Effect of Games on the Achievement and Interest of Junior Secondary School Students in Igbo Grammar

 

This study was carried out to investigate the effect of games on the achievement and interest of Junior Secondary School students in Igbo grammar. The effect of gender and location on the achievement and interest of JSSII students taught using games were also investigated. Six research questions were generated and ten null hypotheses formulated to guide the study. After a review of related literature, a quasi-experimental study of non-equivalent control group design was adopted. Intact classes were used. The sample consisted of one hundred and ninety-seven (197) JSSII students drawn from eight Secondary Schools in Nsukka Education Zone. Multi- Stage Sampling techniques was adopted for the sampling. In the first instance, stratified random sampling technique was employed to draw four Secondary Schools each from Nsukka Urban and Rural Locations. The Stratification was on the basis of gender and location. The sampled schools were randomly assigned by balloting to the treatment and control groups. Regular Igbo teachers taught the students. Identified extraneous variables were controlled and all the groups were pre and post-tested with the achievement test and interest inventory.

An internal consistency reliability estimate of 0.82 using Kuder-Richardson formula 20 was computed for Igbo

vii grammar achievement test (IGAT) while an internal consistency of 0.63 using crombach Alpha formula was calculated for Igbo language interest
inventory (ILII). The data generated from the study was analyzed using 2×2~2an alysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), means and standard deviations.
The major findings of the study were. there was no significant effect of game strategy on students’ achievement in Igbo grammar. there was a significant effect of qame strategy on students’ interest “. in Igbo grammar. gender was a significant factor on both the achievement and interest of students in Igbo grammar, location had a significant effect on both the achievement and interest of students in Igbo grammar. the combined effects of variables method, gender and location had an influence on both the achievement and interest of students in Igbo grammar but when a pair wise comparison was made on the
independent measures, there was significant effect on achievement but no significant effect on interest. The Educational implications of the findings were extensively discussed, The limitations of the study were also exposed while some recommendations were made which viii

include, that emphasis should be given to equipping students with the necessary skills in using games since it proved efficacious in enhancing students interest. Seminars and worksho.p s should be organized by the various organs of government on the importance of use of innovative strategies like games in teaching and learning process especially in the area of language education. Emphasis of these seminars should be laid on gender and location factors on
language education.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

Background to the study

The broad aims of secondary education within the overall national objectives of Nigerian education (FRN 1981) are as follows: “Preparation for useful living within the society, and preparation for higher education” (P.16). In specific terms, part of the mandate for the secondary school system is to develop and project Nigerian cultural heritage and to  foster Nigerian unity with emphasis on the common ties that mite us in our diversity, (F.R.N. 1981). To achieve the stated objectives, the Junior Secondary School Curriculum is structured to include two Nigerian Languages in the core subjects, while the Senior Secondary School Curriculum provides for a compulsory study of one Nigerian Language In selecting two Nigerian Languages, students are required to study the language of their own area in addition to any of the three main Nigerian Languages, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, subject to availability of teachers.

Ideally, the Nigerian child at Junior Secondary School level has at least two Nigerian Languages which he/she should strive to acquire since doing so will
make himlher a n~uch more effective Nigerian in terms of communication with fellow Nigerians. Language and culture are inseparable and to separate a child from his language and culture at an early stage of his school education is to make him have no regard for his culture. Apart from seeing language as a means of preserving the people’s culture, it is the basic factor in communication as well as a formidable tool of social interaction (Olagoke, 1979: 16).
It is against this background that the then National Education Research Council, (NERC) with its usual innovative educational ideas, was mandated
by Joint Committee on Education (JCE) held in January 1982 to develop the curriculum for the three main Nigerian Languages for use at the proposed
Junior Secondary School.

The objectives of this curriculum (NERC, 1982) are as follows lo teach Students to express themselves correctly in the appropriate Nigerian Languages, employing opprobrium lexical and figures of’ speech: demonstrate the familiarity of and acquaintance with on utility to discuss and explain elements of the oral tradition of’ the language (Folktales, riddles, games, songs e.l,c.)reud and appreciable literature written in Nigerien Languages without difficultly and a( u reu,soundless speed; carry out continuous writing in Nigerian Language employing correct usage of grammar, idiomatic expression, orthography, punctation and other mechanics of’ the Language; maniSest creativity in Nigerian Language through composition of short stories, plays, news-sheets, word-games son,qs etc, in the language; acquire the necessary tool to cope with further stitches in Nigerien Languages, if so desired .Subsequently, the National Curriculum in Igbo Language was structured by NERC in 1982, in line with the above objectives. The,Fourth and fifth objectives which deal with the written and grammatical dimension of the curriculum are of particular interest in this study.

