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This thesis entitled” Comparative Study of Morphological Processes in English and
Hausa Languages”, has been carefully examined and approved by the Department of English
and Literary studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka as meeting the requirements for the
award of Master of Arts in English as a second language
-----------------------------Dr Lazarus Ogenyi
-----------------------------Prof. Damian .U. Opata
(Head of Department)
-----------------------------External Examiner
I, Zubairu Bitrus Samaila, hereby declare that this research work titled “Comparative
Study of morphological Processes in English and Hausa Languages” is a product of my effort
accorded to my findings under the supervision of Dr Lazarus. C. Ogenyi; All material
consulted were duly acknowledged by means of work citation.
--------------------------------Zubairu Bitrus Samaila
This is to certify that the research work for this dissertation and the subsequent preparation
of this dissertation by Zubairu Bitrus Samaila PG/MA/13/64956 were carried out under
my supervision.
------------------------------------Dr. Lazarus Ogenyi
-------------------------------------Prof. Damian .U. Opata
Head of Department
This work is dedicated to God Almighty and to my beloved wife and children, Mrs.
Sarah Bitrus Samaila, Rhema Bitrus Samaila, and Agape Bitrus Samaila.
I wish to express my heartfelt acknowledgement to God Almighty by whose grace and
mercy I survived all forms of challenges; and by whose wisdom and inspiration this work has
been scripted .To Him be all the glory power and honour forever. I must also confess that, i
am indebted to so many people who have laboured with me directly or indirectly to ensure
successful and glorious completion of this work. But few will be registered here for the want
of space.
My profound gratitude goes to Dr. Lazarus, Ogenyi my supervisor who did a
thorough scrutiny of this work that resulted to early completion; I remain grateful to him. Sir i
saw how you took the pain to carefully and meticulously go through the manuscripts of this
work. I am personally convinced beyond every element of doubt that you are a father not only
to your biological children, but to every one God places under you as an academic child. May
God reward the relentless and selfless service you rendered to me.
My appreciation goes to Prof. opata .U. Damian the Head of Department who also took
his time to grill me on the nitty gritty of research in humanities. Thank you Prof. for helping
me to understand the 7th edition of M.L.A works citation. I want to acknowledge all the
lecturers of the Department particularly Prof. Sam Onuigbo, Prof E.J Otaburuagu, Prof
Akwanya, Prof. Inyama, Dr. P.A Ezema, Dr. Mrs. F .O Orabueze, Mr. Okoro, Mr. Moses. O
Melefa, Mr. Kingsley, etc, for responding to my academic quest.
I sincerely express gratitude to my darling wife Mrs Sarah Bitrus Samaila for labouring
for me in the place of prayer which has not only yielded my graduation but saved this work
from lingering . May I quickly acknowledge my two kids Rhema and Agape for standing
with me in the course of my academic sojourn in U. N .N. Thank you Rhema for always
asking your mother “Mummy where is daddy now”? Thank you Agape for denying yourself
the joy of a father for a complete one year. May God seal you with his divine seal.
I want to acknowledge all my course mates especially Simeon Nwabueze Osogu, Abiola,
Mary Oladipo, Benjamin Odemela, Onyedikachi Okodo, Sandra, Ifeoma, Sumto , Dianah
Linda, Georgina,Wali Musa, Ruth Chioma Onamba,
Mrs Utazy
companionship has proved to me that I have been to the Den of lions and my dignity has
been restored. I am proud to have you as course mates.
I am indebted to all the members of graduate Students’ fellowship (GSF) UNN both past and
present who have contributed spiritually to my life. I am particularly grateful to the 2013/2014
Executive committee members with whom I served as the Co-coordinator of the fellowship. It
was an awesome experience. Thank you for all your encouragements. I will like to register my
gratitude to my family members who also stood with me within the period of this academic
pursuit. I remain thankful to my sweet mother Mrs Naomi Bitrus Zubairu, my uncles, aunts,
brothers, and sisters.
This acknowledgment cannot be complete if I fail to appreciate Dr. Ali Ahmadi Alkali of
Languages and linguistics Department, Taraba State University who helped me with materials
on the morphology of Hausa language and that helped to a great extent to my source of data
collection. Liberation team stood with me in prayers too, I am grateful to all of them.
Finally I want to appreciate all that have contributed in one way or the other either
academically financially materially, spiritually or morally. Your name may not have reflected
on this page but God who sees from heaven will reward your labour of love and meet you also
at the point of your needs in Jesus name.
This work aims at investigating the relationships that exist between the English and
the Hausa languages at the level of their morphological processes; and the implication this
relationship will have on the teaching and learning situation. The study adopted a contrastive
analysis theory cum contrastive analysis hypothesis which is an area of linguistic studies that
deals with the scientific study of two or more languages so as to make critical, howbeit,
pedagogical comments on their areas of divergence or convergence. The study discusses and
compares some morphological processes such as back-formation, blending alternation,
affixation, compounding, clipping, coinage, reduplication, acronym, and borrowing in both
languages using the descriptive analysis method. The analyses were based on Kano dialect of
Hausa language which is the standard Hausa dialect. From the analyses, it was discovered
that, morphology which is the study of grammatical rules of word structures in any language
operates in both languages with significant areas of differences and similarities; that English
and Hausa use some processes to create some words; that affixation is one of the processes
found in both English and Hausa; that some of the processes discussed in this study could be
found in one and not in other language; that Hausa language interferes significantly on the
teaching and learning of English as a second language. This research work can be used as a
source of information or rather reference material to subsequent studies in English and Hausa
languages in various components of linguistic structures. It would also provide a premise for
the study and analysis of morphological processes in English and Hausa. Recommendations
on how to overcome the pedagogical problems were offered and conclusion drawn.
Title page
Approval page
Chapter One
Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Objectives of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope and Delimitation
Research Questions
Chapter Two
Literature Review
Empirical Studies
Chapter Three
Theoretical Framework and Research Methodology
3.0 Introduction
3.1 Theoretical Framework
3.1.1 Contrastive analysis theory
3.2 Research methodology
3.2. 1 Research Design
3.3 Instruments for Data Collection
3.4 Data Collection Technique
3.5 Method of Data Analysis
Chapter Four
Data Analysis
4.0 Introduction
The Comparative Analysis of the Processes in English and Hausa
4.1.1 Acronyms
36 The Division of Acronyms
4.1.2 Affixation
The Positional Categories of Affixes
4.3 Alternation
4.3.1 Total Modification in English
4.3.2 Partial Modification in English
65 Subtraction
4.3.3 Partial Modification in Hausa
4.4 Backformation
4.4.1 The Sources of Back Formants of Words
4.5 Blending
4.6 Borrowing
4.6.1 Loan Blending
4.6.2 Loan Shift
4.7.1 Types of Clipping
4.8 Coinage
4.9 Compounding
4.9.1 The Elements of Compounding in English
4.9.2 The Elements of Hausa Compounds
The Combination to Form Compounds in English
Regular Compounds
4.9.5 Irregular Compounds
4.9.6 The Combinations to Form Compounds in Hausa
4.10 Reduplication
4.10.1 Types of Reduplication in English
88 Partial Reduplication in English
88 Complete Reduplication in English
89 Complete Reduplication in Hausa (Cikakka Nannage)
92 Partial Reduplication in Hausa (Ragaggen Nannage)
4.11 Morphological Processes Across The Two Language
Chapter Five
Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
5.0 Introduction
5.1 Summary
5.3 The Research Findings
5.3 Recommendations
5.4 Conclusion
Works Cited
Chapter One
Background to the Study
Language, an indispensable tool for human communication, is studied in divergent
ways. Irrespective of the area in which it is being studied, the most central to language and
relevant to human communication is the word. Words play an integral role in the human
ability to use language with an infinite capacity of expressions. As a result of this, word is
involved in almost all the levels of linguistic studies and analysis. Words are generally
classified into phonological, grammatical, morph syntactic, content and function words.
It is important to note that every word in the lexicon of a native speaker is encoded
with phonological, syntactic, semantic and, above all, morphological information. A native
speaker of a language knows how to structure the words of the speaker in accordance with the
morphological rules of the language, and also how to order the sequence of words correctly to
form expressions or sentences in accordance with syntactic rules. The aspect of linguistics
which deals with words and their entire upshots is morphology. The goal of every
morphological study, therefore, is to discover and make explicit the rules or principles,
patterns, processes and systems that underlie the morphological processes in a language. It is
possible, for instance, to break down Hausa word “budurwai” (girls) into smaller structural
units: “budurwai” = “budurwa” + “i". The analysis here shows that “budurwai” (girls) can be
broken down into two parts. This includes the first part “budurwa”, which refers to something
in the world (+ young + female + human) and the second part “i” indicates a grammatical
category of a number specifying plural. The same approach can easily be applied to the word
“faraa” (started), which can be analyzed thus: “Faraa = ‘fara’ (start) + ‘a’, equivalent to
English past tense morpheme (-ed). However, while” budurwa” can be described as a noun,
“fara” (start) is a verb and the second part ‘-a’ indicates past tense to the verb “fara” (start).
In morphological terms, the minimal parts of the words that have been analyzed above
are called morphemes. Not only are these morphemes considered as the ultimate elements of
morphological analysis, but they serve as the building blocks of meaning and grammar.
Unlike phonemes, morphemes have a physical, that is phonological and phonetic form, and
they have meaning or function. With this, it is plausible that a morpheme is attached to words
to serve a grammatical purpose as well as a semantic function.
In linguistics, morphology according to Mark Aronoff and Kirsten Fudeman refers to
“the mental system involved in word formation or to the branch of linguistics that deals with
words, their internal structure, and how they are formed” (1). Ephraim Chukwu states that “it
originally means the study of shapes or forms used in biology, but since the middle of 19th
century, it has been used to describe the type of investigation which analyzes all those basic
linguistics elements which are usually in language” (1). George Yule explains that “these
elements are technically known as morphemes in linguistics” (75) Leonard Bloomfield
highlights four morphological types of language as follows:
Isolating languages which are those used by the Chinese. They have no bound forms and
a great majority of morphemes remain independent words.
Agglutinative language: here, the bound forms are supposed merely to follow one
another, e.g., Turkish.
Polysynthetic: these are languages that express, semantically, important elements such
as verbal goals by means of bound forms as does Eskimos.
Inflectional language shows a merging of semantically distinct features either in a single
bound forms or in a close united bound forms as when the suffix Ō in a Latin form like
‘amō’ ‘I live’, etc. English is a good example of a fissional or inflected language in
which morphemes are squeezed together and are often changed dramatically in the
process. All these can be a confusing concept, but looking at the morphology of the
English language in its form, it retains a number of remnants (193).
Morphology, therefore, studies how words are put together from their smallest parts
and the rules governing this process. It is the branch of linguistics which deals with forms of
words in different constructions. Charles Hocket sees morphology as “the grammatical study
of words on construction of morphemes” (200). Eugene Nida states that “morphology is the
study of morphemes and their arrangements in word formation” (100). Morpheme may be
identified by its distribution and certain other characteristics.
The meaning of morpheme has received a lot of controversial ideas from many
linguists. According to Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary, morpheme means the way
units are ordered to give meaningful words. Some linguists approach the issue of the meaning
of morpheme as form of units which have a meaning but based their combinations on
distribution, while other linguists see morpheme as form of composite unit. Bloomfield asserts
that we can attribute any meaning of phoneme and cannot analyze the meaning of morpheme
(193). Jacek Fisiak, identifies with Bloomfield Leonard, et al, as the advocates of morphemes
as units that have no meaning on their own (100). Note also that Allan Gleason (208) also
describes morphemes as short sequence of phonemes. Since phoneme is said to be
meaningless, then morpheme as well is meaningless. What then is morpheme?
According to General Basic Dictionary, a morpheme is a linguistic unit of the system
of words distinguishing sounds of a language as ideally represented by single letter of the
letters of alphabet; that is, phonemes are speech sounds. Earlier, however, John Carrol (50)
and his contemporaries describe morpheme as a form which embodies grammatical and
lexical meanings. It is not all morphemes that have meaning. For instance ‘does’ in ‘does he’
is said to be a dummy morpheme because it has no meaning in the context, but has function
which is to show that it is the question and singular; therefore it is a dummy.
Hocket (199) further asserts that morphemes are the smallest indivisibly meaningful
elements in the utterances of a language. This means that morphemes are indivisible. That is,
they cannot be divided and still have meanings. For example, the word ‘compound’ cannot be
sub-divided into com + pound. Furthermore, David Crystal (300) defines a morpheme as a
smallest bit of a language which has meaning and, moreover, this meaning is different from
the meaning of all other morphemes in the language. What he is saying is that if a morpheme
is added or removed from an utterance, the meaning of the utterance changes.
Crystal identifies morphemes by comparing a wide variety of utterances. He looks for
utterances which are partially the same. A morpheme could be described as the minimal
linguistic unit, but it is not every small unit that is a morpheme as there are other
characteristics that help one to identify a morpheme. According to Nida (100), there are also
some criteria for the identification, recognition and understanding of morphemes.
The length of a word does not determine the number of morphemes in it. For example,
the word “discipline” has ten letters of the alphabet but has one morpheme. Likewise, the
word “category” is a word with eight letters of the alphabet but has one morpheme. The word
“oxen” has four letters of the alphabet but has two morphemes. “ox” is a lexical morpheme
while “-en” is a grammatical morpheme meaning plurality. The same phenomenon is
applicable to the Hausa language. For example, the following words have one morpheme
---------- cane
---------- map
---------- potatoe
Kadaandooniya ----------millipede
A morpheme may be a word or part of a word. The form of a morpheme and that of a
word sometimes overlaps so that one concept presupposes the other (John Lyons 32). A
morpheme is not always an equivalent to a word. For instance, the grammatical unit such as
“dig” and “-er” in English are morphemes while “dig” is a word and can stand on its own, “er” cannot stand independently as a word because it is a part of a word. In the Hausa
language, the grammatical unit “manoomaa” (farmers) has ‘-ma’ and ‘noomaa’. While
‘noomaa’ (farming) is a word and can stand on its own to give meaning, ‘-ma’ is a morpheme
that cannot stand independently as a word to make a meaning. In addition, morphemes cannot
be divided into smaller parts without destroying or altering the meaning of the word. For
instance, if the word “straight” is broken into /strei/ and /t/, /strei/ of course has a meaning
which though not related to the meaning of the word “straight” is still a morpheme; but /t/ is a
meaningless remainder. Therefore, /strei/ is not a morpheme so long as the word “straight” is
concerned. Similarly, the word “tauraaroo” (star) cannot be divided into tau + raa + roo
because they are meaningless parts. This therefore, characterizes the word as consisting of a
single morpheme.
Certain morphemes have a specific order in which they must occur. In English, the word
“reconvene” (re-con-vene) cannot be reordered or rearranged as con-re-vene. This second
arrangement is unfamiliar and meaningless to the native speaker of English. The order of
morpheme in the Hausa language is also the same thing. For example, the word “maa+
sooracii” (fearful) cannot be reordered as soo-ra-cii-maa. Therefore, the meaning of a word
depends solely on the meaning and arrangement of the morphemes. Nida maintains that forms
which have common semantic distinctiveness and identical phonemic forms in the entire
occurrence constitute similar forms. This shows that the form such as “-er” as in worker,
singer and stranger are the same morphemes if they have the same meaning.
Furthermore, a morpheme is also recognized by semantic and distributional criteria
without its form being identical. A clear example is in the formation of plural in English. If we
compare the final element in “hands” /z/, “cats” /s/ and “matches” /iz/, there is a common
meaning (plural), common distribution and common phonological resemblance. Just as the
sound /l/ in “bottle’ does not really contrast in meaning anywhere in English with sound in
“lamp” and just as we talk of the phoneme /l/ being realized by two allomorphs, so the
morpheme plural is realized by different allomorphs /-z/, /-s/ and /iz/. Similarly, the English
morpheme has its allomorphs in the different realizations of past tense as in worked /t/, raised
/d/ and mended /id/.
In addition, morphemes can appear in many different words; that is, morphemes are
recyclable. Word analysis is such a powerful skill because the same morphemes show up over
and over again in different words. For example, “reduce” means to diminish or lower;
“deduce” to infer; “seduce” to lure away; “produce” to bring into being; “induce” to bring on.
It should be noted, therefore, that every word which can be divided into meaningful parts
contains more than one morpheme. The meaning of the word “capsize” for example has to do
with overturning of boat in the water. It is not the same as the additive meaning “cap” (a headcovering worn by men) and “size” which is the degree of largeness or smallness of an object.
A morpheme must have a relatively stable meaning wherever it occurs; for example, ‘-en’
must display the meaning of “to make” in any environment it occurs. Other examples are
“ensnare”, “frighten”, “brighten”, “darken”, “quicken”, and so on.
