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This research work is on A Contrastive Analysis of English and Tiv Sentence Structures. The study shows that English and Tiv languages are from different linguistic backgrounds and typologically have areas of differences in their sentence structures. These differences are in the internal composition of the sentence constituents and components and therefore pose learning problems for Tiv learners of English as a second language particularly in the formation of grammatical sentences but have not been given serious and proper scholarly investigation. Using the descriptive research method and tree diagrams (Phrase Markers) and tables to analyse the data collected, the differences and similarities between the English and Tiv sentences are descriptively revealed. The findings of the work show that the major difficulty that Tiv learners of English have is in the subject and object elements formation. While the noun phrases occupying subject and object positions in English take articles and other determiners pre-nominally, Tiv in nearly all cases take them post- nominally or do not use them at all. The nature of some Tiv sentences with implied or no subject and no clear gender dichotomy form part of the problem in the subject and object case formation in Tiv language. Despite the similarities the two languages have particularly in their structural subject-verb-object order in the simple, compound and complex sentences, Tiv learners of English face a lot of challenges posed by the differences above and the types and forms of sentences in English language. In order to overcome the above problems, this study recommends that teachers of English in Tiv domains and beyond should concentrate on the areas of differences in both languages and employ adequate teaching methods and instructional materials to eliminate the mother tongue interference in the Tiv learners use of English as a second language.


Title page
Table of Contents

1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Purpose of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope and Delimitation of the Study

2.0       Introduction
2.1 Conceptual Framework
2.1.1 Type of Sentences
2.1.2  Structure of the English Sentence
2.1.3 English Sentence Elements
2.1.4    The Basic Sentence Patterns
2.1.5    Type of Tiv Sentences
2.1.6    Structure of the Tiv Sentence
2.1.7    The Basic Tiv Sentence Pattern
2.2       Theoretical Framework
2.2.1    Theory of Structuralism
2.2.2    Theory of Transformational Generative Grammar (TGG)
2.2.4    Transformation
2.3       Empirical Studies on Tiv Sentence Structure
2.4       Summary of Review of Literature

3.1       Introduction
3.2       Research Design
3.3.1    Data Collection Technique
3.3.2    Sources of Data
3.4       Method of Data Analysis

4.1       Introduction
4.2       Research Question One
4.2.1    English and Tiv sentence structures: Simple sentence
4.3       Research Question 2:
4.3.1    Simple Sentence Structure:
4.3.2    Compound Sentences
4. 3.3   Complex Sentences
4.3.4    Verb slot of English and Tiv sentence structures
4.4       Research Question 3:

5.0       Introduction
5.1       Summary
4.2       Recommendations
5.3       Conclusion



1.1       Background of the Study

This work is basically on A Contrastive Analysis of English and Tiv Sentence Structures. Sentence is a constructional unit at a higher level or equivalently a simultaneous bundle of ‘positions in grammar’; a bundle of ordered elements beyond the plerematic level. It is also recognized as a syntagm (Mulder qtd. in Akwanya 109). According to Azubike , sentence is the highest form of realization in language(89) which exists only where there is communication. All these point to the fact that sentence is an orderly organizational and constructional unit in verbal communication with standing structures, elements or components.

The English language is rated in the multilingual nation, Nigeria, with about five hundred and ten living languages (Crozier and Blench qtd. in Fakeye 183) and (Tomori, Elugbe, Bamgbosi, Akindele and Adegbite qtd. in Farinde,94) as an indispensable, prestigious and official language of education, politics, judiciary, legislature, commerce, journalism, etc. Making a contrastive analysis of English sentence structures with the Tiv sentence structures becomes imperative as a result of the status of English in Nigeria vis-à-vis the mental preference of most Nigerian parents. Accordingly, Ogbonna confirms that parents have higher preference for the English medium than for out-right Mother Tongue (MT) medium (qtd. in Izuagba and Nwingwe 17).Babajide (1) substantiates the view that positive attitude for another language (English) can be due to the fact that the language integrates the speakers into a class higher than where they socially belong to or that it will be a lunch pad to their dream career or will lead to their social emancipation. This situation according to Arasanyin cited in Izuagba and Nwingwe (16) has led to a preference for English language in Nigeria and the result is the state of schizoglossia existing between English and indigenous languages which Tiv is a part.

The term ‘Tiv’ in this work is restricted to its meaning referring to a language spoken by the Bantu splitter group of Niger-Congo language family. Unlike the English language, it is principally spoken by the Tiv people in about thirty-three local government areas across Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa, Cross River, Plateau states and some significant number in Cameroun (Gbor 9-10; Udu, Dooga and Isa 2; Udu 4). This language of the migrants from the Central Africa hill is today spoken by well over three million people with their spiritual headquartres in Gboko, Benue State.

The majority of this population is in rural areas and their medium of communication and every life transaction remains Tiv. However, Nigeria as a multilingual country has approved the conduct of every official function in English to avoid several predictable and unpredictable ugly developments. Examining the exalted position of English in the education system in Nigeria, the National Policy on Education (NPE 2004), sections 4 and 5 did not only recommend English language as the language of instruction from primary four to the tertiary level of education, it is also a compulsory subject to be studied and passed with a credit level in the secondary school. Moreover, most universities and other tertiary institutions now emphasize a credit pass as a sine qua non for admission. This situation agrees with the popular educators’ remark that poor performance in English language leads to poor performance in other subjects since the language has been ‘the barometer with which the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of our school curricula are measured’ (Eyisi 3). Emphasis on English language in Nigerian education system....

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