This is because the utility values of any language lie in the ability to communicate ideas effectively in written and oral forms. From the researcher’s experience as a classroom teacher, it seems that the ideas are most communicated through plays, games, short stories and songs. The Igbo curriculum ‘ package is comprehensive. It employs both thematic and conceptual approach in organizing the content. This curriculum package is designed to make the
efforts of the teacher, the implementers of the curriculum, lighter. This is because the objectives for each topic has been broken into specific terms,
teachers and pupils activities including instructional method and media have been outlined for each topic. It is doubtful if these methods are effectively
utilized, particularly in the area of grammar consisting of’ alphabets,C UITCIII orthography, the sound system (tone marking) vowel harmony, formation of
words and sentences.

The suggested methods (FME, 1982) for teaching the grammatical contents include, discussion, silent reading, use of games and songs. The researcher seems to believe that if all these innovative methods are properly used, Students will perform highly in the subject. However from the researcher’s experience, it is doubtful if teachers are familiar with the methods especially in the areas of games and role-playing. The methods teachers use are mostly lecture method, which is not activity based. To get teachers familiar with the methods advocated in the curriculum, government has initiated training and retraining of Igbo language teachers through sponsorship of fresher courses and seminars. In the same vein, the society for the promotion of Igbo Language and culture (SPILC) has produced teachers’ guide for the teaching of Igbo. The society’s effort in this regard is epitomized in its “C)kaasusu Igbo” – Igbo meta language.

In spite of these efforts to raise the status of Igbo Language, the subject appears to be badly treated and neglectre d in schools (Ume, 1978 and Egudu, 1984). For instance all the aspects of the grammar of Igbo language, literature, culture are given the same time on the school timetable while English language and literature, apart f’rom being separately treated, have five periods and three periods respectively in a week. Furthermore, research findings show that the Igbo grammar which deals with igbo alphabets, current orthography, the sound system including vowel harmony and word formation are poorly taught (Ogbalu, 1976, Ume, 1978, Anasiudu, 1986). Ume, (1978) also pointed out that recognition of lgbo alphabets and vowels including the rules guiding the formation of words which are so important in Igbo Language studies are not e(mphasized by teachers. He maintained that lack of recognition of alphabets and vowcls resulted in students’ inability to harmonize words.

The researcher’s interaction with few schools during the teaching practice exercise showed that Junior Secondary School students do not know how to read and write Igbo alphabets much less using the letters to form words. This situation which is in agreement with Ume (1978) and Azkiwe (1989), appeared to have resulted in persistent poor achievement and low interest of students in Igbo Language, (WAEC REPORT, 1993). The level of achievement in Igbo Language by students is not encouraging. To buttress this point, table 1 shows the SSCE results in lgbo of 5 schools in Nsukka Local Government
Area after a period of 4 years (1995 – 1998).

language, literature, culture are given the same time on the school timetable while English language and literature, apart f’rom being separately
treated, have five periods and three periods respectively in a week. Furthermore, research findings show that the Igbo grammar which deals
with igbo alphabets, current orthography, the sound system including vowel harmony and word formation are poorly taught (Ogbalu, 1976, Ume, 1978,
Anasiudu, 1986). Ume, (1978) also pointed out that recognition of Igbo alphabets and vowels including the rules guiding the formation of words
which are so important in Igbo Language studies are not emphasized by teachers. He maintained that lack of recognition of alphabets and vowcls
resulted in students’ inability to harmonize words. The researcher’s interaction with few schools during the teaching practice exercise showed
that Junior Secondary School students do not know how to read and write Igbo alphabets much less using the letters to form words.