The importance of second language learner’s competence in morphological
appropriateness is obviously paramount. Yule George, (126), contends that “grammatical
competence helps greatly in facilitating communicative competence”. In view of this, ESL
learners that lack both morphological and grammatical competence tend to communicate
poorly in both written and spoken forms of English. Aliyu Kamal (20) explains that “English
is an international medium of communication spoken as the second language (L2) in Nigeria
and it is the official language. As such, the need for proficiency is not only desirable but
absolutely necessary”. Ibrahim (208) asserts that “in Nigeria, English continues to be widely
used as a medium of instruction at all levels of education: primary, secondary and tertiary
institutions. Despite its significance, the standard of Nigerian education is gradually becoming
very poor.” This may not be unconnected with the fact that learners of English as a second
language (ESL) have not adequately understood the word formation processes of the English
language, especially when such processes contradict the word formation processes of their
native language. Therefore, the descriptive nature of the study would reveal the theoretical
significance of morphological processes available in the English and Hausa languages. This
study investigates a theoretical explanation of the facts about morphological processes in the
English and Hausa languages, their areas of similarities and differences and how second
language learners of English will use the processes to effectively form new words. Despite the
fact that there exists various studies that have accounted for the justification of morphological
processes, most second language learners of English do not know how new words are formed
using the process. As such, morphological errors are commonly observed in the written
English of many ESL learners (Naama Friedman, et al. (56) The study has accounted for areas
of similarities and differences in both languages and revealed how effective communication in
English is enhanced among the Hausa learners of the English language using morphological
Statement of the Problem
Every language of the world has its own word formation processes and the rules
governing the formation. English and Hausa are two different languages with different
linguistic origins, backgrounds, and conditions that make them naturally different. It is
obvious that the morphological differences in English and Hausa words create problems in the
teaching and learning of English, the target language. Despite the fact that scholarly works
have been done on the morphological processes of the Hausa and other languages, yet not
much has been done on the English and the Hausa morphological processes. The researcher
intended to compare the morphological processes of the English and Hausa languages and
unravel the implications the linguistic differences may have on the adequate teaching and
learning of the second language called English. This research was set to fill this vacuum.
Objectives of the Study
This study intends to:
1. examine the morphological processes of the English language in comparison with the
Hausa language;
2. find out the characteristic features and distributions of the Hausa morphemes;
3. explore areas of similarities and dissimilarities;
4. find out how this relationship affects the word formation processes of the learners of
English as a second language (ESL) in their written communication; and
Suggest ways through which communication competence of the learners of
English as a second language can be facilitated using appropriate word-formation
Significance of the Study
The study will be of relevance as follows:
1. It will provide us with an insight into the morphological processes of the English and
Hausa languages;
2. It will improve the knowledge of ESL learners and thus improve both students’ and
teachers’ performances as it relates to the teaching/learning of English as a second
3. It will serve as another step towards finding an explanation to the relationship that
exists between the English and Hausa languages in terms of their word-formation
patterns and processes;
4. It will serve as a viable and valuable linguistic source of information to the students
that are studying English and Hausa at the tertiary level thereby improve their teaching
methodology with regard to morphological processes.
5. It will help teachers to focus on the areas of differences to enhance students’
understanding of the word-formation processes of the target language (English).
6. It will help authors and teachers of English as a second language to anticipate and
predict what their Hausa students are likely to encounter in English word formation.
This will also equip the teachers with possible solutions to their learners’ challenges;
7. The curriculum designers and planners will find help in this study and therefore
fashion school curricula and syllabuses to reflect word formation patterns of both
languages especially in Hausa community- based schools.
Scope and Delimitation
Language has several areas that can be studied. These areas include phonology,
syntax, morphology and semantics. However, this study accounts for the area of morphology
which is a part of linguistics. This research covers only the morphological processes (wordformation patterns) of the English and Hausa languages.
Research Questions
The following research questions are used to generate data about the morphological
processes of the English and Hausa languages.
1. What are the morphological processes obtainable in the English and Hausa languages?
2. What are the characteristic features and distributions of the Hausa morphemes?
3. To what extent do English and Hausa languages share similarities and differences in
their morphological processes?
4. How do their similarities and dissimilarities affect the learning processes of the Hausa
native speakers?
5. What are the ways through which communication competence of the learners of
English language, be enhanced using appropriate word-formation processes?
Chapter Two
Literature Review
This chapter takes a look at the available literature on the subject under investigation. The
intention of the chapter is to give insight into what other scholars have done or otherwise on
the problem, ascertain the current state of the art and/ or methodological approaches and as
well as establish the gap in field that justifies this study.
Empirical Studies
Akande Akimade studied the competence in English morphology of some senior
secondary school one students. He considered eight morphological processes, namely:
suffixation, prefixation, compounding conversion, acronym, blending, clipping, and
reduplication with a view to finding out which of these processes are mostly employed by
Nigerian learners of English. The elicitation procedure used was written essays. The result
revealed that there is a discrepancy in the subjects’ acquisition and mastery of word-formation
processes. This is because, while some of the processes are not regularly used, suffixation
which is the most regularly used posed the greatest difficulty to the subjects. (36)
In a related study, Akande (310) investigated the acquisition of the eight inflectional
morphemes in English. The data used for the study were drawn from six Yoruba-speaking
learners of English who were selected from four secondary schools in Oke-Igbo, Ondo State.
He used two types of elicitation technique, written English composition and grammar
exercise. The result indicated that, in the analysis of the compositions, the subjects have a
poor mastery of use of English past participle, possessive inflection, past tense inflection and
plural inflection. However, in the grammar exercise, the subjects performed relatively well as
none of them got below 10 out of the 25 questions…’ (Akande, 323).
Ayo Babalola, and Akimade Akande, conducted another study in which they
investigated some linguistics problems of Yoruba learners of English. They grouped the
problems into phonological or ethnographic, morphological and syntactic problems. They
argued that morphological—related problem is quite relevant. They further claimed that
English is not free from inconsistency in the area of morphology. There are ambiguities which
usually compound learners’ problems. They further observed that a morpheme may be
phonologically conditioned; as a result of that, it may have allomorphs. For examples ‘-in’
which means “not” is realized orthographically as in ‘indecent’; insignificant is realized as ‘im’ in impossible, as ‘-un’ in unfair, as ‘-ir’ in irrelevant and as ‘-il’ in illegal. They also
illustrate the morphological inconsistency by saying that suffix –er usually means “the person
who performs an action indicated by verb”. So, the word writer/producer/teacher means
somebody who writes/produces/teaches” but the word brother/sister does not mean somebody
who brothes/sists, neither does type-writer also means “somebody who type-writes” (250). If
someone who sings or writes is a singer or a writer respectively, why shouldn’t somebody
who cooks, gossips, cheats, sponsors be a cooker, gossiper, cheater, and sponsorer? In English
as a second language environment (ESLE), such as we have in Nigeria, learners are bound to
make mistakes such as identified above.
Aremo Bolaji carried out a study on conversion in English, i.e. nouns which are
derived from adjectives through the process of conversion. He examined Hornby’s Oxford
Advanced Learners’ Dictionary of Current English (edited in 2000 by Wehmier) and Collings
Cobuild English Language Dictionary (edited in 1987 by Sinclair) for several examples of
nouns illustrating adjectives – nouns conversion in English. He grouped them into various
semantic classes according to the meanings expressed by those adjectives converted to nouns
(200). Heidic Dulay and Marina Burt carried out a study on the acquisition of eight English
grammatical morphemes which they call functors. The subjects used were one hundred and
fifty- one (151) Spanish speakers in the US whose ages range between 5 to 8 years. They used
bilingual syntax measure (BSM) in order to elicit samples of speech from the subjects. The
subjects consist of three groups: the East Harlem group, the Sacramento group, and the San
Ysidro group. These groups have varying exposures to English. They discovered that, “within
each group those morphemes in which subjects were most accurate and those in which they
were least accurate were inconsistently the same. The result concludes that ESL speakers find
some grammatical morphemes difficult to acquire regardless of their length of exposure to
English. (40)
Arthur McNeil, studied the “vocabulary knowledge profiles: evidence from Chinesespeaking ESL teachers”. He studied two groups of Chinese-speaking ESL teachers, the Hong
Kong group and the Beijing group which were made use of as the subjects. The aspect of
English tested, were word meaning, phonology, morphology and sentence production. The
study was concerned with the aspect that deals with morphology. He noted that some
morphological errors occur as a result of morphological deviant when forming adjectives from
the nouns. Examples some of the subjects wrote such morphological deviant form of the noun
surgery” as surgerive, surgerions, surgeral, and so on. He concluded that knowledge of
meaning operates at word meaning and their ability to operate on morphological rule
correctly. The extent to which morphological knowledge in L2 relies on conscious processing
merits further investigation (56).
Farogi-Shah Yasmeen conducted a study on the production latencies of
morphologically simple and complex verbs in aphasia. In this study, he investigated the effect
of morphological complexity (presence vs absence) of affixes on verb production. The result
indicated that the morphological complexity plays little role in production difficulty and a
difficulty in usage of contextually appropriate verbs inflections, rather than in morphological
encoding, is suggested. (725)
Economou Elexandra, et al, studied the factors affecting production of verbs inflection
in Greek aphasia. The errors of seven aphasic individuals performing a sentence competing
task were categorized into errors in morphological suffixation, word form errors and mixed
errors. The result revealed that participants made more morphological errors than either word
form or mixed errors. (20)
Another research conducted by Gabriele Miceli on morphological errors and the
representation of morphology in lexical semantic system revealed that neuropsychological
studies support that morphology is represented autonomously both at the level of wordmeaning and at the level of word form. In out-put process, morphology organizes semantic
information which indicates that the activities of lexical representations of roots and affixes
are composed before production. (93)
Abukakre Olubunmi, conducted a study on the functions of compounding in Hausa,
Igbo and Yoruba Languages using theoretical orientation of descriptive linguistics to show the
crucial role of the process of compounding in the lexicons of the three languages. In doing
this, he surveyed how compounding enriches the languages and enhances communication in
terms of expression of new concepts and ideas. The study justified that functional relationship
between the phonology and morphology of the languages contributes to the word formation
processes. It also revealed that, most African languages have internal capabilities for lexical
expansion, and do not always borrow words from other languages. The study concluded that
compounding is a universal process of language development that is found across languages;
although it manifests varying features. (42)
O. Abubakre also examined affixation, a morphological process in Hausa and Eggon
languages with a view to describing and analyzing its manifestation into two languages. The
similarities and differences in the affixation of Hausa and Eggon were the focus. He chose
two genetically different languages to justify the fact that some of the universal properties of
the natural language do vary from language to language irrespective of their genetic
relationship. Hausa, being a member of Chadic sub-group of Afro-Asiatic language family
and Eggon, being classified as a Benue-Congo language which is a sub-member of a Nigercongo family. The study had shown among others that, affixation in Hausa and Eggon either
derivational or inflectional performs a productive role in the lexicons of the languages.
Waya David carried out a study on contrastive analysis of Tiv and English
Morphological processes where he examined the inflectional patterns evident in Tiv and
contrasted with English language, with a view of detecting their similarities and differences.
The study was an exercise in applied linguistics which adopted a contrastive analysis method
in the description of the languages. He found out that in contrasting the morpheme distribution
in the languages, similarities and differences are likely to influence teaching/learning of
English by the native speakers of Tiv language. Unlike English the inflectional morphemes in
Tiv language vary mostly on tone. In other words there are some rules on the plural formation
or pronunciation. It was also indicated that there is set of Tiv morphemes referring to its
particular gender as observed in English, whether plural or past tense; the affixes in Tiv
language are only placed at the level of suffixation and infixation.
The study further observed that difficulties in teaching or learning a language is most
experienced in areas of differences. However, learning difficulties can also be in areas of
similarities. The study therefore advocated that language teachers and syllabus planners
should make adequate use of the finding of contrastive or error studies as reference guide in
designing syllabus for the teaching learning of the second language.
Christiana Andrew conducted a study on a comparative analysis of English and Igala
morphological processes. The notion of comparative analysis was essentially aimed at
establishing the possibility of difference or similarities in any field of interest. In the study
also the comparison is aimed at establishing the points of divergence and convergence in an
international language (English) and locally spoken language (Igala). Firstly the theory of
grammar universal proposes that all languages whatever their compositions and dispositions
are structurally and semantically identical. Secondly, the notion of universality of morphology
in the same vein proposes that there exists the concept of morphemes and morphological
processes in all languages of the world. These claims account for the reason why the research
looked at the morphological processes as used in both languages. The researcher had
examined the notion of morphological processes in Igala.
To establish what processes were employed and how the processes occurred in
English, data had been generated for analysis as the findings of the research used the concept
of Halliday (1975) Scale and Category theory, and Nida (1949) six principles for identifying
morphemes in the study of both languages, the result had shown that the component of
morphology in the study of natural human languages is exhibited in the structure of the two
languages (Igala and English) and the concept of universality of morphology as widely
acclaimed in the study of natural human languages exists in the structure of both languages.
However not all morphological processes are applicable in both languages. While there exists
some points of commonalities, there equally, exists some points of dissimilarities.
Though the concept of morphology is eminent in both languages, it is unique to both
respectively. Igala language is more agglutinating and semantic inclined than its English
counterpart, which is more syntactic and inflectional. (6)
Zubairu Hussaini, and Waziri Ahmed, Carried out an investigation on nominal
reduplication process in Hausa and Yoruba languages. They discussed reduplication as one of
the three main morphological processes i.e. Affixation reduplication and modification in
Hausa and Yoruba languages. From the three processes of word formation, they considered
reduplication process in Hausa and Yoruba. Complete and partial reduplication were
identified and illustrated.
The reduplication process led to derivation and formation of
nominal in two languages, and the processes also change grammatical category of a word, like
changing adjectives, adverbs, nouns etc. to a nominal category.
The study had equally revealed the process of reducing the intensification function of
a word to a lesser function among the two languages. It also expressed how the reduplication
change the grammatical item to specify a gender function, plurality, intensification of action
etc. in a normal derivation. It was also found out that despite the fact that Hausa and Yoruba
are entirely from different African language groups, but nominal reduplication occurs in the
two languages. For instance Mu’azu (10) observes that Hausa is a gender language while
Yoruba from an investigation is not. This indicated that the gender languages, among African
languages are more in acquisition than the non-gender ones.
Aliyu Salihu, Undertook a study on morphological processes of Gbari and English
from the contrastive angle. In the study, he investigated the similarities and differences
between the two languages. He used Gbari expressions which have been generated through
interview and casual conversation. He classified and discussed the data obtained according to
different morphological processes which include affixation reduplication, replacives, clipping
(subtraction), borrowing (loans) conversion, coinage, elision and compounding. The result
indicated that Gbari employs both inflectional and derivational morphemes just like English.
However, most of the processes found in Gbari appear to be unique in their range of
application order of appearance and distribution. It has shown for instance, that in English the
plural morpheme –‘s’ is suffixed to the operand (at the end), while in Gbari the plural
morpheme ‘a’-, is prefixed at the beginning of a word. The result also revealed that the
morphological processes in Gbari also vary significantly in terms of productivity. Prefixation,
suffixation, compounding and reduplication for instance, appear to have the highest degree of
productivity. Followed by clipping, borrowing and coinage; and the least of them all is
replacive. However, the processes of ablaut, blending and acronym which exist in English are
not realized in Gbari. (2)
Tania Ionin and Keneth Wexler, Carried out a study on the first language (L1) Russian
Children acquiring English as a second language (L2). They investigated the reasons behind
the omission of verbal inflection in L2 acquisition and argued for presence of functional
categories in L2 grammar the analyses of spontaneous production data had shown that the
child L2 learner (n=20), while omitting inflection almost never produce incorrect
cause/agreement morphology. Furthermore, the L2 learners use suppletive inflection at a
significantly high rate than affixal inflection, and over generate be auxiliary forms in utterance
lacking progressive participles (e.g; they are help people). A
grammaticality judgment task
of English tense/ agreement morphology similarly had shown that the child L2 English
learners are significantly more sensitive to the “ be” paradigm than to inflection on thematic
The findings suggested that tense is present in the learners L2 grammar, and that it is
instantiated through forms of be auxiliary. It was argued that omission of inflection is due to
problems with the realization of surface morphology, rather than to feature impairment in
accordance with the missing surface inflection Hypothesis of Prevost and white (20) it was
furthermore suggested that L2 learners initially associate morphological agreement with verbraising and thus acquired forms of be before inflectional morphology on in situ thematic
verbs. (95)
Xiaoli Bao undertook an empirical study on the mongolian learners’ morphological
errors in their English writing and tried to analyze why they make such errors. This was done
using contractive analysis Error analysis and Inter language premises. The result of the study
revealed that some of the mongolian students’ morphological errors are interlingua which are
caused by the interference from mongolian students and others are intralingua which are
caused by over-generalization, ignorance of the rule restrictions, incomplete application of
rules, and false concept hypothesis. The rest are caused by Mongolian students’ Second
language, Chinese. The result of the study also indicated that the characteristics of these errors
are simple, and primary. As for the interlingual error, teachers should be patient, because
students will little by little approach the target language with hard work. These errors may
eventually disappear. As for the intralingual errors, it happens because, Mongolian students
have had laid a solid foundation of English basic knowledge. Therefore, it is significant for
mongolian students to work hard. (62)
Aida Kurani, and Anita Muho Conducted a study on the morphological processes of
Albanian and English languages. The aim of the study was to point out the similarities and
differences of English and Albanian languages in the morphological level. They did this by
comparing different parts of speech of both languages. They had analyzed nouns, verbs,
adverbs, adjective structures, the use of articles, pronouns etc. They found out from the study
that, morphological similarities between the languages taken in consideration are significantly
greater than the differences. Grammatical categories of the Albanian language are very close
to those of the English language.
