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LINGUIST List 20.3732

Mon Nov 02 2009

Diss: Syntax/Text/Corpus Ling: Ajani: 'Aspect in Yoruba and...'

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        1.    Timothy Ajani, Aspect in Yoruba and Nigerian English

Message 1: Aspect in Yoruba and Nigerian English
Date: 31-Oct-2009
From: Timothy Ajani <tajaniuncfsu.edu>
Subject: Aspect in Yoruba and Nigerian English
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Institution: University of Florida
Program: Program in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2001

Author: Timothy T. Ajani

Dissertation Title: Aspect in Yoruba and Nigerian English

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Pidgin, Nigerian (pcm)
                            Yoruba (yor)

Dissertation Director:
Martha J Hardman

Dissertation Abstract:

Yoruba has, for the most part, been analyzed by earlier grammarians from
the perspective of English, thus leading to an English-oriented analysis of
the language. This study presents a strictly aspect-based analysis of
Yoruba and its application to Tutuola's work and Nigerian English. Twelve
aspects are identified, which are subdivided into two main categories
comprising five simple and seven compound aspects. This dissertation makes
original contribution to Yoruba grammar by its presentation of Yoruba as an
aspect-based language, rather than a tense-based one, as previous analyses
have often tended to suggest. A closer look at Tutuola's English reveals
that much of the idiosyncrasies of his language are a result of the
unconscious transfer of the aspectual system of his native Yoruba into the
English of his writings. What this shows is that in Nigeria, the Yoruba
language has influenced the way English is written and interpreted. Data
from The Palm-Wine Drinkard, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and The Brave
African Huntress, three of Amos Tutuola's earliest novels, were used to
demonstrate this important influence on the work of Tutuola, a native of
Yorubaland who, in choosing to write in English, also chose not to leave
many of the features of his first language behind. The implications of this
study are several. At the disciplinary level, it affords the opportunity to
capture linguistic data as they develop, as well as provide new and fresh
insights into the internal workings of the Yoruba verb phrase in general
and aspectual relations in particular, thus enhancing our understanding of
the Yoruba language as linguistic system. It has implications for the
history of the English language and also leads to an understanding that
language contact is a two-way process, and that when two languages come
into contact, there are bound to be mutual influences at various levels of
grammar and usage. At the national and international levels, our
understanding of the language of Tutuola's work can have repercussions on
the way English is taught in nations where English is a second language,
and also on the way Yoruba is taught to speakers of English as first
language. The results of this study also have more general implications for
the theory of second language learning and teaching, and the science of
language in general, as it could lead to a better understanding of the role
the mother tongue plays in the acquisition of a second language in
non-native contexts.

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