January 2014 - Volume 8 Number 1 - Pages 1-130
(Special Issue on African Linguistics)
Language and computers: New directions in language research and teaching
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 1-14. Download Free PDF
This study examines the advent of the computer in language research and teaching to show how the linguistic research communities in multilingual settings like Nigeria stand to benefit from the engineering of language. The paper argues that researchers and teachers need to revise their methods in line with current but proven trends for better and valid results to occur. This entails taking advantage of the triple resource which the computer, the corpus and the access software provide, and adding to it the human intelligence. Using the discussion method, the paper delves into the pros and cons of the use of the computer in language research and teaching and then makes a case for computer assisted language study because of the cross fertilisation of ideas which comes with it. The position of the paper is that the computer is a new direction in language research, one whose gains far surpass its losses.
Keywords: Computer; Corpus; Software; Human Intelligence; Language Research; Language Teaching; Multilingualism
Nominal serialization in Cameroonian pidgin
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 15-32. Download Free PDF
This paper claims that Cameroonian Pidgin employs the mechanism of serial noun constructions to derive nominal complementation, resumptive nominals, thematic restructuring, paratactic constructs and nominal reduplication. The paper investigates the binding and referential properties of precedence relations in serial noun constructions to determine the fields of anaphora within the system of pronouns and their thematic relationships. The paper demonstrates that though pronouns in the language may not overtly exhibit morphological variation relative to Case marking, there are nonetheless complex agreement relations between these pronouns. We examine the various nominal reduplication techniques and argue that reduplication constitutes one of the strategies employed by Cameroonian Pidgin to derive serial noun constructions just as it exploits it for lexical creation. We present contrary evidence to the claims by Schneider (1960, 1963 and 1967) that Cameroonian Pidgin is a mere deviant of Standard English and demonstrate that the language exhibits complex structures that are completely alien to Standard English. The paper claims that nominal serialization is Cameroonian Pidgin’s computational mechanism of achieving economic derivations in the like of Chomsky, (1995, 2000, and 2005).
Keywords: Cameroon Pidgin; Noun Serialization; Resumptive Pronoun; Appositive Constructions; Nominal Reduplication
Overt and non-overt NPs in Luganda
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 33-48. Download Free PDF
The syntax of Luganda NPs has not received enough attention neither in academic papers nor in Luganda grammar books. This paper attempts to offer an in-depth study of Luganda NPs within the framework of Chomsky's Principles and Parameters approach. In a language with a rich concord system and where noun classes play a central role in the sentence, the study of NPs in Luganda is of paramount importance. In this paper, it is argued that NPs in Luganda are divided into two major types: overt and non-overt. The author posits that, with the exception of the reflexive infix, anaphors and R-expressions are subject to Principle A and Principle C of the binding theory respectively. The paper also argues that obligatory and optional control are common in Luganda and that PRO can be controlled or arbitrary. The author also maintains that Luganda is a pro-drop language and argues that there are three types of null subjects. Moved overt and non-overt NPs are discussed in depth as the author argues that only moved overt NPs leave traces behind.
Keywords: NP; Anaphors; R-expressions; Binding; Control; PRO; pro; Trace
The morpho-syntactic interaction and the derivation of nominal compounds in Yorùbá
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 49-74. Download Free PDF
This work examines the internal structure of morphologically complex nouns in the Yorùbá language. These nouns are categorized into endocentric and exocentric compounds. Endocentric compounds are derived through the combination of a noun or a nominal prefix with other categories such as nouns, adjective, verbs and the verb phrase. Exocentric nominal compounds are formed through the desententialization of various sentences in the language. The Pulleyblank & Akinlabi version of the weak lexicalist hypothesis (WLH), which allows recursion from syntax to morphology, is adopted for our analysis because the derivations of these nominal compounds involve the interaction of both syntactic and morphological components.
Keywords: Endocentric; Nominalizer; Exocentric; Desententialization; Derivation
Syllable typologies and the Igbo language
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 75-88. Download Free PDF
Two broad syllable typologies are accounted for globally following Maddieson (2005): simple syllable structures and complex syllable structures. The latter may be further subdivided into moderately complex and complex syllable structures. Notably, Igbo is said to belong to the category of simple syllable structures. The current study reviews evidence for this typological characterisation, examining patterns from corpora of synchronic varieties. The investigation indicates that there are certain discrepancies. The differences appear not to arise from the structures of natural languages but are explicable as the outcome of the influence of standard language ideologies. Given that current tradition for typological characterisation targets the priority of definitive structural features, the study suggests that a typological modelling built on such ideologies might be suspect. The work thus provides a review of Maddieson’s syllable typological classification, drawing attention to conclusions reached for Igbo, among others. It also presents and analyses parallel evidence, from synchronic dialect corpora. Consequently, ‘standard language ideology’ is introduced as an explanation for the traditional approach and for the observed discrepancies; and the concluding note suggests a priority of language structural properties over standard dialect ideologies in typological characterisations for the linguistics of the future.
Keywords: Syllable Structure; Typology; Igbo Language; Regional Dialect; Ideology; Standard Language
Discordant notes and scores in students’ performance
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 89-108. Download Free PDF
Students’ recurrent disappointing performance in university semester examinations seems to suggest that there could be a number of problems that teachers and educationists need to attend to for standards to be redeemed. Using about a hundred final-year English Studies students’ answer scripts in a Nigerian state university as guide, this paper advances indicators of students’ unpreparedness for examinations and, in the light of these indicators, hints that: (a) students’ lack of basic writing and expressive skills overshadows their knowledge; (b) students’ answers seem to point to certain reading and learning problems; (c) in instances where students seem to have a good knowledge of a topic, their lack of strong argumentation skills obfuscates their writing; and (d) teachers and other educationists may need to be more attentive to students’ reading, comprehension and integration skills to improve the students’ proficiency in basic writing and expressive writing for better grades in examinations. While the typology presented in the paper may not yet be evidence of a national problem, it indicates, at least, that many of our students are yet to get the hang of the essential requirements of academic writing.
Keywords: Learning Disorders; Neurologically-Based Processing Problems; Argumentation Patterns; Psycho-Social Disorders; Reading Problems
Penultimate lengthening and stress in Kinande
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 109-124. Download Free PDF
Words in isolation in Kinande, a narrow Bantu language of eastern DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), usually surface with a long vowel at the penultimate position. Verbal forms that do not exhibit this penultimate length can be shown to contain a phantom consonant which is part of the formative –aC- that derives from the pre-final formative –ag- in Proto-Bantu. It is argued in this paper that penultimate lengthening in Kinande is a manifestation of a metrical representation of stress and that its phonetic realization is due to a rule that turns a penultimate light syllable into a heavy one at the end of an intonation phrasal domain.
Keywords: Penultimate Lengthening; Stress; Phantom Consonant; Intonational Phrase; Boundary Tone; Mora
Book Review: Salmani-Nodoushan, M. A., & Birjandi, P. (2005). An introduction to phonetics. Tehran: Zabankadeh Publications. [xii + 180 pp; ISBN: 964-6117-57-0].
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(1), 125-130. Download Free PDF