Nouns in the Albanian language show notable gender, case and number. Nouns in the
English language have the category of number (singular, Plural) as in Albanian, but, don’t
emphasize the grammatical category of gender.
The result of the study equally indicated that, in English language, gender does not
manifest the characteristics of a grammatical category, but is generally regulated by the
semantics and meaning. The Albanian language has three genders of nouns: Feminine,
Masculine and neutral gender. English adjectives do not change as generally happens in
Albanian language they remain unchanged, in both the number and gender. The Albanian
language is a synthetic-analytical language, with a dominance of synthetic features and an
analytical trend, While English is an analytical-synthetic language. Being an analytical
language, English does not mark all words as the part of speech it belongs to, for example: the
words break outlaw, have their own forms of verbal of nominal or suffix-ly is the indicator
that defines the word as an adverb, but not all the adverbs end in the suffix-by and not all the
words ending with the suffix-ly are adverbs. For examples: the words washed straight, clear,
tomorrow, slow, fast crosswise are adverbs, while leisurely lovely, lively, womanly, princely
school-ly, silly, ugly are adjectives (28)
Acheoah J Emike Conducted a Study on the contrastive analysis of English and
Afenmai Morphology. The study examined the morphological processes in English and
Afenmai, a language of the Esako people of Edo State of Nigeria, a multilingual speech
community. He based his analyses on the Agenebode dialect of Afenmai. Having examined
the structure and word formation processes in Agenebode dialect of Afenmai and invariably in
human language. Minute elements know as morphemes abound in many Afenmai and English
words. However, these elements could be classified in binary opposition: free as opposed to
bound, root as opposed to affix, prefix as opposed to suffix. The morphemic components
could be combined in a variety of ways in the process of word formation both in English and
Afenmai. He had aligned with Chomsky (11) who had contended that languages have
The study has investigated morphological processes in English and Afenmai through
a contrastive-analyst approach. Peculiarities in the morphological processes of the two
languages as well as their areas of differences and similarities, believed to be of pedagogical
relevance, have been elucidated. The study had observed that morphology is very relevant to
grammar: the rules of word formation in English and Afenmai and by extension, in other
languages of the word, help us to know word class (parts of speech) of different words. For
example, the word “manage” which is a verb becomes a noun when the suffix “-ment” is
affixed to it. similarly, Afenmai “mie” (see) which is a verb becomes an adjective when the
prefix “ono” (agentive) is affixed to it to form” onomie” (one who sees); also the rules of
word formation make it clear to us that there are cases of zero morpheme in the shifting of
words (word class shift from one part of speech to another). The result of the investigation had
shown the followings.
The word formation process known as derivation is common in Afenmai. However,
inflections are rare therein; thus, English is synthetic while Afenmai is analytic.
The study had established that the morphological processes common to English and
Afenmai are prefixing, compounding, derivation of one word-class from another and
reduplication. Reduplication is more salient in Afenmai, while suffixation (both inflectional
and derivational) is a more productive morphological process in English than in Afenmai; it is
rare in Afenmai. Also, unlike Afenmai, English pronouns show clear-cut functional
inflections. The two basic ways of forming words in English are derivation and
Compounding. Inflection which is a change in the form of a word to convey grammatical
concepts such as agentive, word-class shift, tense, number etc could be derived through
affixation internal change of word elements, reduplication and prosodic features such as tone
placement (29).
Peter .K. Muriungi et al embarked on another study on the errors of English as
second language learners. The study focused on the nature and typology of errors that primary
school pupil in Nembure Division, Embu County, kenya make in the acquisition of English as
a second language. a written task in the form of a composition was administered to collect
data from 182 class seven pupils. Error analysis approach was adopted in the analysis of the
data collected. The following areas were examined to assess the errors of the L2 learners
Regularization of Irregular plurals and irregular verbs
Omission of plural ‘s’
Omission/wrong use of proposition
Miss ordering errors
Wrong use of “me” as a subject
Lack of gender agreement
Errors regarding auxiliaries
Lack of agreement (disconcord)
attachment of the past marker to and infinitive
Omission of verbs
mother tongue influence,
spelling errors and,
use of wrong auxiliary
Errors found in the learners’ work were classified as being morphological,
phonological, and lexical and others fell into the general linguistic category. The fact that
learners make mistakes indicated that they have not mastered English language rules and
norms. The study has revealed that primary school pupils in Nembure Division have a serious
problem in the area of spelling and phonetics. This is due to the fact that many spelling errors
were found in the data that was analyzed. This could also be explained by the fact that
learners lack adequate exposure to the spoken and written English language. (87)
Maria Moure Pena Ventured into Contrastive analysis Study on the word formation
processes of English and Spanish languages. The aim was to contrast mechanisms English and
Spanish have for coining words that prior did not belong to the language, to describe and
exemplify each of them and to determine the frequency and productivity they have in each
language. Data were sourced from specialized books in linguistics, dictionaries and
WebPages, documentaries and the researcher’s intuitive knowledge. The word formation
processes taken into consideration were: derivation compounding, clipping, borrowing, back
formation, acronyms, blending and Neologisms.
The outcome of the study has established that languages are constantly changing and
in order to expand, they have a series of word formation processes. In English and Spanish,
there have been corresponding coinage mechanisms, although, they vary in frequency and
backformation, acronyms and blending. Derivation and borrowing are highly prolific
mechanisms in both languages; compounding is very much used in English, but, not so
common in Spanish; the rest are less prolific and more or less equally frequent in both
languages. The study concluded that Spanish is more reticent to neologisms, particularly those
who have entered the language from foreign words. English on the other hand on the overall
praises itself for being so receptive and having such a wide lexicon.
The particular status of English nowadays gives it much more freedom. As music,
Science Politics and other fields are predominantly monopolized by the English speaking
world other languages feel defensive for such a heavy load of terms that can be barely
assimilated by the language, and so there is tendency for acquiring needless words and
expressions in detriment for the mother tongue. (398).
Jamal A. Salim Carried out a study on the noun morphology of the English and
Arabic languages. The aim of the study was to compare and contrast the noun, morphology of
both languages and to determine the points where they differ. These differences are the main
causes of difficulty in the learning of the second language. This is to direct teaching at those
points where there are structural differences, which in turn determines what the teacher has to
teach and what the learner has to learn. The study adopted contrastive analysis method in the
analysis of the data which are purely noun morphological processes of English and Arabic
languages. The end product of the study unveiled the following facts.
That both languages share some common features as well as several differences. In
the light of such findings, the linguistic problems of the Arabic speaker learning English may
be solved. In other words, through the comparison and contrast, the teacher will be aware of
the structures of the two languages and the areas of difficulties of the learners at the
morphological level. The study also aspired to benefit both the teachers and the textbook
writers of English and Arabic as foreign languages. (122)
Johanne Paradis had undertaken another study on the language characteristics of the
second language learners. The study was conducted to examine whether the expressive
language characteristics of typically developing (TD) children learning English as a second
language (ESL) have similarities to the characteristics of the English that is spoken by the
monolingual with specific language impairment (SLI), and whether this could result in the
erroneous assessment of TD English-language learners (ELLs) as language impaired.
Twenty-four TD language minority children who had been learning ESL for an
average of 9.5 months participated in the study. The children’s accuracy and error types in
production of the following grammatical morphemes were examined in spontaneous and
elicited speech: third person singular [-s], past tense [-ed] irregular past tense, Be as copula
and auxiliary verb, Do as an auxiliary verb, progressive [-ing], prepositions ‘in’ and “on”,
plural [-s], and determiners “a” and “the”. The elicitation probes were part of a recently
developed standardized test for identifying language impairment, the Test of Early
Grammatical Impairment (TEGI; Martins Rice and Kenneth Wexler 200).
The result explained that the English language learners’ accuracy rates and error
patterns with the grammatical morphemes were similar to those that have been reported for
same-age monolingual children with SLI, in both spontaneous and elicited speech. In addition,
the Ell’s elicitation probe scores were compared to criterion scores and group means from the
sample of monolingual children used to develop the TEGI and their performance on the TEGI
was in the range of the clinical population even though, there is no reason to suspect that any
of these children is language impaired Both analyses point to the possibility that Typically
Developing English Language Learners could be mistaken as language impaired (172).
Silvina Montrul also conducted another study on the morphological errors in Spanish
Second language learners and heritage speakers. The study was done consequent upon the fact
that post puberty second language (L2) learners often omit or use the wrong affix for nominal
and verbal inflections in oral production, but less so in written tasks. The study used the
Missing surface hypothesis which states that, second language (L2) learners have in fact
functional projections, but errors stem from problems during production only (a mapping or
processing deficit). The study indicated that morphological variability is also characteristic of
heritage speakers (early bilingual of ethnic minority languages) who were exposed to the
family language naturalistically in early childhood but failed to acquire age-appropriate
linguistic competence in the language. However, because, errors in heritage speakers are more
frequent in written than in oral tasks, the missing surface inflection hypothesis does not apply
to them. The discussion considers how morphological errors in the two populations seem to
be related to the type of experience.
The study sourced data from a large-scale research project conducted with 72 second
language learners (L2) of Spanish and 70 Spanish heritage Speakers. It investigates the overall
linguistic competence of L2 learners and heritage speakers in a variety of grammatical areas,
including phonology, lexical knowledge, gender agreement, object clitics and object marking,
Wh-movement, and tense-aspect and mood. The study concluded that the second language
learners of Spanish and Spanish heritage speakers differ from fully fluent native speakers in
the percentage rates of morphological errors with gender agreement, DOM and tense-aspect
and mood morphology in oral production and in untimed written tasks. Because, inflectional
morphology is (apparently) equally problematic in the two groups. The study enquired
whether the existing theories of morphological variability in second language acquisition
(SLA) can easily be extended to heritage language acquisition. It also declared that
morphological variability may be symptomatic of underlying syntactic deficits: Second
language learners make errors because; they lack the relevant abstract morph syntactic
knowledge at the level of linguistic representations. A specific prediction of this position
formulated by prevost and White is that second language learners should have the same
problems with inflectional morphology in oral production and untimed written tasks (163).
As a result of the above, this study can project that morphological problems are likely
to be found among the Hausa English learners in their written expressions due to variations in
word-formation processes in English and Hausa languages. This validates the current
Endeavour which is to examine the similarities and differences that exist in the morphological
processes of the two languages.
Chapter Three
Theoretical Framework and Research Methodology
3.0 Introduction
The chapter dwells on the procedures and methods employed in collecting of data for the
research work. The discussion is principally done on the following sub-headings:
Theoretical framework,
Research design,
Data collection technique, and
Method of data analysis.
3.1 Theoretical Framework
3.1.1 Contrastive analysis theory
Contrastive analysis is the systematic study of pair of languages with a view to identifying
their structural differences and similarities. Contrastive Analysis was rooted in the practical
need to teach a second language in the most effective way possible. Its psychological base is
behaviorism and linguistic base is structuralism.
Contrastive analysis theory was first formulated by Fries in 1940’s and brought into
academic discourse by Robert Lado when he wrote his famous monograph Linguistics Across
cultures(190). In this book, he claimed that “those elements that are similar to his native
language will be simple for him and those elements that are different will be difficult.” This
conviction that linguistic differences could be used to predict learning difficulty produced the
notion of contrastive analysis hypothesis (CAM): “where two languages were similar, positive
transfer would occur, where they were different, negative transfer or interference would
result” (Larsen-Freeman, 253). Lado also emphasizes the importance of comparison between
the second language and the native language in terms of teaching. He holds that” the teacher
who has made a contrast of the foreign language with the native language of the students will
know better what the real problems are and provide for teaching them.” (102) Contrastive
analysis theory also has a certain guiding significance to today’s English teaching in our
schools. It can help foreign language teachers to understand and predict what kinds of errors
students may make in their English learning so as to nip in the bud. According to Lado quoted
in Gast “Contrastive analysis is a scientific description of language to be learned carefully
compared with a parallel descriptive of the native language of the learner” (qtd in Volker Gast
2). The observation of Lado aptly highlighted the linguistic variants and discrepancies as well
as similiarities that are inherent in human languages across the globe.
Though it was
propounded in (1957), for pedagogical reasons, the theory swayed in the 1960s and early
1970’s. According, to wikipedia 2012:
Contrastive analysis was exetensively used in the field of second Language
Aquisition(SLA) in the 1960s and early 1970s as a method of explaining why
some of the features of a target language were more didfficult to acquire than
others. According to the behaviourist theories prevailing at the time, language
learning was a question of habit of formation and this could be reinforced or
impeded by existing habits. Therefore, the difficulty in mastering certain
structures in a second language (L2) depends on the differences between the
learners’ (L1) and the language they are trying to learn. The views of scholars at
the time were what Lado claims: that those elements which are similar to (the
learner’s) native language will be simple for him, and those that are different
will be difficult.(NP)
Several other scholars have their views as to what Constrastive analysis is all about too.
Johnson opines that contrastive analysis is “contrasting of series of statements about
similarities and differences between two languages”. He doubts the effectiveness of the
theory. He claims that the theory has been over estimated and is of the view that not all errors
committed by a language learner can be predicted (qtd in Sam Onuigbo &Joy Eyisi 76). He
points out that the differences identified in contrastive analysis may not cause the same degree
of difficulty, neither can such degree of difficulty be predicted. He suggests using contrastive
analysis to explain difficulties already found, rather than prediction of such problems or
difficulties. Johnson further adds that contrastive analysis should therefore be integrated with
error analysis, as this will better form an explanatory stage in error analysis. James in
Uzoigwe, Benita (73) and Jacek Fisiak in Rustipa (18) agree with the view by stating that
constrative analysis and error analysis are tools commonly used to solve certain problems
encountered in pedagogy. However, Dipietro and Corder cited in Uchegbuanam (11) agreed
with Lado to have done a critical work “having explanatory power” with a structural linguistic
orientation. The basic premise of Lado’s (263) Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis is that
language learning can be more successful when two languages (the native and the foreign) are
similar. Some linguists call this situation “positive transfer” in an overview of Lado’s
contrastive analysis hypothesis.
On the other hand, the theory stipulates that learning willl be quite difficult or even
unsuccessful when the two languages are different. Hence, second language teaching should
concentrate on the differences with little or no emphasis on similarities (Khansir Akbar 1028).
Fries in Lado claims that the problems of learning a second language do not arise as a result of
difficulties in the features of the new language itself, but because of the already existing habits
formed from the first language acquisition. Meisel Jurgen, in Onuigbo and Eyisi (76) makes
an interesting contribution to the concept of contrastive analysis. He states that modern
contrastive analysis is concerned primarily with synchronic study of two languages- L1 and
L2. Within the synchronic study, he points out that the analyst engages in what he calls
“confrontive” Linguistics analysis and “contrastive analysis derived from the distinction
between “Confrontive Grammar, which shows the correspondence and similarities between
two languages. He also does a good job by tracing the componential nature and origin of
contrastive analysis that it emanates from contrastive grammar.
Lazarus Ogenyi (665) opines that a proper understanding of English grammar
(morphology and syntax) is difficult without a thorough knowledge of word-classes and the
rules governing their combination.
Chinyere Ngonebu (19) maintains that the nature of the English poses problems to the
learners of English as a second language, explaining that such problems emanate from the
inherent features of the phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics of English. She reveals
that those inconsistencies are sometimes confusing and complicated to a second language
L. C. Ogenyi (680) notes, “The very nature of English language makes it difficult for
second language learners to achieve the type of efficiency contained in Hodges and Whitten’s
words”. He further states that, English has peculiar inherent characteristics; and these
characteristics have adverse implication in the enterprise of teaching and learning the
language by second language teachers and learners respectively”.
The relevance of a theory or theories to scholarly research must always find a premium.
