms of a given morpheme as its allomorphs.

From the foregoing assessments therefore, it is apt to conclude that both Tiv and English have inflectional morphemes linguistically formed at prefix and suffix levels, though each language uses its distinctive ways for the above. Again, both languages have regular and irregular plural formations and other such morphological processes as morpheme deletion, morpheme additives, infixation, replacives and so on.

5.3 Conclusion

The study demonstrated the morphology of Tiv language, with emphasis on how it fashions the speech and particularly the structure/form of words or morphemes. The contrastive analysis of English and Tiv plural formation processes or pluralisation, showed a selective effect of it upon the pattern of grammar which bears some impact on the semantics of both languages. The attempts of the Tiv people in learning the English language as a second language (L2) for effective communication occur with certain challenges and difficulties at different levels as the study has revealed. These challenges range from phonotactic to syntax and semantics. Hence the research has established the contrast in pluralisation between these languages and what effect such differences have on Tiv speakers learning English as their second language. Through Contrastive Analysis theory, English and Tiv pluralisation has been discussed and Tiv English speakers and learners have been encouraged of the L2 to pay more attention at the point of these differences (hence they are presumed to be the major causes of errors to the learners’ use of the L2) in order to attain both performance and competence in the use of the L2. Besides, it is hoped that the differences and similarities so analysed can help a language teacher/learner at relevant quarters in predicting possible errors in second language learning and provide solution to certain word structure problem in language teaching or pedagogy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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