1.0 Introduction/Background of the Study
The importance of language in human society has attracted great scholarly attention. Various studies have been carried out with a view to determining the structure of language. Language is dynamic, this dynamic nature calls for constant and persistent research on the nature of every human language, especially the development processes involved in particular language.
However, there are many ramifications in these changes in language especially English Language which a learner of any language must master. For instance auditory habituation could handicap the effect of a second language learner, especially when the structure of the mother tongue (MT) has been internalized for a long period before learning the second languages.
Based on this assumption, it is necessary to analyze the similarities and differences between the learner’s
mother tongue (MT) and the target language (TL) with a view to alleviating the problems in second language learning (SLL).
Research has shown that there are difficulties associated with learning a second language, because the inbuilt structure of the mother tongue influences learning of the second language. The structure of the first language, in many cases is at variance with the structure of the second language. This variance makes the learner transliterate this target language after the structure of the first. He transfers the accent of this first language (MT) to the pronunciation of the second language (TSL). In so doing, communicative competence is hindered, as the expected message not successful conveyed. Word-order pattern of the target language is distorted.
The major concern of this study is to make a” contrastive analysis of the word-formations of English and Igbo Verbs”. With reference to Affixation,
Derivational, Inflectional, Verbal Ablaut and verb Extension. centered on making a “contrastive analysis of the word-formations of English and Igbo Verbs”. In the areas of Affixation, Derivational, Inflectional, Verbal Ablaut and Verb Extension. Verb is defined as “the heart and life of a sentence which denotes action and deed” (Ifensor 22). Orji adds that “verbs of the English language are words which fit into an inflectional verbal paradigm (20). He further buttresses that:
English verbs are divided into finite and non finite verbs. Finite verbs consist of lexical (main) verb and auxiliary verb. Lexical verb is made up of transitive and intransitive verbs. Auxiliary verb is divided into two, namely: primary and modal auxiliary. The non-finite verb is made up of infinitive, gerund and participle (21).
Lexical verbs are content words which can be conjugated or made to undergo morphological contrasts of tense, person, aspect, mood, and number. Verbs conjugation or inflection reflect the aforementioned contrasts as used in speech and writing. Verb inflection or conjugation delineate time before now (past), time now (present), and time after now (future): it also appears in two forms in relating with the personal pronouns. Verbs matched with the persons take the bare infinitive form except the first person singular where the verbs take an ‘S’.
Apart from the above, there is the Igbo system of verb extension through interfix between two verbs. For instance, the Igbo language admit letters like ‘m’, ‘a’, and ‘r’ etc. to form verbal extension e.g.
No Root word Infix Root
word Derivatives meaning
1 anu + m + anu anumanu (hearing)
2 egwu + r+ Egwu egwuregwu (playing)
It can be noted that the English language has two major affixation processes of prefix and suffix technically further represented as inflection and derivation, but interfix, infix and circumfix appear not to be present in the language. The Igbo language has infix and possibly, other affixes not found in English. Changes surely will be creating problems for the Igbo second language learners.
The Igbo second language learners (ISLL) has cause to make use of the English language, as well as the Igbo language based on the prevailing situation or occasion. His effort at using either of the languages may involve interference of the one with other depending on his ability to manipulate the language. It is therefore important to discover the method and structures of both languages that coincide and those that differ, as these may be helpful to the second language learners (SLL) and teachers of this second language alike (TSL).
1.2 Significance of the Study
The basic function of language is communication. A critical look on language reveals that languages are made up of simple and complex units of structures which contain meaning because of the presence of the predicator (verb) used in such sentences. In addition to knowing these verbs, it is important to understand how these verbs are used, and are formed especially by the second language learners.
(a) This thesis will help the second language learner to understand the similarities and differences between the verbs of the first and the target languages.
(b) The research will help the teachers of second language to predict the difficult situation in language learning (LL), thus encouraging the learners to overcome those difficulties.
(c) Course and syllabus designers will find the research findings helpful in highlighting problem areas and making them easier for learners.
(d) It provides for proper knowledge of the verb structures, thus educating teachers and learners alike.
(e) It will also add to the existing knowledge of the systems of verb formation and serve as reference material to researchers.
(f) Above all, this study, which is not exhaustive, is bound to arouse the interests of future researchers who may want to further the study.
1.3 The Purpose of the Study
The main purposes of this study are:
(1) To carry out a contrastive analysis of the word formation of English and Igbo Verbs. The research seeks to find out the grass root cause of the problems of word- formation with a view to recommending possible solutions to them.
(2) To identify the verb formation processes in the English language.
(3) To identify the verb formation processes in the Igbo language.
(4) To find out whether there is existing differences between English and Igbo verb formation processes.
(5) To find out whether there are seminaries between English and Igbo verb formation processes.
1.4 Research Questions
In this research, the following research questions will guide the study:
1. What are the verb formation processes in English language?
2. What are the verb formation processes in Igbo language?
3. To what extent are the verb formation processes in the two languages similar and different?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
- There are significant differences that exist between English and Igbo verb formation processes.
- There are no significant similarities between English and Igbo verb formation processes.
1.6 Definition of terms
A. Contrastive Analysis:
Contrastive analysis is a juxtaposition of what a learner knows about a language he has mastered and the other language he is trying to master.
Word-formation is the act of forming new words or word class through the technical means of inflectional morphology, derivational morphology and the compositioning. It is the addition of letters to the root word (base). This addition may be at the front of it or at the end of the base word. The former is called the prefix while the later is called the suffix.
Conjugation is the inflection of verbs, a class of verb having similar sets of inflected forms, the act of joining, the state of being joined together. (Hanks 353).
Derivative is a means of attaching morphs or affixes to the root word (base), thus producing new word or word class.
1.7 Basic Assumptions
In this study, it is assumed that
(a) different languages have different verb formation processes.
(b) Individuals transfer the forms of their native language to the learning of the second language.
(c) Similarities of the languages, make the learning of the second language easier.
(d) Differences in the language create problems for the second language learners.
1.8 The Scope of the Study
This study is limited to the formation of the English and Igbo verb. The aim of this research is to discover if there are similarities and differences in the processes of
word-formation of the verbs of these two languages. Concentrating areas for consideration are: affixation, derivation inflection of the Igbo language, and verbal ablaut of the English language.
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