The relevance of Contrastive Analysis theory to this study is a synchronic study that focuses
on the current Hausa and the English morphological processes. As such, the theory of
contrastive Analysis (CA) is used in this study. The work employs Contrastive analysis theory
because it deals with word structures of two languages: English and Hausa. The theory is
adopted on the account that no two languages are completely the same with the other. Uzozie
agrees with this view: that every human language has its own peculiarities in word-formation,
syntax, phonology, semantics and pragmatics (79). The theory will enhance the achievement
of the primary objective of this work, which is to compare the two different languages, Hausa
and English, with the aim of underscoring the similarities and differences of their
morphological processes for pedagogical purposes.
With regard to the above reasons, it is observed by the proponents and supporters of
contrastive analysis that for proper learning to take place, the second language teacher must be
conversant with the rules guiding the structures in the first language which are similar to the
second language and those that are different so as to detect where to encounter problems. If
this is not properly outlined, the learner is liable to commit errors in the target language,
because, he will transfer those habits from the L1 to the target language (TL). Allen John and
Corder Pit (14) state: “a learner of
a foreign [second] language has already had well
developed articulatory movement and perpetual strategies before his exposure to a new
language. As such, he hears and produces words in the target language in terms of his native
phonological categories”. This means that for an English learner who has possessed the Hausa
language as L1 to learn English, his major impediments can be morphological processes,
hence Contrastive Analysis theory for this work.
3.2 Research methodology
3.2. 1 Research Design
According to Merrian-Webster Dictionary, design is a plan or protocol for carrying
out or accomplishing something (as a scientific experiment). It can be looked at as an outline
from which something may be made. Research design can be a plan or a blue print which
specifies how data relating to a given problem would be collected and analysed. It provides
the procedure and/or outline for the conduct of any investigation. It is a detailed outline of
how an investigation will take place (Boniface Nworgu, (67). A research design will typically
include how data is to be collected, what instrument will be used and the intended means for
analysing data collected (Business 2013).
This study makes use of descriptive research design since the study is aimed to
undertake a comparative study of morphological processes of two different languages, English
and Hausa. Descriptive research design is a type of research method that is used when one
wants to get information on the current status of a person or an object. It is used to describe
what is in existence in respect to conditions or variables that are found in a given situation. To
Onyekachi Eze, (29) descriptive research design studies are “mainly concerned with
descriptive events as they are without any manipulation of what is being observed. Any study
which seeks merely to find what is and describes it, is known as descriptive research” (69).
This research design is appropriate to the work because the research is basically to
probe the topic to generate ideas for it as a native speaker of Hausa and user of English as a
second language. The generated data will be effectively analysed without manipulation or
distortion. This will be in consonant with the definition of descriptive research as “the type
used to describe characteristics of a population or phenomenon being studied. It does not
answer questions about how/when/ why the characteristics occurred. Rather it addresses the
‘what’ question (what are the characteristics of the population or situation being studied?). (
Patricia Shields and Nandhini Rangaranjan 109-158).
3.3 Instruments for Data Collection
Sequel to the above exposition, data for this study were obtained from various sources
principally of secondary source such as textbooks, journals, articles in English and Hausa
languages as well as electronic media. The researcher has visited several libraries particularly
Nnamdi Azikiwe Library of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Department of Hausa
language, College of Education, Zing, Department of languages and linguistics Taraba State
University, Jalingo.
The researcher, being a native speaker of Hausa language and the user of English as a
second language made a great deal of his personal observation and analysis of the English and
Hausa Word-formation processes. Equally, through in-depth interview using unstructured
questions, the researcher had obtained data from renowned Hausa linguists at College of
Education Zing and Taraba State University, Jalingo where the Hausa language is studied at
N.C.E and Degree levels respectively.
3.4 Data Collection Technique
Within each general research approach one or some data collection techniques may be
used. Typically according to Lars Lyberg and Daniel Kisprzyk “ a researcher will decide for
one (or multiple) data collection techniques while considering its/their overall appropriateness
to the research, along with other practical factors such as : expected quality of the collected
data, estimated cost, predicted non-response rates, expected level of measure errors and length
of the possible data collection period” (Wikipedia, 2013), Kerlinger observes that” it is of
course possible that a given research question may not be satisfactorily studied because
specific data collection techniques do not exist to collect data needed to answer such a
question” (Wikipedia 2013). The most popular data collection technique include: surveys,
secondary data sources or archival data, objective measures or test and interviews.
3.5 Method of Data Analysis
The main aim of the study basically is to do a comparative analysis of English and
Hausa morphological processes. As the research design is descriptive, the comparative
analysis method to be employed for data analysis is descriptive in nature.”In the descriptive
method, the data collected are organised in such a way that it describes the nature and type of
data collected. This can be done by using tables” (Thomas Lindlof & Bryan Taylor 2010).
This will be helpful in making better decisions. It will also be easier to identify the differences
and similarities in the English and Hausa word-formation processes compared using tables.
Chapter Four
Data Analysis
4.0 Introduction
In this chapter we present and analyze the data collected for the purpose of this study.
An attempt is therefore, made to compare the principal morphological processes of the
languages, bringing out their inherent similarities and differences. It is assumed that
establishing the differences and similarities will aid in the examination of the linguistic
relationships that exist between the two languages under study. By so doing, we will
determine the degree at which English interferes with Hausa at the morphological level.
Rather than adopt the pedagogic or prescriptive approach in our analysis, the
researcher has adopted the descriptive with the help of Nida model in line with the views of
Oyetunde when he asserts that:
Teaching needs to be based on the best possible description of the language
being taught. And the better, the fuller, the more accurate description is the more
the chance the teacher will have to assist the learner in his growing mastery of
the structure of the new language. Without such knowledge, there will be little
possibility of satisfactory sequencing of materials, no chance of distinguishing
mistakes from systematic errors which are the best evidence that language
learning is taking place (27).
Thus, the analysis carried out in this chapter is predicted on the following:
1- Acronyms
2 -Affixation
3 - Alternation
4 – Backformation
5 – Blending
6 – Borrowing
7 – Clipping
8 – Coinage
9 – Compounding
10 - Reduplication
Therefore, a sample of the comparative analysis is given, taken each process one after
the other.
The Comparative Analysis of the Processes in English and Hausa
4.1.1 Acronyms
English exhibits this feature as one of its word – formation processes, thus a lot of its
words are formed through acronyms. These are pronounced either alphabetically or as words
(retaining or losing their capital letters) as can be seen below: The Division of Acronyms
(a) Those pronounced alphabetically which are called ‘alphabetisms’, e.g. CD
(‘Computer Disk’), VCR (‘Video Cassette Recorder’), NFL (‘National Football League) etc.
(b) Those pronounced as single words (with capital letters) e.g. NATO (North Atlantic
Treaty Organization), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency),
UNESCO (United Nation Educational, Science and Cultural Organization),
UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), AIDS (Acquire
Immune Deficiency Syndrome), etc.
(c) Those pronounced as single words but lost their capitals e.g. laser (light
amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), radar (radio detecting and ranging), scuba
(self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), zip (zone improvement plan), etc.
It is observed that this is the only group of acronyms that is written without capital
letters, the rest appear in capitals.
Those formed as names of organizations, e.g. MADD (mothers against drunk
driving), WAR (woman against rape), etc.
(e) Those, recently, used in banking sector, e.g. ATM (Automated Teller Machine), PIN
(Personal Identification Number), etc.
It should be noticed that Hausa lacks it; thus, it does not form any word through
4.1.2 Affixation
Abubakar Abdulhamid considers affixation as ‘a morphological process which
involves attaching a formative to an existing word: complex words which can be neatly
segmented into roots and affixes are realized by means of affixation’ (1). In English, there are
several categories of affixes depending on their position with reference to the stem or simply
according to their physical position relative to roots. It has been observed, therefore, that
English exhibit categories of affixes which are far more than that of Hausa. English uses
affixes like prefixes, suffixes or postfixes, infixes, circumfixes, interfixes, duplifixes,
transfixes, simulfixes, suprafixes and difixes; while Hausa uses only prefixes suffixes and
infixes. Perhaps this may be the reason that made Quirk et al point out ‘affixation’ as one of
the chief processes of English word-formation (78). Let us look at some examples of the
common affixes in the two languages:
Prefix –stem
Hausa – bahaushe
(Hausa man)
English –beautify
Appears at the front of a
Appears at the back of a
St (infix)em
Appears within a stem
English –uncountable
Circumfix-Stem- One portion appears at the
front of a stem and the
other at the rear.
The Positional Categories of Affixes
Affixes are divided into several categories, depending on their position with reference
to the stem, as Elson Benjamin and Pickett Velma who observe that “several kinds of affixes
can be recognized depending on the way they occur with roots” (12). Based on that, Robins
(10), Matthews (97) and Crystal (80) agreed that in English affixes are divided into prefixes,
suffixes and infixes. In another development Elson and Pickett (12) classify affix morphemes
based on their physical position relative to roots as prefixes, suffixes, infixes, suprafixes and
According to Elson and Pickett, prefixes occur before roots; suffixes occur after roots,
infixes occur inside the roots themselves (that is inside the words). They go further to explain
that “in some languages, morphemes are composed of (or include) suprasegmental phonemes
such as tone or stress. Frequently, segmental phonemes (vowels and consonants) and
suprasegmental phonemes combine to form morphemes, but in some cases the suprasegmental
phonemes alone indicate the meaning. Such morphemes may be called “suprafixes”. Suprafix
morphemes are usually described in statement form, but also may be symbolized by using a
neutral symbol for the segmental phonemes with which they occur. In contrast to prefixes,
suffixes and infixes which are pronounced before, after, or in the middle of the root,
suprafixes are pronounced simultaneously with the root.
In addition to that, another kind of simultaneous affix has been called a simulfix. This
term, for Elson and Pickett, could be applied to any simultaneous morphemic features other
than those considered to be composed of suprasegmental phonemes (that is, pitch, stress,
length). Wallis (1956) uses this term in describing the aspect system of Mezquital Otimi,
which includes a simultaneous addition of certain phonemic features to the initial consonant
of the stem. The addition may be a single phoneme, sometimes pronounced before the initial
consonant, sometimes after it; or it may be less than a phoneme (e.g., voicing), and
pronounced simultaneously with the initial root consonant as one phonetic segment. For
example, completive aspect is signaled by a feature of palatization simulfixed to roots
beginning with /? / or /h/, and by a component of voicing simulfixed to roots beginning with a
voiceless consonant and other than /? / or /h/.
According to The free encyclopedia (2008), prefix and suffix are extremely common
terms. Infix and circumfix are less so, as they are not important in European languages. The
other terms are uncommon, as listed below:
Speedo meter
Appears at the front
of a stem
Appears to the back of
a stem
Appears within a stem
One portion
appears at the front
of a stem, and the
other at the rear
Links two stems
together in a
Incorporates a
Maltese: ‘kiteb’
(he wrote) compare
root ktb (write)
Mouse –mice
Produce (noun)
Produce (verb)
“tipasl;” stm (break)
The free encyclopedia (2008)
portion of a stem
(may occur in
front, at the rear, or
within the stem)
S<transfix>te<transfix>m A discontinuous affix
That interleaves within
a discontinuous stem
Changes a segment of
a stem
A stem
The elision of
portion of a stem
Furthermore, prefix and suffix may be combined as “adfix”, a term that is rarely used
except in contrast with infix. In transcription, for example, in the third column in the chart
above, simple affixes such as prefixes and suffixes are shown connected to the stem with
hyphens. Affixes which disrupt the stem, or which themselves are discontinuous, are often
marked off with angle brackets. Reduplication is often shown with a tilde.
At this juncture, let us have a comparative analysis of affixation in the two languages:
(1) Prefixation
Both English and Hausa exhibit this feature in their morphological process. In the two
languages, prefixes are used for derivational and inflectional purposes, for example:
English – pre (prefix) + school (stem) = preschool
Post (prefix) + war (stem) = postwar
Inter (prefix) + national (stem) = international
Hausa – ba (prefix) + kauyee (village) = bakauyee (villager)
ma (prefix) + kiira (blacksmithing) = makeerii (blacksmith)
mai (prefix) + barnaa (destroying) = maibarnaa (destroyer)
It can be seen from the examples that English uses many prefixes which Quick et al
(442) describe as:
(i) Reversative prefixes these reverse the action or the meaning of the stems to which
they are attached. English, therefore, uses four prefixes such as:
un, non, dis and iI, to reverse the action to their attachments, such as:
un + believable = unbelievable
non + standard = nonstandard
dis + respect = disrespect
il + legitimate = illegitimate
Hausa which is used to indicate negation exhibits only one that shows this linguistic
phenomenon – marar; as it appears in such words as:
marar + kookarii (intelligent) = marar – kookarii (dull)
marar + goodiya (grateful) = marar – goodiyaa (ungrateful person)
Pejorative prefixes express contempt. In English, there are two prefixes of this kind –
mis and mal as in:
mis + calculate = miscalculate
mis + adventure = misadventure
mal + administration = maladministration
mal + nutrition = malnutrition
In Hausa, one could not find pejorative prefixes.
Prefixes of degree or size – This kind of prefixes, in English, shares grade or size or
extent of something such as super, under and out as in:
super + structure = superstructure
super + impose = superimpose
under + weight = underweight
under + state = understate
out + building = outbuilding
out + class = outclass
This group of prefixes is not found in Hausa.
(iv) Prefixes of attitude – These indicate the behaviour of something or somebody towards
another, such as anti, counter and co as in:
anti + climax= anticlimax
anti + personnel = anti-personnel
counter + balance = counterbalance
counter + blast + counterblast
co + produced = co-produced
co + exist = coexist
Prefixes of attitude do not exist in Hausa, too.
Locative prefixes – English uses this kind of prefixes but Hausa
does not use them. Locative prefixes indicate the actual setting, or
position, or mixture of something, such as trans and inter as in:
trans + form = transform
trans + figure = transfigure
inter + link = interlink
inter + connect = interconnect
Prefixes of time and order are such prefixes that could be found in
English, but not in Hausa. They are used to indicate time, suchprefixes include, pre,
port, and re as in:
pre + caution = precaution
pre + date = predate
post + impressionist = post-impressionist
post + date = postdate
re + decoration = redecoration
re + entered = re-entered
Number prefixes are used in English to indicate quantity such as di,
bi, mono, uni and tri as in:
di + syllabic = disyllabic
di + plane = biplane
bi + annual = biannual
mono + plane = monoplane
mono + rail = monorail
uni + corn = unicorn
uni + lateral = unilateral
tri + lingual = trilingual
tri + colour = tricolour
These prefixes, also, are not found in Hausa.
Conversion prefixes are those prefixes that English uses to create some words that
indicate state of conversion, but Hausa lacks such prefixes; for example be and en as
be + little = belittle
be + friend = befriend
en + danger = endanger
en + case = encase
Hausa, on the other hand, exhibits only four prefixes: ba, ma, mai and maras.
