British Journal of English Linguistics (BJEL)

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A Contrastive Investigation of English and Ekpari Inflection System


Inflectional morphemes perform grammatical functions. It is often added to a root word to show a particular grammatical function. The inflection system varies from one language to another. Second Language Learners of English tend to encounter problems due to this variation. Guided by Contrastive analysis as the theoretical underpinning, the study focuses on the extent to which the inflectional system of English and Ekpari are similar or different in number, tense, aspect and agreement. Data on Ekpari were generated from two indigenous speakers of Ekpari through interviews and discussion while data on English were sourced from relevant literature and grammar textbooks. Findings revealed that Ekpari typically uses prefixes as inflectional morphemes to mark grammatical categories while the English language typically uses inflectional suffixes to mark the same function. Besides, it was also discovered that Ekpari does not mark genitive case and agreement inflection. In English, nouns are inflected to mark genitive cases while verbs are inflected in terms of person and number to show agreement with the subject but such does not exist in Ekpari.  Ekpari does not mark possession, aspect or agreement relations.  The nouns do not have to agree or correspond with the finite verb for agreement in the language. Thus, verbs do not change their forms for purposes of agreement in Ekpari. Hence, Ekpari learners of English must be adequately exposed to master the rules guiding inflection process in the English language to overcome the likely problems these differences will pose to them


Keywords: Ekpari, English, contrastive, inflection system

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