1.1 Background to the Study
Noun phrase also known as nominal phrase (abbreviated as NP) is a type of phrase which has a noun or an indefinite pronoun as head word of its phrase. Noun phrases are very common and are the most recurring phrase type. Noun phrases sometimes function as subjects and objects of verbs, as predicate expressions, and as the complements of prepositions.
This project therefore, is a study that entails the structural analysis of the noun phrase, structure of the Itsekiri language. This study shall present data and thorough analysis would be executed to support findings about the Itsekiri noun phrase.
1.2 The Itsekiri Language
The Itsekiri’s are located in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in the South of Delta State. Itsekiri’s are majorly located in Warri and Sapele.
The Itsekiri language is a branch of the Yoruboid group of languages. Itsekiri is most closely related to the south eastern Yoruba dialects with which it shares close similarity.
Nevertheless, from a linguistic standpoint, Itsekiri is most closely related to both Yoruba and Igala and incorporates elements of both languages. It is also influenced by Edo (Bini), Portuguese and English language and has taken loan words from neighbouring Ijaw and Urhobo languages. However, its basic structure, grammar and vocabulary is essentially Yoruboid with its closest relatives being the south eastern family of Yoruba dialects (Ijeba Ilaje-Ikale Ondo, etc.).
Below is a diagrammatic representation of Itsekiri’s language family.
Source: Williamson and Blench (2000)
1.3 Statement of the Problem
This research attempts to respond to the following research questions:
- What is the syntactic structure of the Itsekiri noun phrase?
- What are the notions of nominal heads in Itsekiri noun phrase?
- What are the constitutes of noun phrase in Itsekiri?
- What is the position of the head of a noun phrase in relation to its complement in the Itsekiri language?
1.4 Aims and Objectives of the Study
This study intends to achieve the following:
- To identify and analyse the syntactic structure of the noun phrase of Itsekiri language with the aid of X-bar theory
- To serve as a useful material or document for students of linguistics interested in the research and study of the Itsekiri noun phrase
- To serve as a guide to the Itsekiri’s who find it difficult to speak the language and are interested to learn
- To contribute to Itsekiri literacy
- To contribute to knowledge
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is of essence because it analyses the structure of the Itsekiri noun phrase using x-bar theory. This research hopes to clear any form of confusion or assumption in the minds of individuals naïve of the linguistic syntactic structure of the Itsekiri noun phrase.
It is the belief of this researcher that this study will hep solve language difficulty experienced amongst learners and users of the Itsekiri noun phrase.
1.6 Scope and Limitation
This research is restricted to the syntactic structural analysis of the noun phrase of the Itsekiri language using X-bar theory.
In this research, primary and secondary methods of data collection were both employed. These primary data were gotten from bilingual informants who speak Itsekiri and another language.
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