The ba prefix, in Hausa, has the idea of “man of” as in:
ba + Turai (Europe) = batuuree (European)
ba + kudu (south) = bakudee (southerner)
Another Hausa prefix is ma which has the idea of “doer of” as in:
ma + rubuutu (writing) + marubuucii (writer)
ma + gini (building) maginiii (builder)
The prefixes ma, in Hausa, also indicates the idea of ‘places’ as in:
ma + rini (dying) = marinaa (place for dying)
ma + auna (weigh) = ma’aunaa (place for selling grain)
Furthermore, ma prefix indicates the idea of ‘instrument’ as in:
ma + buudi (open) = mabuudii (key)
ma + kulli (lock) = makulli (locker)
Another prefix that Hausa uses to create words is mai which indicates “owner
of”, literarily; as in:
mai + tsafta (cleaniness) = mai – tsafta ( tidy man/woman)
mai + tafiyaa (traveling) = mai – tafiyaa (traveler)
The last Hausa prefix is maras which is a contraction of mai-rasa (loser of),
which becomes marar (lacking) as in:
marar + waayoo (wisdom) = marar – waayoo (foolish)
marar + hankalii (sense) = marar – hankalii (rude person)
(2) Suffixation
Suffixational morphemes exist in the morphology of the two languages. In English,
suffixation is considered as the commonest process that is involved in most lexical derivations
and in most inflectional formations. A derivational suffix, therefore, changes the syntactic
category of one word into another; for instance, in English, an adjective changes to noun
(happy - happiness), an adjective changes to verb (modern – modernize), a noun changes to
adjective (nation – national), a noun changes to verb (beauty – beautify), a verb changes to
adjective (pay – payable) or a verb changes to nominal (forming nouns from verbs), or
adjectival (forming adjectives from nouns, verbs and other adjectives) and adverbial (forming
adverbs from adjectives). Let us look at some examples:
Verbs to nouns: bombard + ment = bombardment
Adjective to nouns: blind + ness = blindness
Verbs to noun: signify + ant = significant
deter + ent = deterent
confess + or = confessor
compose + er = composer
(iv) Adjectives to verbs: conceptual + ize = conceptualize
black + en = blacken
Note – it should be noted that en could also be used with nouns to form
adjectives which indicates the idea of ‘made of’ as in:
gold + en = golden
verbal suffixes
wood + en = wooden
Nouns to verb: code + ify = codify, solid + ify + solidify
(iv) Noun to adjectives: dust + – y = dusty, ice + – y = icy
Note that – y could also be used with verbs to form adjectives (which indicates the
idea of “tending to”) or nouns (which indicates the idea of “the action or process of”) as in:
run + – y = runny
stick + – y = sticky
inquire + – y = inquiry
expire + – y = expiry
It should also be noted that – y (also – ie) appears with noun indicating small size or
as a form of a name, indicating affection as in: piggy, doggie, daddy, Suzie, etc
(v) Nouns or verbs to form adjectives
plenty + – ful = plentiful
beauty + – ful = beautiful
master + – ful = masterful
forget + – ful = forgetful
care + – ful = careful
(vi) Nouns to form adjectives:
tree + less = treeless
meaning + less = meaningless
hope + less = hopeless
(vii) Verbs to form adjectives:
pay + – able = payable
perish + – able = perishable
reverse + – ible = reversible
Note that ‘– able’ could be used with nouns to form adjectives (having or showing the
quality of) as in: fashion + able = fashionable
Adjectives to adverbs:
stupid + – ly = stupidly
accurate + – ly = accurately
Note that – ly could also be used with nouns to form adjectives (which indicate ‘having
the quality of’) as in:
coward + – ly = cowardly
scholar + – ly = scholarly
(ix) Nouns to adjectives and adverbs:
quarter + – ly = quarterly (adjective)
quick + – ly = quickly (adverb)
Suffixation in Hausa, on the other hand, occurs with the help of what Rufa’i calls
‘derivational suffixes’ to form some Hausa words (6). The Hausa derivative suffixes,
therefore, include: – ta, –nta, – taka, – ntaka, – ci, – nci, – wa, – au, – ayya and – eriya. These
suffixes are generally identified in deriving abstract ideas (or abstract nouns) or verbs as in the
following table:
(i) - ta
(ii) –nta
(iii) taka
Derived Word
being guest
youth hood
(iv) –
unmarried gwaurantakaa
being unmarried
being servant
(v) –ci
(vi) -nci
(vii) –
(viii) eni
just man
albarkacii n(abst)
mutual work
mutual love
(ix) –wa
pushing one
slapping one
to wet
very forgetful
be late
be very late
very playful
Rufa’i (19)
Derivational Suffixes
A derivational suffix is that morpheme that changes the class of a word to which it is
added: for example, “ly” changes the word ‘slow’ to ‘slowly’, and the word class changes
from adjective to adverb. According to the free encyclopedia (2008), in linguistics derivation
is used to form new words, as with ‘happi-ness’ and ‘un-happy’ from ‘happy’, or
‘determination’ from ‘determine’. A derivational suffix usually applies to words of one
syntactic category and changes them into words of another syntactic category.
Some examples of English derivational suffixes:
(a) Adjective – to – noun: ness (slow - slowness).
(b) Adjective – to – verb: ize (modern - modernize)
(c) Noun – to - adjective: al (recreation - recreational).
(d) Noun – to – verb: fy (glory - glorify)
(e) Verb – to – adjective: able (drink - drinkable).
(f) Verb – to – noun: ance (deliver - deliverance).
According to Agezi (98), derivational suffixes are used to derive a form class from
another. For instance, the noun (derivational) suffixes include:
- ment as in govern
- er as in teach
- al as in refuse
A derivational suffix can change a word from indicating a state of being into a process,
for example: (a) She is good to everyone.
(b) The goodness of the situation excites everyone.
Furthermore, with the adverbial suffix (-ly), there is a change from state to manner
plus the deletion of some words. For example:
(a) She is slow in her work.
(b) She works slowly.
The verb “is”, the preposition “in” and the possessive “her” in sentence (a) are deleted.
The free encyclopedia (2008) gives a sample of derivational suffixes in the following
Class(es) of word to Nature of change in
which suffix applies meaning
to noun
to adjective
Changes to adjective Print/printable
means ‘can undergo
action of verb’
The free encyclopedia (2008)
Derivational suffixes could also be grouped according to the words they
form, as Agezi (44) observes. These include:
(1) Nominal Suffixes
This group of suffixes is used to form nouns from verbs and adjectives, e.g.:
Added to Verbs
(a) – ment
Derived Words
Added to Adjectives
(b) – ness
Added to Verbs
(c) – ant
(d) – or
(e) – er
(2) Verbal Suffixes
These are suffixes used in forming verbs from mostly adjectives and nouns.
Added to Adjectives
Derived Words
(a) – ize
(b) – en
Added to Nouns
(c) – ify
(3) Adjectival Suffixes
These are suffixes used in forming adjectives from nouns, verbs and other adjectives, as
the case may be. Examples:
(a) – y
(b) – ful
(c) – less
Added to Nouns
Added to Verbs
(d) – able
Derived Forms
It should be noted that “able” is one of the exceptional morphemes that can stand
both as a bound morpheme (as seen in the given examples) or a free one, which can stand
alone without being attached to any root or base, as shown in the sentences below:
- She should be able to read simple sentences in Arabic.
- They seemed able to work together efficiently.
- You will be able to relax for some hours.
(4) Adverbial Suffixes
Some adverbs are formed from adjectives with the suffix below:
- ly
Added to Adjectives
To sum up this unit, it is found that derivational suffixes change the grammatical class
of the morphemes to which they are attached. Furthermore, in many cases, derivational affixes
change both the syntactic category and the meaning: modern - modernize (“to make
modern”). Thus, the modification of meaning is sometimes predictable: Adjective + ness the
state of being (Adjective)
e.g. stupid - stupidness.
Inflectional Suffixes
An inflectional suffix performs a grammatical function in a word without changing
the word class of that particular word, as Agezi observes: “Inflectional suffixes perform a
grammatical function without changing the word class of the morphemes they are attached to”
(47). In English, inflectional suffixes come at the end of a morpheme and no other affix can
come behind them.
According to Agezi, English has eight inflectional suffixes, which are:
(1) The plural suffix “-s” as in cats, dogs.
(2) The possessive suffix “s” as in hers, yours.
(3) The present (inflectional) suffix “-s” as in works, kicks.
(4) The past (inflectional) suffix “- ed” as in killed, slapped.
(5) The participle (inflectional) suffix “-en/-ed” as in eaten, chosen.
(6) The – ing (progressive) inflectional suffix as in teaching, cooking.
The comparative (inflectional) suffix “-er” as in finer, taller.
The superlative (inflectional) suffix “-est.” as in finest, tallest.(48)
According to Rubba Johanna, English has only three categories of meaning, which
are expressed inflectionally, known as inflectional categories. They are numbers in nouns,
tense/ aspect in verbs, and comparison in adjectives.
The English nouns could be either in singular or plural form. The plural suffix “- s”,
which is phonetically realized as /s/, /z/ and /iz/ (as in ‘cats’ and ‘rats’ /kǽts/, /rǽts/; ‘bags’
and ‘dogs’ /bǽgz/, /dogz/; ‘churches’ and ‘houses’ /ts3:tsiz/, /hauziz/, respectively), is
syntactically important in relation to number. Number is associated with the English nouns:
therefore, a noun phrase must agree with the verb it precedes in any construction. Examples
are drawn below:
(a) The cats are licking the milk.
(b) *The cats is licking the milk.
(c) The men are working on the farm.
(d) *The men is working on the farm.
Sentences (b) and (d) violate the rule that a singular NP or a singular subject takes a
singular verb, while a plural NP or a plural subject takes a plural verb (concord agreement).
Subject could be a noun, pronoun or their equivalent. Morphologically, the pronouns of
English can be divided into three groups, which are personal, relative and demonstrative
pronouns. The personal and demonstrative pronouns are inflected for number. Examples:
Based on the above examples, it is only the second person, personal pronoun “you” that
shows no change in the plural form. However, it has a plural in the reflexive (yourself –
Pronouns are also inflected in relation to case, that is, there are nominative, objective
and genitive cases. Examples:
As can be seen above, the first person singular “I” and the third person singular
“she” have irregular possessive formation.
Tense inflection in English affects the verb category. English verbs demonstrate
inflection in the following ways:
The infinitive “to” as in ‘to walk’, ‘to teach’.
The (- s) agreement morpheme or 3rd person singular form as in ‘walks’, ‘teaches’, etc.
iii. The (- ed) form (past tense) as in ‘walked’, ‘washed’
iv. The (-en) form (past participle) as in “written”, “driven”.
The (-ing) form (progressive or gerundive) as in” writing”, “driving”.
The various verb forms are exemplified below:
3rd person
singular form
Progressive/gerundive Past Tense
Past participle
To sing
To forget
To dance
To praise
To kill
To talk
To go
The free encyclopedia (2008).
The infinitive is the base form of a word and is regular, while verb inflection is not
regular in all cases. While the 3rd person singular and the progressive/gerundive remain
unchanged, the past participle shows variations in its inflectional forms from verb to verb,
although its regular forms are (-ed) and (-en), respectively. English verbs can be roughly
grouped into two categories: regular and irregular verbs. Concord is also another important
feature in the English verb system. There is the third person singular (inflectional) morpheme
‘-s’, which must always be suffixed to verbs in the present tense form. It demonstrates a
peculiar case in concord.
Examples: - John appears neat always.
- Patience cooks deliciously.
It is also germane to say that the tense used in a sentence should agree with the time
of the action, and this agreement is morphologically indicated in the main verb of the
sentence. Here, the present and past perfect forms demonstrate special features while relating
action to time. In English, the morphemes of the present and past perfect are ‘have + en’ and
‘had + en’, respectively. The perfect, whether present or past takes the form have (had) + past
participle of the main verb. The (-en) is suffixed to the main verb of the sentence to form the
past participle of the verb. Examples:
Present perfect form
Main verb
I have gone
We have gone
You have gone
You have gone
He/she has gone They have gone
Past Perfect Form
Main verb
I had gone
We had gone
You had gone
You had gone
He/She/ It had gone
They had gone
In the progressive (present or past), the progressive morpheme (-ing) is suffixed to the
main verb of the sentence. Examples:
Present Progressive
1st person
I am going
We are going
2nd person
You are going
You are going
3rd person
He/She/ It is going
They are going
Past -Progressive
1st person
I was going
We were going
2nd person
You were going
You were going
3rd person
He/She/It was going They were going
The comparative and superlative inflectional suffixes /-er/ and /-est/ operate in the
adjectival and adverbial categories. The /-er/ and /-est/ show the importance of morphemes
and generally inflections in syntax. /-er/ morpheme in adjectives is used when two things are
compared, while the /-est/ morpheme is used when more than two things are compared. For
example: big bigger biggest as in:
Sule has a big kettle
Bala’s kettle is bigger than Sule’s.
Musa’s kettle is the biggest of all.
/-er/ and /-est/ are used to show degree in adjectives. Longer adjectives, however, are not
inflected, rather lexical items ‘more’ and ‘most’ are added to the base. For example:
more beautiful
most beautiful
more handsome
most handsome
more wicked
most wicked
The process of suppletion also occurs with the English adjectives, for example: bad
worse worst
Morphologically, English adverbs are at times inflected with the morphemes (-er)
and (-est) for degree just like the adjectives. For example:
Concerning the inflectional categories of English affixes, Rubba (204) divides them
into two and summarizes them in a tabular form: Regular and irregular, thus:
Inflectional Categories and Affixes of English
1. The Regular Affixes
Word class to which Inflectional category
inflection applies
Regular affix used to express category
-s, -es; book/books, bush/bushes
-s, -‘: the cat’s tail, Charles’toe
singular -s, -es: it rains, Hafsah writes, the water
Past tense
-ed: paint/painted
Perfect aspect
-ed: paint/painted (has painted) (past
Progressive aspect
-ing: fall/falling, write/writing (present
(comparing two items)
Superlative (comparing
+ 2 items)
-er. Fall/taller
2. The Irregular Affixes
Here are some ways English inflectional morphology is irregular:
Type of irregularity
Noun plurals
Change of stem
Verbs: past
Verbs: past tense
seen, fallen,
Foot/feet Mouse/mice Run/ran, come/came, Swim/swum
fly/flew, stick/stuck,
get/got, break/broke
Change of stem
Feel/felt, kneel/knelt
vowel with unusual
Change in base form
Send/sent, bend/bent,
(sometimes with
unusual suffix)
teach/taught, buy/
(no Deer, sheep, fish
Hit, beat
More ways in which inflection can be irregular:
Sometimes, instead of a suffix to change, the whole word changes – this could be a verb
to be (be – am – are – is – was, - were, been); a main verb (go –went – gone); adjective (good
– better best), etc. This process is termed “suppletion”, a form of modification or alternation,
as observes in The Free Encyclopedia (2008) – which will be discussed fully in the next
process of word-formation.
This process, as Crystal observes, is not commonly found in European languages,
English inclusive, but it is commonly found in Asian, American, Indian and African
languages, Hausa inclusive (80). Fromkin Victoria and Rodman Robert note that English has
a very limited set of infixes, normally found in adjectives and adverbs (72). The common infix
used in America is the word ‘fuckin’ and all its euphemisms (e.g., friggin, freakin, fuggin);
while in Britain, a common infix is ‘bloody’ and its euphemisms too (e.g., bloomin).
However, in Hausa, infixation occurs in form of pluralization as in: kurame (deaf people) –
kurma (root) + -a (infix).
It should be noted that whereas the availability of prefixes and suffixes in the Hausa
language is not in doubt, that of infixes is believed to have resulted from an erroneous
perspective. Thus, there is a great controversy on the existence of infixes in Hausa. For
instance, Al-Hassan Bello says:
The so-called infixes in Hausa are, in truth, either transfixes or a relay of suffixes
that became obscured by phonology or deletion envisaged parallactically as
infixation. In two other instances, infixation either arose as a simple case of
unscrupulous use of terminology or was established on a seemingly desperate
premise, namely the non-occurrence of a tonal phenomenon. (6)
According to him, most of the instances that seem to be infixation are not really infixation, but
probably a process called “transfixation”. Furthermore, Al-Hassan states that samples of the
best enterprise in Hausa grammar discuss infixation with intersecting examples (6). For
instance the -aa- infixation is found in such cases as ‘kurtu’(recruit) > ‘kuraataa’ (recruits),and
‘kwalba’(bottle) > ’kwalaabee’(bottles). Those with –ee- infixation include ‘garmaa’(plough)
> ‘gareemanii’ (ploughs), and ‘salka’(skin bottle) >’saleekanii’ (skin bottles). There is –oo
infixation in ‘dabba’ (animal) > ’dabbobii’ (animals) and ‘mootaa’ (automobile) >’mootoocii’
(automobiles). Most of these and numerous other examples can be seen in Abubakar (4),
Al-Hassan (7) explains the formation of certain plurals in Hausa as the result of the
interaction of a tri-radical root and a composite affix. A word like ‘jirgi’ (boat’) forms its
plural by allowing the interlacing of the composite affix aa…… with the tri-radical root
jirg- where the first part of the composite affix (i.e., aa) enters the root before the third
consonant while the second part of the composite affix (i.e., ee) enters after the third
consonant to give rise to ‘jiraagee’(boats), the plural form. However, a word like
‘damoo’(monitor lizard) with its bi-radical root (like the above examples) dam- requires a
third consonant, which the language supplies by reduplicating the last consonant of the root
(i.e. /m/) to give rise to the required form damm-,thus fulfilling the condition of tri-radicality.
The interaction of the resultant root damm with the compound affix aa……ee now follows to
give rise to the plural damaamee (monitor lizards). This kind of morphology where a
discontinuous affix combines with a discontinuous root is known as transfixation.
Specifically, that affix is a transfix and not an infix. Transfixes lack the homogeneity and the
completely intra-root location of infixes, as seen in the examples above.
Therefore, the claims for the existence of infixation in Hausa, though justified, have
failed to stand the taste of time.
English exhibits this linguistic feature while forming some words; Hausa, on the other
hand, lacks it. For instance, in English words like: understatement –under (prefix) + state
(root) + ment (suffix); transformation – trans (prefix) + form (root) + ation (suffix);
disappointment – dis (prefix) + appoint (root) + ment (suffix are formed via circumfixation.
Furthermore, in English circumfixation could be noticed in several words such as:
unfriendly, ascattered, dislikeness, illegally, transplantation, monolingualism, bilingualism,
multilingualism, disestablishment, uncountable, etc which could be divided into parts thus:
root words
words realized
un –
dis –
il –
trans –
plant -
mono –
bi –
dis –
un -
Fromkin and Rodman (73)
In the above examples, it could be observed that all the circumfixed words are formed
with a formula: prefix + root word + suffix e.g. un (prefix) + friend (root word) + -ly (suffix)
will give the word “unfriendly”; the same process applies to other words given. This,
evidently, shows that more than one process of affixation could be applied to a single word to
create some English words.
