A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF CLEFT FORMATION IN THE SYNTAX OF NSUKKA AND STANDARD IGBO

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ABSTRACT

This research work is a linguistic endeavour aimed at exploring the grammatical components and structures of cleft sentences of the standard Igbo language in general on the one hand. On the other hand and forming the specific objective, is relating cleft formations and cleft structures of the Nsukka dialect with those of the standard Igbo. Consequently, the work unprecedented formulated, analyzed, compared and contrasted the cleft structures of the language and dialect under study. The study was guide by the theory of transformational grammar.

The findings from the study show that cleft formation in standard Igbo language and in Nsukka dialect is a focussing mechanism on a particular constituent of a sentence. The focussing emphasises the constituent element through the operation of the S  NP INFL VP rule, a concept of transformational grammar. In both the language and dialect under study, cleft structures have special elements that introduce the focussed constituents. The focussing indicator may be nominal, adjectival, adverbial or prepositional; and clefting is possible in all the kinds of sentences. However, the clefting heads are not present in some cases in the Nsukka dialect. In other cases where the clefting heads occur they occur next to the constituent of focuses and not before the constituents like in the standard Igbo. Conclusively, the clefts in syntax and meanings of sentences of the Nsukka dialect compares tremendously with that of the standard Igbo.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.0       Background to the Study
1.1.      Statement of the Problem
1.2       Purpose of the Study
1.3       Research Question
1.4       Scope of the Study
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Limitation of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0       Introduction
2.1       Sentences
2.1.1    Syntax
2.2       Theoretical Studies
2.2.1 Movement Transformation
2.2.2 Adjunction Transformation
2.2.3 Substitution Transformation
2.3       Cleft in Syntax
2.3.1    Relative Clause in Cleft Sentence
2.3.1.1 Question – Element as Prepositional Complement
            within Noun Phrase (in formal English)
2.3.1.2 Question-Element as Nominal Object
2.3.2    Types of Cleft Sentence
2.3.2.1 Pseudo- Cleft Sentence
2.3.2.2  Focus/ Post –Focus Cleft Sentence
2.3.2.3  All Focus Cleft Sentence
2.3.2.4  Broad Focus Cleft Sentence
2.3.3    Cleft in Other Languages: French, Italian Japanese, Chinese etc
2.4       Structural Differences in Clause-Cleft Relatives
2.5       Empirical Studies
2.6       Summary of Review

CHAPTER THREE: DATA ANALYSIS
3.0       Introduction
3.1       Cleft Formation in Standard Igbo
3.1.1    Pseudo Cleft in Standard Igbo
3.1.2    All Focus Cleft in Standard Igbo
3.1.3    Post Focus Cleft in Standard Igbo
3.1.4    Broad Focus Cleft in Standard Igbo
3.2       Cleft Formation in Nsukka Dialect
3.2.1    Pseudo-Cleft in Nukka Dialect
3.2.2    Post Focus Cleft in Nsukka Dialect
3.2.3    All Focus Cleft in Nsukka Dailect
3.2.4    Broad Focus Cleft in Nsukka Dialect

CHAPTER FOUR: SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION
4.0 Introduction
4.1. Conclusions
4.2 Recommendations for Further Research
References


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0          Background to the Study

Man’s anthropological description as a homo faber and a homo loquens contradistinguish human from other animals and under which they are biologically classified. Homo faber describes man’s capability to make and use tools and other objects while his cultural linguistic attribute defines him as a homo loquens.
This latter attribute of man’s means that he is a user of human language: a system of sound symbol used to intelligibly communicate his thoughts, ideas, feelings and desires through speech or writing. To Strickland (1957), language is a body of sounds and meaning held in common by the members of a linguistic group. The expressions of a language involve a relationship between a sequence of sounds and a meaning where sound covers phonology, morphology and syntax, (Lamb publication). In other words, the evolution, propagation and use of a language consist in putting meaningful elements or letters of the alphabet together to form words; putting words together to form phrases; phrases together to form clauses,; clauses together to form sentences and putting sentences together to form texts; Robert (1997) . It is an instrument for interactive communication among people.

Each language--has word groups which classify its grammatical constituents. These groups are incomprehensively and popularly called the eight parts of speech, or, in technical term, grammatical or lexical categories. They are seven in number excluding the articles and some particles which were not categorized, and the interjection which belongs to mood.

Noun names an entity or abstracts; pronoun substitutes for nouns; verb says what the subjects does in a sentence; adverb modifies the verb, adverb and adjectives; adjectives qualifies the noun and pronoun; preposition relates the noun / pronoun with another noun
/   pronoun in terms of position or location; and conjunction which joins words, phrases, clauses or sentences.


With relatively similar rules across global languages, these lexical categories together with the articles are meaningfully combined.

The variations in the rules of combination among language and dialectal groups but conveying similar meaning raised the question between overt structure and under-lying meaning and interpretation, for example,

(1) (a) J’ ai ferme                                                                                                            (French)

I have hungry                                                                                                                       (lit trans)


(b) Aguu na-agu m   (Igbo)

(Hunger is hunger me)


Both 1 a and b have the surface and expressed structure as literally translated but have the underlying or covert interpretation:
(2) I am hungry.

This, on the other hand, has the different grammatical and semantic implications:

(3) (a) Je suis ferme            (French)

(b) Abu m aguu (Igbo)

(c) I am hunger (English literal translation)


Linguistics is the branch of knowledge or discipline that semantically studies the above and other questions on language.

Describing linguistic phenomena is one of the central goals of linguistics as well as being the primary goal of many linguists. The description may pertain to individual languages or to universal similarity or dissimilarity among languages and is carried out under specific linguistic concepts which include narrative discourse structure, phonology and, topical for this research, syntax.

Matthews (1982) defines syntax as a branch of grammar dealing with the ways in which words are arranged to show connections of meaning within the sentence.


Radford (1988) says that syntax refers to the rules for sequencing or ordering words within a phrase or sentence. Without syntax and its rules, there would be no key with which to discern consistent meanings from a bunch of words lumped together. As a part of the internalized linguistic knowledge of a language, it enables the native speaker, and to an extent, a non-native speaker, to produce as well as recognize acceptable stretches of utterance in that language......

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