This situation which is in agreement with Ume (1978) and Azkiwe (1989), appeared tohave resulted in persistent poor achievement and low interest of students in Igbo Language, (WAEC REPORT, 1993). The level of achievement in Igbo Language by students is not encouraging. To buttress this point, table 1
shows the SSCE results in Igbo of 5 schools in Nsukka Local Government Area after a period of 4 years (1995 – 1998). Table 1 shows that for the five, schools’ results pulled together, the total percentage of outright failures were 2 1 % , 29 % , 30 % and 34 % for the years 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 respectively. This shows that about one third of the classes that took the examination in three out of four years failed. Also ordinary passes which is equally regarded as failures in the GCE standard attracted 42%, 18%, 19% and 15% failure rates for the four years respectively. For the results of individual schools; School A had failures of about 25% and above in three out of the four years. School B had failures of about 25% and above for the entire four years , or an average of 33 % failure for 4 years. School D had failures of 34 % and above for the entire years, or an average of 52% failure for 4 years. While School E had
failures of 40% and above for three (3) out of the four (4) years or an average of 38% failure for the 4 years. This table therefore goes to prove that the students are not performing highly in SSCE in Igbo Language.

This result corroborated with the WAEC Chief Examiner’s Reports (WAEC, 1993, 1996, 1997) as they all pointed to the fact that students are not performing as expected in Igbo language. For instance, the report were unanimous in pointing out that candidates were unable to express themselves very well in standard Igbo, had poor knowledge of grammatical rules, and could not differentiate between a pronoun and a prefix, were unable to put diacritic marks where necessary ‘and many of them wrote in their dialects, The above-identified indices of poor performance are  specifically related to Igbo grammar.
The contributory factors to this poor performance could be found among the followings: lack of interest by both parents, teachers and students (Afigbo, 197 1; Adiele, 1972; Nwadike, 1982), dialectal problems + (Nwachukwu, 1971 ; Ume 1978; Osisionwu, 1981 ; Emenanjo, 1987;), poor method of teaching (Okorie, 1979; Ubahakwe, 1982; Azikiwe, 1989) among others.

On lack of interest, Afigbo (1971) pointed out that the overwhelming a; majority of the educated Igbo have never been interested in their language.
He indicated that most of the elites cannot read or write in their own dialect in any script without tears. This societal problems have affected the students and teachers of Igbo, who are modeled by the societal norms. Similarly, Omeje (1997) indicated that, despite the fact that Igbo language has been a  compulsory subject in all schools, students do not attach much importance to its study, since it is not a pre-requisite for entry into the universities and other higher institutions as compared to English. In the area of dialectical probl-ems, Emenanjo (1979) and Nwachukwu (1983) claimed that Igbo Language is seen as a difficult subject because it lends itself to many dialects. Onwudiofu (1984) confirms the above claims. He observes that the problems of  dialectical influence made many students mix standard Igbo with their dialects.

This report agrees with the earlier indicated Chief Examiner’s report of 1993, 1996 and 1997. Research findings and personal experiences of the present researcher show that teachers do not use innovative methods outlined in the curriculum package in teaching Igbo. For instance, Onwuka (1981) observed that majority of our teachers do not use various methods in teaching the subject. He noted that the methods the teachers use like lecture and discussion are boring and cannot arouse the interest of students in learning, and this made some students resort to sleeping, chatting or moving out of the class during
Igbo lessons. This poor method of teaching made Ubahakwe (1979) comment that the Igbo language teachers are engaged in a psycho-linguistic
see-saw. That is an idea is conceived in Igbo, it is then coded in English in the class. This ugly situation affects the students’ performance in Igbo
language. Since innovative techniques seem to be lacking in the teaching of Igbo language there is need to try one which will be both activity oriented
and child centered to see whether it could arouse the interest oi’the students.

Among the strategies outlined in the Igbo curriculu~n package, the one that appears very motivating and interesting in terms of usage is game,
since every one is involved in one type of game or the other. However, as a teaching strategy, a game may mean a lot more. Learning games are
problem oriented. They have planning stage, execution stage and more importantly the de-briefing stage. Teaching 8anles are often associated with
simulalions probably because both of them involve role playing and the create problem solving situations. However, Games and simulations methods are quite different from each other. A game is played when two or more players compete or cooperate for pay offs according to a set of rules (Peason and Smith, 1986). In games, there is a winner and a loser. Game as teaching strategy is child centered.

Children play games easily without the aid of instructor. Also games allow for healthy competition among the competitors while simulation is centred
on posing and solving real life problems. Many researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of games in their various subject areas. For instance Anikweze (1988) proved that games were superior to conventional method in enhancing interest of students in Geography. Jones (l986), Obanya, (l987), Ibiam (1 987) and Okoye, (1993) also determined the usefulness of games as a teaching strategy both in science and social science subjects. However, learning games are not without their problems. They appear to be time consuming. Evaluation of learning accruing from them might be diffidult, Finally,
playing of the game might become more important to learners than learning from the game. Although the use of games as a teaching strategy has been
demonstrated to be effective in subjects like geography, sciences, and social sciences, Its effectiveness is yet to be determined in the teaching of Igbo
Language.