To sum up this unit, affixation has been identified as one of the processes of wordformation. Affixation is an important process of morphology through which both derivational
and inflectional processes of morphology are realized. Affixation could be broadly divided
into two sub-processes: prefixation, and suffixation. There exist other minor processes of
affixation, too, such as infixation and circumfixation. Prefixation is a sub-process of affixation
in which morphemes known as prefixes are added before the “operand” (bases, roots, stems).
Suffixation, on the other hand, occurs when an affix or morpheme known as a suffix is added
after the operand. Infixation is another way of forming words when an affix known as an infix
breaks the root of the word and inserts itself in the middle. Circumfixation, as reviewed, is
realized when both prefix and suffix come before and after a single root word.
4.3 Alternation
Both languages exhibit this feature even though total modification or suppletion
could be exclusively seen in English irregular verbs while changing from present to past tense
(as in go – went or be – was ) or in comparative forms of some adjectives (as in good – better
or bad – worse) or even in using the bound plural form (morpheme) -/en/ added to the
underlying form ‘ox’ (to form ‘oxen’) as a suppletive alternate of /-s, -z, -iz/ ( which are the
normal plural morpheme); but none could be found in Hausa.
4.3.1 Total Modification in English
In English, total modification occurs when the whole word changes. According to
Matthews, total modification is usually called suppletion (139). Rubba is of the view that
suppletion occurs when the whole word changes rather than having a suffix. Suppletion is a
bit tricky but is also rare in English (204). It is the result of a historical process frozen in time.
Briefly, historically there were two words with similar meanings in the language (English),
typically used in different dialects. Over time, the two words merged into one paradigm. For
instance, in an earlier stage of English there were two words for ‘to be’, ‘wesan’ and ‘eom’.
These two were combined into one, and forms of both formed the paradigm for ‘to be’ e.g.
‘be’ – ‘am’ – ‘are’ – ‘is’ – ‘was’ – ‘were’ – ‘been’. Other examples include: mouse/mice,
louse/lice, catch/caught, go/went, etc.
Matthews is of the view that suppletion is any alternation which cannot be explained
by any rule (94). For instance, the English bound plural form (morpheme) /-en/ added to the
underlying form ‘ox’ is a suppletive alternative of /– s; – z’; – iz/ because English grammar
has no rule for the occurrence of the alternant. Furthermore, Asher extends the term
‘suppletion’ to a much commoner phenomenon whereby different affixes fulfill the same
inflectional function, e.g. the different plural suffixes ‘books’, ‘children’, ‘formulae’, etc (58).
According to Aronoff and Fudeman suppletion takes place when the syntax requires a form of
a lexeme that is not morphologically predictable (168). They cite the example of the paradigm
for the verb is which is characterized by suppletion. Thus, am, are, is, was, were and be have
completely different phonological shapes, which are not predictable on the basis of the
paradigms of other English verbs.
In addition to that, suppletion could be found with pronouns; compare I and me or
she and her. Other examples of complete suppletion could be found in verbs (e.g. go – went,
is – was); nouns (e.g. louse – lice); adjectives (e.g. some - much - most), etc. Examples of
suppletion given by Rubba (204) include:
(a) be – am – are – is – was – were – been
(b) go – went – gone
(c) good – better – best
(d) bad – worse – worst
(e) some – more – most
Fromkin and Rodman posit that some English words tend to violate the regular rules
of inflectional morphology in forming their plurals (nouns) or past form (verbs). These
irregular forms must be listed separately in our mental lexicons as suppletive forms. That is,
one cannot use the regular rules of inflectional morphology to add affixes to words that are
exceptions like ‘bring/brought’, but must replace the non-inflected form with another word
4.3.2 Partial Modification in English
Different linguists will inexorably view and describe things differently. Based on
Matthews’ division, partial suppletion is otherwise known as vowel change because it
involves a process whereby changes occur in words as a result of changes in vowels (136).
According to Aronoff and Fudeman, in certain cases, such as with catch – caught or think –
thought and other similar verbs like them in English, it is most convenient to speak of partial
suppletion. In these cases, the initial phoneme or phonemes of the word remain the same, but
there is both internal change and change to the end of the word (loss of segments) and
addition of a past tense indicator [t] as in: think – thought, sleep –slept etc (168).
Matthews also posits that in English the partial modification of man to men is an
obvious example; another is the more extensive change in ‘catch’ - ‘caught’ or ‘teach’ ‘taught’, vowel change – [æ] - [e] (as in man – men), [i] - [æ] (as in sing - sang and [^] in
sung), [u:] - [o] (as in shoot - shot), [au] - [ai] (as in mouse - mice), conversely [ai] - [au] (as
in find - found). In postulating vowel change or any other sort of ‘change’, one has to check
that the direction of the process can be justified as seen in the examples below: (136)
(a) Examples of vowel change in the formation of plurals:
woman – women
foot – feet
tooth – teeth
goose – geese
(b) Examples of vowel change in the formation of past tense:
come – came
blow – blew
grow – grew
Another type of modification involves accent or tonal pattern, which, Matthews
observes, is in close association with a process of affixation. Thus, when the shift
accompanies the suffix, the suffixes always require the stress in that position; in such cases,
the accentual modification can be seen as a direct repercussion of the process of suffixation
(139). These instances occur in English word – formation. Examples in ‘generation’ or
‘automation’ the stress changes from its position in the bases ‘generate’ and ‘automate’ to the
syllable before the suffix – ion.
There is a pattern in English, for example, in which a noun is accented on the first
syllable (‘conflict, ‘insult, ‘export) and a corresponding verb on the second (conf’lict, in’sult,
ex’port). In most grammars, the noun is said to be derived from the verb. But an alternative
view is that the two stress patterns (for nouns and verbs) are added equally to roots that, in
themselves, are unaccented. In this analysis, both ‘conflict and conf”lict consist of the root
conflict (unstressed) plus what has sometimes been called a ‘superfix’ – an accentual affix
superimposed on it.
Other examples of the stress change in English include:
According to the free encyclopedia (2008), this process is called stress shift. Here,
stress shift is considered as another process of word-formation where no affix is added to the
base, but the stress is shifted from one syllable to the other. With the stress shift comes a
change in category. For Yule, stress shift is termed “conversion”. Yule posits that “a change
in the function of a word, for example, when a noun comes to be used as a verb (without any
reduction), is generally known as ‘conversion’” (67). He (Yule) is of the view that conversion
can be subdivided into: ‘category change’ and ‘functional shift’. He cites examples of nouns,
such as ‘paper’, ‘butter’, ‘bottle’, and ‘vacation’, which can, via the process of conversion,
come to be used as verbs, as in the following sentences:
- He’s papering the bedroom walls.
- Have you buttered the toast?
- We bottled the home-brew last night.
- They’re vacationing in France.
Yule (67).
Furthermore, the conversion process is particularly productive in modern English, with
new uses occurring frequently. The conversion can involve verbs becoming nouns, with
guess, must and spy as the sources of a guess, a must and a spy. More so, phrasal verbs (to
print out, to take over) also become nouns (a printout, a takeover); one complex verb
combination (want to be) has become a very useful noun as in:
He isn’t in the group, he’s just a wannabe.
Verbs (see through, stand up) also become adjectives, as in see – through material or
a stand-up comedian. Or adjectives, such as ‘dirty’, ‘empty’, ‘total’, ‘crazy’ and ‘nasty’, can
become the verbs to dirty, to empty, to total, or the nouns a crazy and a nasty. One may even
hear of “people doing the nasty”.
Cornelius (2008), on his part, sees conversion as another highly productive wordformation process whereby a word class changes without any morphological marking.
(1) -
party (noun), party (verb)
- We will be at the party (noun).
- They like to party (verb)
Must (noun), must (verb)
- It is a must that you call him (noun).
- You must eat your soup (verb).
Cornelius (2008)
It should be borne in mind that conversion exists when it is clear that a word has
been “copied” from one word class to another. Subtraction
The final subtype of modification, as Matthews observes, is of subtraction, otherwise
known as “minus formation” (42). Subtraction has been dealt with many times since
Bloomfield’s classic exposition in the 1930s, as observed Matthews He posits that subtraction
can be seen where masculine in French seems to be derived from feminine, e.g. ‘bone’ (good)
feminine - ‘bon’ (good) masculine (by the removal of /e/); ‘bonne’ feminine - ‘bo’ masculine
(by the removal of /n/ with accompanying nasalization of /‫ﬤ‬/, etc. Furthermore, in English,
subtraction could be noticed in some verbs when changed to past form, e.g. meet - met, bleed
– bled, etc (43).
Based on the findings, alternation otherwise known as modification has been identified
as one of the processes of word-formation in English. Modification occurs when changes
occur in words as a result of changes in vowels or the entire form of the word. When a whole
word changes its form completely to form another, it is referred to as ‘suppletion’ in the words
Fudeman is of the same view with Asher, Matthew and Schane that complete
modification or suppletion could not be predicted; hence could not be explained by any rule.
Furthermore, Fromkin and Rodman (199) accept such a view of irregularities in the formation
of suppletion.
To summarize this part, it appears important to mention that this work finds all works
cited as vital even though there are deficiencies in some respects. Thus, for suppletion to be
complete, it should be a whole modification in which the words are changed completely.
These words could be either verbs derived from nouns, past forms of verbs derived from
present forms or even adjectives derived from nouns, etc. Furthermore, it is observed that if
vowels are changed to form another category of word, it is called partial modification.
Aronoff and
Fudeman observe that in such a process (what they termed ‘partial suppletion’); the
initial phoneme(s) of the word is retained while changes occur internally on the vowel(s). The
internal change could be a single vowel as in man - men; sing- sang or doubles as in tooth teeth, foot – feet, etc (245).
Moreover, some linguists like: Bloomfield, Matthews, Yule and Cornelius identify
other sub-types of modification, e.g. stress shift, conversion and subtraction. Yule’s
contribution appears more explanatory because he divides stress shift, or what he and
Cornelius call conversion, into two, namely: category change and functional shift (261).
Matthews adds that modification could also be in the form of subtraction – this happens when
vowel are removed from some words to form other words. This linguistic phenomenon mostly
occurs in forming French words (182). It has been observed that in such cases, the last
consonant is subtracted to derive masculine from feminine (in French). In English, subtraction
may occur within the stem to form other words (meet - met). According to some linguists, this
process should not be considered as one of the processes of vowel change or alternation of the
operand, but rather a special instance of affixation, involving what has sometimes been called
a ‘discontinuous morph’ (or morpheme realized ‘discontinuously’).
4.3.3 Partial Modification in Hausa
We noted here that vowel alternation or modification in Hausa occurs only within
verb stems and the derived forms are nouns. Thus, all the vowels alternate from the Hausa
verb stems to noun forms, e.g. gaada inherit (verb) – gaadoo inheritance (noun) - vowel /a/
alternate with /o/; buga beat (verb) – buguu beat
(noun) - vowel /a/ alternate with /u/; zaânaa draw (verb) – zaânee drawing (noun)
– vowel /a/ alternate with /e/, etc.
Consider the following cases given by Fagge (26):
(i) /a/ alternating with /i/
Verb stem
derived form
lying out
(ii) /a/ alternating with /u/
(iii) /a/ alternating with /e/:
(iv) /e/ alternating with /a/:
(v) /o/ alternating with /u/
(vi) /a/ alternation with /o/
toonoo dig
carry on back
Fagge (26).
One important thing noticed by Rufa’i is that alternation, as a kind of derivation, is
also combined with a change in tone pattern. In Hausa, according to him, specifically the tone
of the first syllable (if the base is a verb) is normally high but becomes low after the
derivation (9). Examples:
to clap
Derived word
to plant
cut open
to bite
to throw
Concerning partial modification, both the languages exhibit this feature. English, for
instance, features it in verbs (while changing from present to past e.g. bleed – bled {/i: / - /e/})
and nouns (while forming their plurals e.g. louse –lice {/au/ - /ai/}). In Hausa, on the other
hand, vowel modification or alternation takes place where the root word is altered (basically
the vowels) and it occurs with a change in tone pattern. Specifically, the tone of the first
syllable (if the base is a verb) is normally high but becomes low after the derivation. Thus the
alternation occurs from the verb stems to noun forms, as in auraa (to marry) – verb – auree
(marriage) – noun {/a/ – /e/}. Thus, the research revealed that alternation in Hausa creates
noun forms from verb forms.
4.4 Backformation
One of the productive words – formation processes of English is backformation but
Hausa lacks it. Some English words appear ‘naturally’ with morphemes that seem to be
affixes. Some words are, therefore, created by removing such morphemes. Such words are
mostly nouns and the created words are verbs (that is, nouns are backformed into verbs) as in:
editor – edit.
4.5 Blending
This is a common process of word-formation in English, however Hausa does not
employ this process in forming any of its words; thus parts of two words are taken – blending
the initial position of the first word with the final position of the second word and a new word
is created; for instance: television + broadcast – tele (vision) + (broad) cast = telecast. Many
English words have originally come out through the process of blending. Thus, many linguists
such as: Quirk and Greenbaum (449), Yule (66), Fromkin and Rodman (89), Rubba (64),
among others, cite some examples of words formed via blending,
e.g. –brunch (‘a meal subsuming breakfast and lunch’) is derived from
br (eakfast) + (l) unch.
- motel from motor + hotel.
- smog, from smoke + fog
- transistor from transfer + resistor
- spork from spoon + fork
- chunnel from channel + tunnel
- chortle from chuckle + snort
- bit from binary + digit
- urinalysis from urine + analysis
- crabapple from cranberry + apple
- broasted from broiled + roasted
- telethon from television + marathon, etc
Furthermore, in order to describe the mixing of languages, people use terms which
are formed via blending. For instance, Franglais (French + English), Spanglish (Spanish +
English), Hinglish (Hindi + English), Tanglish (Tamil + English), Banglish (Bangla +
English), Taglish (Tagalog + English), and in the Nigerian context, we come across Engausa
(English + Hausa), etc.
This research has shown that even though both compounding and blending use a
combination of words, blending takes only a part of each word (the other part is deleted),
while compounding combines the whole words to create new words.
4.6 Borrowing
Borrowing is a linguistic feature that not only English and Hausa exhibit in forming
their new terms, but it appears universal to all living languages. English, for instance, borrows
words from several languages of the world like Arabic,Bantu, Dutch, German, African
languages, just to mention a few. Hausa employs borrowing too which increases its
vocabulary. In Hausa, borrowing differs on two grounds: the level of contact between the two
languages concerned and the level of dependency on the donor language by the borrowing
language. Thus, Hausa borrows numerous words from the two international languages it
comes in contact with: English and Arabic. Linguists like Ahmed Daura (70) observes that
two devices have commonly been employed while borrowing words from Arabic to Hausa.
(1) By changing the form of the source words to reflect the structural form of the Hausa
language e.g. littafi from kitabun (book) allo from allauh (slate), Annabi from Annabiyu
(Prophet) etc.
(2) By adopting the source words as they are in their Arabic form e.g. addu’a (prayer),
jarida (newspaper), Kur’ani (Qur’an) etc.
Due to intimate contact with similar Arabic words the original meaning of some
Hausa words has been slightly changed and adopted their Arabic counterparts as in:
The original Hausa words
The adopted Arabic words
Thus, some Hausa linguists, such as Abubakar (172), Zarruk (78) and Wurma (197),
suggest some Hausa words that are borrowed from Arabic in relation to religion,
administration, judiciary, scholarship, food, dress, days, accounting, culture, etc. Examples of
such words include:
Arabic Gloss
prophet Religion
mulkun administration
mukumatun government
hukum judgment
al -adl
talibun student
darasun lesson
long shirt for men
sleeveless gown
hurmulatun waist coat
arba’un forty
sabunn soap
janaa’izaa janaza funeral etc
It is found out that borrowing Arabic words in these areas is likely to continue as a
result of change of governments, people’s way of life and economy. These changes, however,
are not hidden; as such the media houses will continue to search for words that will explain
these changes. Furthermore, it should be noticed that Hausa people have been borrowing
many scientific, technical as well as economic words from languages in their bid to write
science in Hausa: scientific researches are being conducted because of the ever increasing
demand of our lives. However, the borrowed words should be simple and easy to pronounce
by Hausa people. The contact with the British has paved the way for the intrusion of new
ideas, concepts, education and technology into the Hausa social life. Thus, it was natural for
Hausa to adopt the English strange words in relation to administration, judiciary, security,
scholarship, science and technology, trade, food, dress, etc. Some of these words include the
sergeant - major
manjo major
furaamaareè primary school
electricity Science and technology
pepper soup
singileeti singlet etc
This is far from being a complete list of the borrowed words, but it will suffice to
give the reader an insight of the extent to which Hausa is indebted. The present study has,
however, found this linguistic borrowing useful for showing the extent to which English (a
language that has survived through borrowing) has, in turn, given words to Hausa.
