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ABSTRACT

This research work, ‘A Contrastive Analysis of the Noun Phrase in Gyong and English Languages’ was motivated by the researcher’s realization of how Gyong language lends itself in numerous ways to morphological subtypes and morphology at large which are distinct from the English language. The research concentrates on a contrastive analysis of some factors which seem to affect the performance of Gyong learners of English, especially the noun phrase which has been observed to be very problematic because of interference from the grammar and lexis of mother-tongue, choice of appropriate pre/post modifiers of the nominals, etc. The research work identified diverse differences between the Gyong language and English language and how they bring about difficulties for Gwong people learning English as a second language. A contrastive description of the noun phrase in the two languages revealed diverse differences in the following aspects of the noun phrase; pluralisation, article, demonstratives, genitives, concord, syntax and qualifiers. These areas were found to be sources of difficulty to Gyong learners of English. Data about he existing noun phrase in the two languages were gathered, their applications were described, similarities, dissimilarities and effectiveness or otherwise were also considered. This research contains some recommendations for overcoming the difficulties identified such as: carrying out more researches in Gyong language, especially its morphology, syntax and semantics, among native Gwong to fine-tune methods and materials in favour of the language (Gyong). Remedial drills on contrastive analysis should be made into supplementary materials based on findings for teaching English language in such areas under study.

INTRODUCTION

Introducing the Gyong language and its speakers will go a long way in preparing the mind of the reader for a discussion and analysis of the language since the concentration on the linguistic forms and forgetting the people who use the forms in ordinary communication will distort the reality of the language in use. It is therefore important to provide information on the historical background and geographical setting of the people.

The people (and their language) are known as Gwong while their Hausa neighbors call them Kagoma/Yeskwa. The origin of these names has been a subject of great debate.

A powerful source has it that when the first Hausa traders visited Gwong/Nyakpa-land, they asked our people what they call themselves. It is said that they were told that we call ourselves Gwong (meaning a multitude) while Khi-Gong means our land and our territory. The Hausa people are said to have found it very difficult to pronounce the words Gwong or Khi-Gong and therefore coined the term KAGOMA.

They also coined the name Yeskwa to replace NYAKPA, which they could not pronounce. Evidence abound that both Gwong and Nyakpa have a common origin i.e Gwong Thona and Nyakpa Thona. There are other brothers in addition to Gwong and Nyakpa who are said to have left us and settled across the river of Godogodo district known as Ninem Thona.

The brotherly links between these people guided the district officer in charge of Jema’a division to create the Kagoma/Yeskwa district in 1949 A.D, until of recent when the two were divided with each being a district of its own.

 LOCATION

Gwong land, otherwise known as Khi-Gong is found in the Northern part of middle belt in Nigeria. It occupies the area now known as Southern Kaduna in Kaduna State of Nigeria. Khi-Gong is in the Guinea savannah area of Nigeria, the vegetation being largely grassland integrated with medium high trees. There are some clusters of hilly areas scattered all over the area. It is within the climatic zone characterized by wet and dry seasons.

The dry season stretches from November-April, while the rainy season starts from April to early October.

The immediate neighbors of Gwong include Bejju and Atyap in the north, Kagoro on the northeastern side; Kaninkong and Fontsuam are to the south eastern side. The Ham (Jaba) spread along a considerable length of the western side.

 AFFINITY OF GYONG

Language is part of culture and culture affects language. Language is the principal means by which people express their experiences, feelings and desires and people identify themselves through language. Language therefore occupies a very important position in the life of man.

In the colonial era, all African languages were considered inferior to Western languages in general and English in particular. To correct this misconception, there is a need to groom the people in general and Gwong in particular to understand and respect their cultural values, norms and beliefs and ways of life in order to discard foreign ones. This will help in self-realization and self- development.

A thorough understanding of Nigerian culture will create opportunities for the people to discover their roots, regain their lost identity and self-confidence and improve their self-knowledge. Some of the indigenous languages that had hitherto been relegated to the background due to the influence of other more developed languages are now coming up – Gyong belongs to this category of languages.

No attempt has so far been made to study Gyong language in detail. There is an urgent need for people to develop interest in preparing textbooks on grammar and structures of Gyong language for use in primary and secondary schools.

This need is more felt now that the Federal Government is placing great emphasis on the mother tongue. It is recommended in the National policy on Education that the mother tongue be used as a medium of instruction in the first three years of primary education and also taught as a subject from upper primary to the end of the junior secondary school.

Gyong, like most Nigerian languages tagged minor languages, is an obscure language at present, but no one knows what it will be in future since languages have potentials to develop. Harrison (1973) in Atsu (1986) confirms this assertion in the following words:

“It is one of the tenets of linguistics that one can do anything with any language given enough time all languages are capable of equivalent development. Language is value-free in relation to potential performance”.

Gyong language is a contrastive study because one learns more about what is common or not common. One can prove on certain theories of linguistics. It is also good to learn it in its own right.

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