Similarly, even though gender gap in coinprehension and expression in any language remain inconclusive, it is a general belief that girls are more prone to learning of language than boys. (Terman & Tyler, 1954). The question of whether games should show such gender gap with respect to Igbo language becomes crucial. In like manner, Emenanjo (1979) and Nwachukwu (1983) observed that there is dialectical interference in Igbo grammar. The question of the influence of school location on students’ performance in lgbo grammar using the games technique needed to be addressed.

 

Effect of Games on the Achievement and Interest of Junior Secondary School Students in Igbo Grammar

 

Statement of the Problem

There is evidence to show that the level of attainment in Igbo language and in written grammar in particular is lower than expected in the
secondary schools. The Chief Examiner’s Reports (WAEC, 1993, 1996 & 1997) indicated that candidates were unable to express themselves very well
in standard Igbo, had poor knowledge of grammatical rules, could not differentiate between a pronoun and a prefix, were unable to put diacritic
marks where necessary and many of them wrote in their dialects. This low level of achievement has been attributed primarily to poor teaching
1 methods (Madubuko, 1991). The methods presently in use by teachers of Igbo language as pointed out by Okorie(1979), is mainly lecture method. Probably, the non-use of innovative methods that are problem solving oriented such as games, simulation and project method could be the main cause of poor performance of students’in Igbo language. This is because the lecture method dominantly used seems to make students passive participants in the teaching process
(Okorie, 1979). More importantly, lecture method does not allow teachers to adapt learning to the level of students understanding (Mkpa, 1987). Consequently, teachers find it difficult to adapt lecture method to the teaching of rudimentary aspects of Igbo grammar such as vowel harmony
and word formation. Thus, students find these aspects of Igbo grammar difficult. There is then the need to seek ways of making the teaching of Igbo
grammar more effective in order to enhance students’ achievement and interest. Therefore, the problem of this study put in question forms are as
follows: To what extent will the use of games positively influence students’ achievement and interest in some aspects of Igbo grammar? Also how does
location and gender affect students’ achievement and interest in Igbo?

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study was to find out the effect of some games on achievement and interest of Junior Secondary Students in igbo
Grammar. Specifically, the study intended to:
(a) determine the effect of games on the achievement of students taught vowel harmony and word formation.
(b) determine the effect of gender on the achievement of students taught using games
(c) determine the effect of location .on the achievement of students taught using games.
determine the effect of games on the interest of students taught vowel harmony and word formation.
determine the effect of gender on the interest of students taught using games.
determine the effect of location on -the interest of students taught using games.
determine the interaction effect of games method and gender on students’ achievement and interest in Igbo grammar.
determine the interaction effect of game method and location on b students’ achievement and interest in Igbo language.

 

Effect of Games on the Achievement and Interest of Junior Secondary School Students in Igbo Grammar

 

 

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A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF BORROWING AND INDIGENISATION OF FOREIGN WORDS INIGBO AND GERMAN

 

1. Introduction: Parallels in Diversities “A little learning makes the whole world kin”‘ The above quotation demonstrates the awareness, the realisation
and the satisfaction that could be derived in an attempt at a devotion of a little time to the study of foreign languages or languages other than
mother-tongues. – German has been described by many, includingnative speakers, as a language very difficult to study and very difficult to g,ras6. One
scholar, a German, would rather 20 in for the study of all the sciences in the world than go in for the study of Gernlanistics. The reason for the choice above is no other than the difficulty in studying the German Language. Mark Twain, in an attempt to describe how difficult it is to study and grasp the German  language summarized his write-up by maintaining, that “a gifted person ought to learn English in thirty hours, French in thirty days and German in thirty years”.