Also Salim Bala explains the linguistic borrowing of English loan words in Hausa by
showing the various assimilative processes in which English words undergo (through phonetic
modification and adaptation) to rhyme like the original Hausa words (98). Furthermore,
Rufa’i identifies two processes which could be discussed under borrowing: loan blending and
loan shift (15).
4.6.1 Loan Blending
According to Rufa’i (15), loan blending is:
The process
part of a model
language. That is
from the receiver
idea or meaning.
of creating new idioms whereby borrowers adopt
and replace part of it with something in their
something from the giver language and something
language are blended together to give a different
Consider the following:
an ignorant person
a cunny person
shakiyyi rogue
Here, agentive nouns in Arabic have Hausa suffixes added to them to give common
nouns in Hausa. For instance, Hausa borrowed the word ”jaahil” and then blend it with the
Hausa suffix “cii” to create the word “jaahilcii”.
4.6.2 Loan Shift
Another feature of borrowing, which involves lexical and semantic changes, is loan
shift. Rufa’i (ibid) is of the view that loan shift could be called loan translation or semantic
loan. He cites examples of a few Arabic loan words; the Arabic models carrying one meaning
and another after they have been borrowed into Hausa.
Arabic model
Hausa loan
call to prayer
prayer caller
In sum, borrowing has been recognized as one of the major processes of forming
Hausa words. As already mentioned, we have seen that Hausa borrows a great deal of its
vocabulary form Arabic because of the continuous contact that exists between Arabic and
Hausa languages. Furthermore, Hausa also borrows from English to build up its vocabulary
even though that of Arabic is greater. We should note that Arabic and English are not the only
languages that Hausa lay its hands on in terms of borrowing, but they are of the fore front.
Thus, Hausa borrows from local languages too (the Nigerian languages that surround it), for
instance, Yoruba, Kanuri, Fulfulde and Nupe.
Furthermore, a special type of borrowing called calque or loan translation exist, both
in English and Hausa. In this process, a direct translation of the elements of words takes place
in the borrowed language into the target language. For instance, the French word
‘ungratteciel’ was literally translated to ‘a scrape – sky’ which English loan it as ‘skyscraper’;
others include:
Donor Target language The words
Target language
The words
In Hausa, on the other hand, Rufa’i (15) identifies two processes of calque that Hausa
employs: loan blending and loan shift. Creative new idioms by blending some parts of the
giver language and some part of the receiver language to give a different idea or meaning is
considered as loan blending e.g. ‘jaahil’ is an Arabic word which means ‘ignorant’; Hausa
takes the word and blended it with a Hausa suffix “cii” to creat the word “jahilcii”. Loan shift
or what
He calls semantic loan involves lexical and semantic changes. Examples: “ard” means
land but when Hausa loan it, it becomes ‘lardii’ which is semantically shift to ‘province’.
Clipping is a very common linguistic phenomenon in English. Thus, a lot of English
words are formed via clipping, such as fax (‘facsimile’), gas (‘gasoline’), bra (‘brassiere’), cab
(‘cabriolet’), ad (‘advertisement’), condo (‘condominium’), fan (‘fanatic’), sitcom (‘situation
comedy’), phone (‘telephone’), plane (‘airplane’), bro (‘brother’), pro (‘professional’), veg
(‘vegetate’ as in veg out in front of the TV), sub (‘substitute or submarine’), info
(‘information’), flu (‘influenza’), etc. Furthermore, Yule (66) observes that the educational
sector encourages clipping because many words that underwent clipping could be found there;
he says that “there must be something about educational environments that encourages
clipping because just about every word gets reduced as in chem, exam, gym, lab, math, polysci, prof, and typo.Yule” (66).
Similarly, English speakers like to clip each others names – that is, what Aronoff and
Fudeman (216) called nicknames as in Al (‘Albert’), Ed (‘Edward’), Rob (‘Robert’), Trish
(‘Patricia’), Sue (‘Susan’), Tom (‘Thomas’), Sam (‘Samuel’), etc.
4.7.1 Types of Clipping
Clipping in English, according to Cornelius (154), could be divided into three types:
Front clipping – This is the process of trimming words in the front. In this order, the
front syllable is taken to stand as a word. For example: airplane - plane, telephone phone, etc.
Back clipping – This is another process of clipping where the trimming takes place
in the back thus, the back syllable is trimmed. For instance: advertisement - ad,
gasoline - gas, fanatic - fan, polytechnic - poly, etc.
Front and back clipping – This is where the clipping process takes place both in
front and back of the word, for example, Influenza – flu, etc. However, Fagge posits
that clipping in Hausa is of two types: back-clipping and front – clipping (21). By
way of an example, let us consider the following cases:
Back - clipping:
Personal names
Full Form
Clipped Form
Muhammad Madu/Muda
Khadija Dija/Dije
Aishatu Shatu
Names of items
Apart from names of people as mentioned above, back clipping could be noticed in other
names (of items), such as:
Full form
clipping form
make a mistake
brain substance
b. Front – clipping
Full form
clipping form
fate – fate
a musky food
kuli – kuli
groundnut cake
It has been found that in English many words happen to be clipped related to
education sector, names of people and other fields of endeavor, for example: poly
(polytechnic), Chris (Christopher) and fan (fanatic), respectively. However, in Hausa, clipping
occurs either in personal names or other sectors; excluding the educational sector, for
example: Manu (Sulaimanu) and kure (kuskure).
Furthermore, the research revealed that in English three types of clipping are
observed: front, back and the combination of the two (front and back), while in Hausa the first
two are common. More so, one important thing to put into cognizance is that even though
blending and clipping may appear similar, yet clipping takes place within a single existing
word, while blending takes place between two words. We should noe here that, though
clipping appears common in English, it is rather informal than formal.
4.8 Coinage
This fature is found only in English but Hausa lacks it. In English, therefore,
different sources of words that are formed via coinage include invented trade names, brand
names and words from Greek, as well as names of the company inventors. Examples:
Invented trade names
Brand names
Thermometer (from “Thermos hot” plus “metron” nesure)
Acrophobia (from akros “topmost” and phobia “fear”)
From Greek words
Pornophobia (from prone “harlot” and phobia “fear”)
Hertz etc.
4.9 Compounding
Compounding is a common process of word- formation that exists both in English and
4.9.1 The Elements of Compounding in English
Asher observes that compounding is a linguistic unit, which is composed of elements
that function independently in other circumstances (94). This brings the question of how many
elements make a compound. According to Fromkin and Rodman, compounds may contain
two or more free roots, thus, some compounds have more than one root and bound morpheme,
as in ‘wastepaper basket’; ‘waste’ + ‘paper’ + ‘basket’ and ‘truck pusher’; ‘truck’ +
‘push’ + ‘er’ (34).
The compounds of English words, therefore, may consist of two or more words,
which could be either from different categories or even from the same category of words.
Though two-word compounds are the most common in English, it would be difficult to state
an upper limit, for instance, ‘three-time loser’.
Other examples of compound words include the following:
(a) Two-word compounds:
- classroom
class + room
- skyscraper
sky + scraper
- wallpaper
wall + paper
- good-looking
good + looking
- full-time
full + time (ibid)
(b) More than two – word compounds
These are group of compounds, which are formed with more than one root words, thus;
- commander – in – chief = commander + in + chief
- brother – in – law = brother + in + law
- second – in – command = second + in + command
- sergeant – at – arms = sergeant + at + arms
- mother – of – pearl = mother + of + pearl (ibid)
- four-dimensional-space-time = four + dimensional + space + time
This shows that the elements of compounds could be two, three, four (as in fourdimensional–space-time) or even more (as observed in the example given by Aronoff and
Fudeman (2005) – “She is a high voltage electricity grid systems supervisor”).
4.9.2 The Elements of Hausa Compounds
According to Rufa’i compounding, in Hausa, involves several combinations of
elements, such as noun + noun, verb + noun, adjective + noun and some others (2). Examples:
Noun + noun
bakan – gizo (bow of spider) = rainbow;
karen – motaa (dog of motor) = bus or truck attendant
‘yar – sandaa (daughter of stick) = police woman (ibid)
Verbal noun + noun
kisan – kai (killing of head) = murder
jin – kai (hearing of head/self) = arrogance
cin – zumaa (eating of honey) = collection of honey from bee hives usually by
using smoke to drive the bees away (ibid).
Verbal noun + noun
hada – kai (joining head) = unity
auna – arziki (weigh wealth) = escape danger or evil happening
baata – rai (spoil soul) = to be angry (ibid)
(iv) Adjective + Noun
bakin – jinii (darkness of blood) = being hated
jan-halii (red character) = bravery
farar-zuuciyaa (white heart) = good intention or good will (ibid).
4.9.3 Noun Compounds in English and Hausa
In English noun compounds are those compounds that perform the functions of
nouns, while in Hausa, they are the compounds which consist of two noun bases for the
formation of compound nouns. Thus, in English, for instance, noun compounds could have
the combination of some elements which include: subject and verb (e.g. earthquake), verb and
object (e.g. call – girl), verb and adverbial (e.g. walking stick), verbless compounds (e.g.
blood stain) and Bahuvrihi compounds (e.g. blockhead). In Hausa, on the other hand, the
structure of noun compounds are always noun + noun as in ilimin manya (adult education),
mulkin- kai (self independence), juuyin mulki (coup d’etat) etc.
4.9.4 Adjective Compounds in English and Hausa
Adjective compounds, in English, are those compounds that function as adjectives;
while in Hausa, they are the compounds that are based with adjectival morphemes – in other
words, they have adjectives as their core. The English adjective compounds are formed with
the help of different elements such as: verb and object (e.g. breath-taking), verb and adverbial
(e.g. law – abiding) and verb less compounds (e.g. homesick). Hausa adjective compounds, on
the other hand, are formed with the help of ‘adjective + noun’ formula as in gajen-hakurii
4.9.5 Verb Compounds in English and Hausa
Verb compounds, in English, are those compounds which act as verbs such as ‘sight
see and baby – sit’ while in Hausa, verb – based compounds are those compounds which have
verbs as their core, as in gamoo-da-katar (accidental fortune).
Apart from those discussed so far, Hausa has additional categories of compounds
which do not exist in English, for instance: adverb – based compounds (shekaran-jiya – day
before yesterday), adverbial compounds (dazu-dazu– a while ago), and idiophone – based
compounds (subul da baka – slip of tongue) and pronoun based compounds (Ta annabi, a
feminine nick name).
4.9.6 The Elements of Hausa and English Compounds
Several elements combine together to make both English and Hausa compounds.
These elements obviously function independently in other circumstances as Asher (1994) and
Rufa’i (1979) confirm. Thus, both English and Hausa compounds could contain two elements,
three elements or even more. However, Fromkin and Rodman (84) observe that English
compounds may contain two or more free roots thus, some compounds have more than one
root and bound morpheme as in table – cleaner = ‘table’ + ‘clean’ + ‘er’; where ‘table’ and
‘clean’ are roots and ‘er’ is a bound morpheme (which has a semantic value of ‘doer of’);
while Hausa compounds may contain two or more roots but no bounds morpheme is
employed here as in: wasan – kwaikwayoo (play or drama), ‘yan – fashii (armed robbers) and
rufaa – ido (trick) where each element may stand as a root or a free morpheme. Let us look at
some examples on the two languages:
cat lover
finger print
Two word compounds in English
white wash
fidda kai (charity)
cin – hancii (corruption)
Two word compounds in Hausa
jan – halii (courage)
mother – in – law
More than two word compounds in English
four – dimensional space – time
nagari – na – kowa (upright person)
More than two word
Compounds in Hausa
yaakii – da – jahilci (literacy education)
Now, it is important to observe that the combination of the elements that makes
English compounds and Hausa compounds differs. Hence, whereas some elements could be
combined to make compounds in both the languages, some elements could be used in just one
language for instance, noun + noun, verbal noun + noun, verb + noun, adjective + noun could
be found in English and Hausa. However, combinations such as adjective + adjective, noun +
adjective, verb + adjective, adjective + verb, noun + verb, noun + -ing participle, noun + -ed
participle and adjective or adverb + -ing participle could only be found in Hausa.
To sum it up, compounding as a process of word-formation plays a vital role in
words creation not only in Hausa, but in other languages of the world, e.g. English and
Arabic. As seen so far, compounding helps to form many of the English and Hausa words, far
more than those mentioned in this research work. The research finds this very important
because it helps in displaying the unification of linguistic elements existing in different
languages of the world.
4.10 Reduplication
Reduplication has to do with morphemic repetition. It is a morphological process that
both English and Hausa use while building some of their vocabularies. It could be full or
partial as Rufa’i (10), Al-Hassan (22), Aronoff and Fudeman (265) and Encyclopedia (2008)
4.10.1 Types of Reduplication in English and Hausa
According to Rufa’i, duplication can be either full or partial. A partial duplication is
the one in which a part of a base morpheme is reduplicated. A full duplication is the one in
which the base as a whole is duplicated (10). Furthermore, Al-Hassan posits that two types of
reduplication may occur in a language: complete reduplication, where the whole word is
copied and partial reduplication, where only a part of the word is copied (220). Complete Reduplication in English and Hausa
The complete reduplication is otherwise known as total or full reduplication, which
occurs when the whole word is copied. In other words, complete reduplication takes place
when the whole of the operand is reduplicated, that is, completely repeated. In the words of
Rufa’i (265), complete reduplication occurs when the base of a word is repeated. Quirk and
Greenbaum (448) and Aronoff and Fudeman (167) observe that most reduplications are highly
informal or familiar, many of which are derived from the nursery (e.g. ‘din – din’ for dinner)
or children acquiring language (for instance, an English speaking child says ‘shoe’ for one
shoe, but ‘shoe shoe’ (complete reduplication) for two shoes.
Furthermore, Matthews (1974, cited in Agezi (20) observes that reduplication in
English may be:
Suffixal – suffixal reduplication occurs when the end of the base is repeated.
Infixal – Infixal reduplication happens in a case where the structure of the base itself is
broken into parts and reduplication formative comes at the middle.
Prefixal or initial – In this kind of reduplication, the reduplicated formative is added
before the base and it is the beginning of the base which is repeated (Matthews 310).
Quirk and Greenbaum have agreed with the above classification that “this difference
between the two elements (involve in reduplication) may be in the initial consonants, as
in walkie-talkie or in the medial vowels e.g. criss-cross” (Quirk and Greenbaum 448).
At this juncture, it should be observed that even though reduplication could be
categorized into two bases – in one base, reduplication is viewed according to its morphemic
analysis (where three groups – suffixal, infixal or prefixal reduplication are realized). In the
other base, reduplication is viewed according to the processes where changes occur on the
reduplicative (here: partial and complete reduplications are observed). Though the general
categorization is the latter, yet the former is also important morphologically. Complete Reduplication in Hausa (Cikakka Nannage)
Complete reduplication or full duplication as in the words of Rufa’i, occurs when the
base of a word is repeated. In his view, Rufa’i mentions that an area in which we see much of
full duplication is idiophones. Examples:
lakakai – lakakai (slowly)
kyamus – kyamus (thin)
lif – lif – (blooming - as when trees grow green leaves) (ibid)
According to Fagge ( 36), complete reduplication in Hausa, occurs in three areas:
(a) Qualification compounds
These happen when words are reduplicated to indicate an amount or number of
things. Thus, it is produced by a complete reduplication of the stem base. Consider the
following examples:
Complete reduplication derived
rumbu (store)
rumbu-rumbu (in storages)
jaka (bag)
jaka-jaka (in bags)
dami (bundle)
dami-dami (in bundles) (ibid)
(b) Numerical compounds
Numerical compounds could be produced by complete reduplication of the base.
Consider the following cases;
Complete reduplication
uku (three)
uku – uku (in threes)
hudu (four)
hudu – hudu (in fours)
biyar (five)
biyar – biyar (in fives) (ibid)
(c) Color based compounds
These occur when colors are produced through complete reduplication of the stem base
(of colors). Consider the following cases
rawaya (yellow)
Complete reduplication derived form
rawaya – rawaya (yellowish)
fari (white)
fari – fari (whitish)
jaa (red)
jaa – jaa (reddish) (ibid)
Furthermore, Al-Hassan (22) posits that complete reduplication could show
pluralization, intensification and detensification.
(i) Pluralization
Salim (198) is of the view that reduplicative pluralization occurs in Hausa when the base
(singular) is reduplicated to form the plural of a simple nominal; he says: “In the case of
simple nominal, the singular base form is simply repeated with no change either segmentally
or tonally”. He goes further to cite examples:
yaakii (war)
yake – yake (wars)
zaagii (abuse)
zaage – zaage (abuses)
buguu (to hit)
buge – buge (to hit several times) (ibid)
(ii) Intensification
Reduplication could occur in full form in Hausa to show intensification. For
intensification, the base form is copied without any segmental or tonal change.