2 Thesis of course an  exaggeration. For scholars of Gennan, the difficulty lies mainly with the declensions. One scholar “would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective.T”hi s declension of adjectives is a tricky affair even for  native speakers. There are also criticisms of the maintenance of three
genders in the l a n ~ u a g eT. h~e difficulty here lies in the fact that animals do not simply assume their biological genders, nor is the neuter reserved
for non-living things alone. The case of pronouns like the three-letter word “Sie” which assumes many meanings depending on the context also confuses a lot of beginners in the language. ThIs situation is also believed to denote poverty of vocabulary in the language.’ German is also criticised for its seperabie-prefix verbs which when they seperate from their prefixes send the said prefixes to the end of the sentences making the quick to understand  and making of the sentences difficult particular1 y long ones.

There are other characteristics of German, which are believed to make it elusive and too slippery to grasp. Some characteristics of Igbo language have also earned the language the reputation of being an elusive and slippery language. Igbo is a tonal language. A word can assume two or more tonal patterns giving it two or more meanings. In other words, certain words in Igbo do not just have one pronunciation and more than one meaning as in many European and other languages. Rather, many Igbo words assume different meanings according to their pronunciation. For the above reason, Igbo has been criticised as a languagelaclang in vocabulary. The tonal characteristic of Igbo language is a difficult task for foreigners and even for native speakers when reading Igbo texts. It is this charadenstic that often results in a foreigner saying the word “buttocks” in Igbo when he means “strength”, “power” and “energy”. I ~ bhoa s been criticized by non-experts for “igbonising” foreign words. f i s “igbolization” of words has been blamed on poverty of  vocabulary in the language.

Without delving into all the peculiarities of Igbo and German, we have chosen to study the indigenisation patterns in Igbo and German with a view to gaining some useful insights into the differences and similarities of languages which are so far away from each other. This in turn will be of some didactic use in language teaching. We have maintained from the start that no characteristic of any language per se is peculiar. There are language universals as  ascertained by linguists (Bach & Harms, 1968).

2. Indigenisation as a characteristic of living languages Borrowing in language means taking a word or concept from one language to use it in another language. The word so taken is referred to as a loan-word. homogenization is a step further in the process, whereby the loan-word is naturalized to fit into the morphological and phonological make-up of the borrowing language. But indiginization may also mean taking a word as it is, and articulating it either, as it is
articulated in the original language, or, it is articulated with the phonetics of the borrowing language. (Sturtevant, 1967: 142ff). An example of the above view of indigenization is the English word ‘job’ which has been taken into the German language, but articulated by many German as [d3cp] as opposed to Ijcp]. Indigenisation is therefore not a new phenomenon but is seen as something old and universal.

In her paper Ikekeonwu maintains that Igbo has borrowed from other languages just like any other living language (Ikekeonwu, 1982). Similar ideas are expressed by Jeffreys in h s work (Jeffreys, 1932: 503-506). In his discussion on the German lnyage, Harold von Hofe has this to say: “Auch das Deutsch hat sich im Lauf seiner k3wicklung stark veraendert. Es hat Woerter aus dem Lateinkchen und Griechischen aufgenommen, aus dem Franzoesischen, Italienischen and Spanischen und in den letzten Jahrzehnten ksonders aus dem Enghschen …” (Hofe, 1976:5). (“The German language has also changed very much in the process of its development. It has borrowed from Lstin, G~eek, French, Italian, Spanish and in the last decades especially from English …”).
In his own essay, Kenneth Oliver illustrates in detail how the English language s extensively used both Greek and Latin elements to create their own words. He also shows that Englisg has borrowed extensively from all over the world by different means. English speakers have sometimes simply taken over the foreign word as it was, or with minor chances in the endings or in some one or two letters [Oliver, 1962: 87). Jean-Paul and Rebecca Valette (1976: 28) maintain that French contains many French-English cognates and that about 60% of all English words are of French orign. hi his own essay, J.A. Sheard says. “The adoption of native names for new objects, products and ideas is not characteristic of English: the objects have made their way into most countries and in majority of cases the native word has been adopted with the object or idea” (Sheard, 1954: 267). It is therefore clear from the discussions that borrowing of foreign words in any language is a welcome phenomenon. It is a characteristic of a living language. But in this paper, we have taken indigenisation to near something more than just borrowing.