Simple forms
Intensified form
yau (today)
yau – yau (compulsorily, today)
yanzu (now)
yanzu – yanzu (immediately)
kusa (near)
kusa – kusa (very much close) (ibid).
(iii) Detensification
Complete reduplication occurs to show detensification in Hausa. In detensification,
there is a segmental change, shortening the final vowel of the base form in the reduplicated
form. Examples:
Simple form
Detensified form
bakii (black)
baki – baki (blackish)
doogoo (tall)
doogo – doogo (not quite tall)
mahaukacii (lunatic)
mahaukaci – mahaukaci (not quite mad) (ibid) Partial Reduplication in English and Hausa
Reduplication is said to be partial when only part of the operand or root is
reduplicated. Matthews (134) affirms that “It is partial (in the sense that only part of the base
is reduplicated), and it is prefixal and initial (in the sense that the reduplicative form is added
before the base and it is the beginning of the base which is repeated” (Matthews (134).
Examples of partial reduplication include zigzag, rift – raft, tip – top, wishy
- washy, higgledy – piggleddy, etc. Partial Reduplication in Hausa (Ragaggen Nannage)
Partial reduplication occurs when a part of the stem base is duplicated –the part could
be the initial part of the base, the medial part of the base or even the final part of the base as
Al-Hassan (24) observes: “Partial reduplication involves the copying of only part of the
word”. According to him, partial reduplication in Hausa is of two types “the first is the one in
which three consecutive phonemes in the word, the second of which is a syllabic are copied,
thus in isolation the copied form represents a syllable in Hausa – the CVC type the second one
is that in which a consonant in the root is copied in the reduplicated form” Al- Hassan (24).
(a) CVC reduplication
In Hausa, this kind of reduplication occurs in two respects: intensivization and
derivation of adjectival nouns.
(i) Intensivization. Examples:
Derived form
saaree (to cut)
sassaaree (cut several times)
gyaaraa (to repair or arrange)
gyaggyaara (arrange several times)
keewayaa (to go round)
kekkeewayaa (circumnavigation) (ibid)
(ii) Derivation of adjectival nouns.
Adjectival nouns
karfii (strength)
kakkarfaa (somebody strong or something hard)
kyaawoo (beauty)
kyakkyaawaa (somebody or something beautiful)
saukii (cheap/simple) sassaukaa (something cheap or somebody simple)
(b) Consonantal reduplication
Consonantal reduplication occurs in two ways in Hausa, as Al-Hassan (25– 26)
observes. According to him, partial reduplication in form of consonantal reduplication is
employed in forming some Hausa plural words and in the derivation of exclamatory
(i) Pluralization
In pluralization, the reduplication of the last consonant in the base form is
accompanied by a change of last vowel. Where the change of vowel is from a front to a
central or back vowel, depalatlization occurs. The tonal pattern of the singular form is H - L
while the plural form is either L – H or HL – H. Examples:
plural form
muuguu (wicked man)
muggaa (wicked people)
tuduu (hill)
tuddai (hills)
reeshee (branch)
rassaa (branches) (ibid)
(ii) Derivation of exclamatory adjectives
In the derivation of exclamatory adjectives, the last consonant of the base word is
copied and inserted between two long /e/’s. The tone pattern of the base word is H – L (H),
while the exclamatory adjective has a low tone on the last syllable. All other syllables carry
high tone.
Base form
exclamatory adjectives
shirgi! (What a head!)
dirki! (What a thrust!)
malkwadi! (What a disfiguration!) malkwadeedee! (ibid)
According to Rufa’i (10), partial reduplication is generally prefixal, e.g.
yanka (cut)
yayyanka (cut several times)
hankada (push)
hahhankada (push several times)
lauya (blend)
lallauya (bend several times) (ibid)
Fagge (37) posits that partial reduplication could be used to form some numerals in
Hausa. For instance: daddaya (one by one), bibbiyu (in twos), hurhudu (in fours), etc.
Based on the analysis, it is found that complete reduplication occurs in both English
and Hausa. Some English linguists like Quirk and Greenbaum
(448) and Aronoff and
Fudeman (167) are of the view that most of the English reduplicatives are highly informal or
familiar and many are, therefore, derived from the nursery or while English children are
acquiring language. This shows that there are few English words that are formed via complete
Hausa, on the other hand, creates a lot of its vocabularies with the help of the process
of complete reduplication. For instance, Rufa’i posits that an area in which we see much of it
in Hausa is idiophones e.g. kif-kif (vigorously – as of walking on hard surface). Fagge (36)
adds that it could also be found in three areas: qualification compounds, numerical
compounds and color-based compounds, as in dami-dami (in bundles), tara- tara (in nines)
and baki – baki (blackish), respectively. In addition to that, Al- Hassan (22) posits that
complete reduplication could also be, in Hausa, to show pluralization (e.g. yakeyake – wars),
intensification (e.g. gobe-gobe – surely tomorrow) and detensification (e.g. mahaukakimahaukaci – not quite mad).
Concerning partial reduplication, it occurs in both English and Hausa. In English, it
occurs in a prefixal position that is when the beginning of the base is repeated e. g. zigzag. In
Hausa, however, it occurs when part of the stem base is duplicated which could be either
initially (as that of English), medial or even final part of the base as Al-Hassan (24) observes.
Furthermore, while English has only one type of partial reduplication, Hausa has two types:
CVC (as in fesa – {spray} – the stem base – fef {prefix} +fesa {the base} = feffesa {the
derived form}); or consonantal reduplication (as in takobi {sword}-the base form – takubba
{swords} i.e. reduplication of the last consonant).
In addition to that, reduplication could be viewed on its morphemic analysis. Based
on that, therefore, partial reduplication in English may be suffixal, infixal or prefixal as
Mathews (1974, cited in Agezi 28) and Quirk and Greenbaum (448) observe; for instance,
walkie – talkie, zigzag and criss –cross. In Hausa, on the other hand, partial reduplication is
generally prefixal as in: hankada (push) – the base form
hah (prefix) + hankada - the base
= hahhahnkada (push several times) – the derived form
At this juncture, a sample of the comparative analysis is given in a tabular form as
shown below;
4.11 Morphological Processes Across The Two Languages
i-Pronounced alphabetically
e.g. KSA (Kingdom of Saudi
English forms several words
via acronyms while Hausa
lacks this feature; thus, it does
not form words via acronyms.
ii- pronounced as words but
retain their capitals e.g. naca
(national agency for the
control of aids)
iii- pronounced as words and
lost their capitals e.g. zip
(Zone Improvement Plan)
i- dafa-goshi (prefixes)ba + hausa =bahaushe
ii- ma + sakaa = masakaa
I – prefixes –
dis + agree = disagree
- co + existence =
ii- Infixes-abso + blomin +
iii- dafa ciki (infixes)-turmi (motar)
- tur + a+ me = turame
iii – suffixes-beauty +fy
iii dafa-keya(suffixes).
- gafara + ta = gafarta
iv – circumfixes
- un + count + able =
infixes, and suffixes are
common to both English and
Hausa language,s circumfixes
are common to English alone.
While infixatiiiion is
formal in Hausa, it appears
informal in English.
i- total modification-go-went
-Total modification is not
common in Hausa, but in
English the feature is common.
ii partial modificationbegin-began- [i] –[a]
Partial modificationGaada-gaado/a/---/0/
- Both English and
Hausa languages
exhibit partial
Jeefa-jiifa /e/--- /i/
Words formed
-Even though English exhibits
backformation, Hausa lacks
the linguistic feature.
-moving picture-movie
-editor –edit
Blended words:
-Some English words are
-breakfast + lunch = brunch
formed via blending but
-smoke + fog = smog
Hausa could not use such
-motor + hotel = motel
linguistic feature to form any
I Borrowing words- alcohol i- borrowing words (from Arabic), robot, pistol
(from Czench),boss (from -Ubangijii – Allah (God)
Dutch), zebra (fromBantu) –sani—ilimi (knowledge)
- bokitii (bucket)
- All the languages exhibit
borrowing as a process of
forming words.
-loan word from lehnwort
ii- calque-
- Calque could also befound in
English and Hausa languages
-superman from ubermensch
- ard + ii =lardii
i- front clipping–
-airplane –plane
i–front clipping – - fate – -Whereas front and back
fate –fate ( a mushy food)
(a clipping could be found in
personal name)
both the languages, the
ii - back clipping –
ii- back clipping –
combination of the two could
be found in English alone.
(brain substance )
-bra – brassiere
- gas – gasoline
iii - front and back clipping
– -flu – influenza
i- invented trade names:
Kodak, Xerox, Kleenex.
This feature could be
found in English but
ii- names of inventors:
sandwich, Volt, Jumbo
iii- Brand names:
Hausa lacks it.
Xerox, Vaseline
iv- Greek origin:
Thermometer, Acrophobia
i – noun compounds:
walking stick, earth quake,
call – girl
ii - adjectival compounds:
breath – taking, home-sick,
law – abiding
iii - verb
sight see,
baby – sit
i- noun –based
i - Even though compounding
ilimin-kimiyya (adult
education) mulkin- kai
(self independence) juyin
– mulki (coup d’ etet)
found in both English and
languages, the former exhibits
fewer types (three times) than
latter(seven times)
farar –hulaa (civilian)
tsawon –rai (long life)
ii-While each type tends to
perform the functions their
represent, in English; in Hausa
iii- verb –based
the emphasis is not on function
fasa –kwabri
Formation. For instance, while
but on the core-based of the
noun compounds perform the
functions of nouns in English,
tsakar –gida
formed with nouns as their
in Hausa.
saman –bakwai (sky)
v- adverbial compounds:
nan – gaba (later)
kyal-kyal-banza (good
for nothing)
Subul-da-baka (slip of
kaa –fi –zaboo (a kind of
i- complete reduplication:
i- complete reduplication
din- din (dinner)
( cikakken nannage):
i- Though it seems the two
types of reduplication appear
in the two
shoe - shoe (shoes)
complete reduplication
(b) qualification
is considered formal in Hausa
Jaka-jaka ( in bags)
highly informal in English
(c) numerical compounds:
Shida- shida (in sixes)
(d) color- based
Kore-kore (greenish)
ii-while complete
reduplication is not freely
realized in English, in
(e) pluralization:
Yake-yake (wars)
Hausa it is commonly
realized in forming several
(f) intensivazation):
(g) detensification:
Gajere-gajere (not that
iii- whereas in Hausa
partial reduplication is use
to show intensivization
ii- partial reduplication:
ii- partial reduplication
and pluralization, in
rift – raft
(ragaggen nannage):
English it does not show
tip – top
(a) CVC reduplication
intensivization: saaree (to
sassaree (to cut several
- derivation of adjectival
Kaifii (sharp) – kakkaifa
iv- whereas in Hausa
partial reduplication is
used to derive adjectival
- pluralization:
muuguu (wicked man) muggaa (wicked people)
- exclamatory adjectives:
Shirgi! (What a head!)
nouns and exclamatory
adjectives, in English they
Could not be derived.
Chapter Five
Research Findings, Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
5.0 Introduction
This chapter consists of the research findings based on the data collated summary of the
research work, recommendations and conclusion.
5.1 The Research Findings
The major findings of the study are listed as follows:
(1) The English and Hausa languages form their words by using some processes, for
compounding, reduplication, etc.
(2) Affixes in Hausa have counterparts in English. For example:
i. Hausa has prefixes, which could also be found in English;
ii. Hausa uses a lot of suffixes, so also does English;
iii. However, while infixes are common in Hausa, English realizes quite a few.
Furthermore, circumfixes take the reversal position, while circumfixation occurs
commonly in English. Hausa employs a little (none of it in creating words).
(3) Hausa has morphemes in its structure like most languages, such as English.
(4) Hausa employs word- formation processes just like English. For instance:
(a) Hausa uses a lot of affixation to create some words likewise English.
(b) Even though Hausa employs alternation in forming some words, it employs only one
type, i.e. the partial, while English employs both partial and complete modifications.
(c) Both English and Hausa borrow a lot of words from other languages of the world.
Clipping, as one of the processes of forming words, is being used to form several
English and Hausa words. However, while Hausa employs two types (front and back
clipping), English employs three (front, back and a combination of the two).
Compounding is another common process of forming words in English and Hausa
languages. Here, it is discovered that both the languages use nouns, verbs, and
adjectives, etc. as their bases. Furthermore, the elements that make such compounds (in
English as well as Hausa languages) could be two or more.
Even though Hausa and English employ reduplication in forming some words, it is
realized that:
Complete reduplication is more common in Hausa and the derived words could be
used formally, whereas English uses complete reduplication to create words, which
are considered as highly informal.
Concerning partial reduplication, it is realized that while in English it occurs at the
initial position, in Hausa it occurs at initial, medial or even final positions.
Both Hausa and English languages employ many words- formation processes,
such as coinage, backformation, borrowing / claque, etc.
Some of the processes of word- formation (in this study) could be found in both
languages (e.g., affixation, alternation, borrowing, clipping, compounding and
reduplication); others are employed by alone (e.g. acronyms, back-formation,
blending, and coinage).
Even though the researcher is not unaware of the fact that the findings are limited to the
materials randomly sampled from texts, internet and native speakers’ constructions, he wishes
to posit that such findings and discussions are generalizable within the context of comparative
linguistic analysis.
5.2 Summary
The work is an attempt to respond positively to the current trends of intellectualism
from the point of view of language. It is the synchronic study revealing the similarities of
genetically unrelated languages, which are contained in the linguistic structures of the
languages under study.
The Hausa and English languages were chosen to be worked upon comparatively by
implication contrastively at the morphological level. It is presumed, in this work, that the two
languages under comparison share a lot in their processes of word – formation, and it is only
through an extensive research study that such an assumption can be affirmed. The work,
therefore, investigated some processes of forming words in English and Hausa, which include:
acronyms, affixation, alternation, backformation, blending, borrowing, clipping, coinage,
compounding and reduplication. It, thus, looked at literature related to the topic, to enhance
the effectiveness of some arguments. For a comparative analysis of the word-formation
processes in English and Hausa, examples of each process in both languages were drawn. The
researcher employed the descriptive analysis method in the analysis of his data. The approach
is adopted, because, Nida emphasizes the idea that linguistic features and systems must be
descriptive as they are – that is clearly (23). Based on this assertion, data for description and
analysis were collected. So, these processes were compared in the two languages: English
and Hausa, in that similarities and differences were realized and remarks were given. From
the description, analysis and interpretation of the morphological processes in the two
languages under comparison, the researcher comes up with some findings above.
5.3 Recommendations
From the study undertaken, the following recommendations are made:
All that have stake in the study of English and Hausa languages should know that these
languages are of different origins and typologies. Therefore, attention should be paid to
identifying where the differences and similarities exist.
Teachers should learn from this study and be conversant with the differences and
similarities in the word structures of the two languages. This is because the study will help the
teacher to detect where to encounter problems. If such problems are not properly outlined, the
learner is liable to commit errors in the English language.
Teachers should emphasize teaching the differences where problems are arising
using assorted prepared and improvised instructional materials and methods carefully chosen
for planning and the development of actual classroom teaching of the target language. The use
of oral drills and practices that are based on the English language word formation processes
emphasizing how to surmount the negative transfer emanating from Hausa language should be
In a similar vein, teachers should take a gradual approach in the introduction of the
different types of morphological processes based on inflection, derivation, modification,
compounding and so on. Emphasis should be paid to their internal composition and
constituents using affixes for clearer delineation of their immediate constituents.
Curriculum designers/planners, educationists and theorists, authors and textbook
writers in the English language in Hausa communities and schools should in their work reflect
clearly the differences that exist between the word structures of English and Hausa.
Further researches should be done on English and Hausa morphological processes
using Error and Needs Analysis approaches to save the on-coming grammar students and
Hausa speakers of English from the problem of native language interferences.
5.4 Conclusion
Learning by definition is relatively permanent change in behaviour as a result of past
experience. It deals with the acquisition of new things and transfer of the existing habits that
are compatible with the new knowledge progressively. Therefore, this study on Comparative
Study of Morphological Processes in English and Hausa languages shows that the route to
acceptable grammatical expressions is in the formation of correct word structures. However,
this poses a lot of challenges and problems for many learners of English as a second language
as a result of multi-dimensional linguistic factors which mother tongue interference is one of
It is on record that word formation types are many in English. Yet, there is a high
demand on the learners of English as a second language irrespective of his background to
make correct grammatical expressions in both written and spoken communications. With the
flexible rules governing word formation in English, a learner of English as a second language
turns to overgeneralization based on analogy and similitude to form word structure. However
this is rarely correct.
As earlier noted in the Lado’s (1957) Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis, every language
has its own peculiarities, though with certain similarities. For an Hausa learner of English to
be effective in the knowledge of word formation and construction, he or she must be grounded
in the morphology of the target language which unfortunately is different from his or her
native language. The learner must as well place emphasis on the internal composition of the
word structures of the target language including their types, characteristics and functions.
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