 

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF BORROWING AND INDIGENIZATION OF FOREIGN WORDS IN IGBO AND GERMAN

 

PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN IGBO LANGUAGE SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATIONS

 

Abstract

The Igbo language is among the three major Nigerian languages to be studied in schools in Nigeria, the others are Hausa and Yoruba languages. This implies that Igbo language occupies a very important linguistic position in Nigeria, hence the federal government approval of it. Unfortunately, Igbo language students have been performing poorly in the senior secondary school certificate examinations. This ugly situation has continued to be of great
concern to those crusading for Igbo language growth. This study therefore, investigated the factors affecting students’ performance in Igbo language in
the senior secondary school certificate examinations. Two research questions were, raised for the study. Data were collected using a set of structured
questionnaire which was distributed to 200 respondents which comprised only the Igbo language students. It was discovered that there are insufficient
number of teachers to teach the Igbo language. Also the attitude of students, parents, teachers and the larger society constitute some factors affecting
students performance in Igbo language in senior secondary school examinations. In the light of the findings, recommendations were made.
These include: That the number of qualified teachers who teach Igbo language should be increased and that the government should create more job opportunities for graduates of Igbo language.

Introduction

The importance of language to man need not to be overemphasized. Language is one of man’s most remarkable attributes. It is an absolute precondition for nearly al our social life, and it is the medium in which most organized thought and communication proceed.
Highlighting the importance of language to man, Adetugbo (1980:2) states that “all human societies, and institutions are made possible only by man’s possession of language”.Odusina (1989:17) in his view observes that “without language, there would be mental isolation and thought stagnation in interaction either”. Closely related to this, Obanya (1981:3) said that language is seen as “man’s most important gift, the vehicle for communication
and a good instrument for thought and creativity”. For Pickering and Hoeper (1990:87) language is, “the means by which the writer controls and influences the reader”. Language is so important in teaching and learning process such that the Nigerian government appreciates it as a means for
promoting social interaction and national cohesion (FRN, 2004). Igbo as a language is very important especially the cultural aspect. This is because, it is the basis or the foundation of Igbo people. With Igbo language, social, moral, religious and economic values and norms of the Igbo people are inculcated. For instance, values such as respect for elders, hospitality, dressing, beliefs, being hard working are appreciated through the major genres of oral and written literature as works of art and as vehicles of culture and history of the people (Onwuka and Uloh- Bethels, 2010).
In the history of Igbo, a lot of people have made efforts to see that the language does not extinct.
Starting from the time of Dr S.EOnwu and his committee, whose effort led to the present orthography in see now. Also, scholars like, Ogbalu, Ugonna, Emenanjo, Nwadike and others, have been promoting Igbo language. For instance, in an attempt to see that Igbo language stays, Ogbalu single handedly
introduced the society for the promotion of Igbo language and culture (SPILC) whose among the objectives according to Nwadike (2002) is to demonstrate the capability of Igbo language to serve as a language of communication and transaction at all levels of governmental, educational and
commercial concern. However, inspite of these efforts made by these Igbo scholars one wonders why most native speakers of Igbo language do not embraced Igbo language. The attitude is noticeable in many schools especially secondary schools. Supporting this, Maduabum (2010) noted that the most successful terrain in ensuring that the Igbo language disappears from the face of the earth is our schools.
According to him, from the nursery to the university level, you are sometimes regarded as being savage if you speak Igbo. Infact, you will be tagged “Jewman” which nobody can explain what it means. In our secondary schools, especially the private schools, you are not only punished but also mocked for

PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN IGBO LANGUAGE SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATIONS

 

 

PROOJECT TOPIC – AMBIGUITY AND POLYSEMY IN

IGBO: A CASE STUDY OF NSUKKA DIALECT

CLUSTER

 

ABSTRACT

This dissertation extensively looked at the operations of both the lexical and structural features of polysemy and ambiguity. It is a cognitive semantic study of these sense relations as they operate in the Nsukka dialect cluster of Igbo. The analysis made here was based on the use of contextual theory propounded by L. Wittgenstein in 1956. Related literature of other scholars were reviewed to determine the relationships and differences between them and the present work. Data collected were analysed and possible interpretations given. The researcher, to a large extent, used a native-speaker advantage to provide innumerable examples of both polysemy and ambiguity. The findings revealed that ambiguity in metaphorical extensions is a culture-specific phenomenon. It was discovered that „relatedness‟ is a criterion in determining whether a word is polysemous or is homonymous. In this study, we saw that a polysemous word takes a single entry in the dictionary while homographs take different entries. The research also revealed that while the use of ambiguity is sought in some cases, it is despised in others. The study recommended that for effective communication, speakers/writers should use expressions that have the simple meanings as to facilitate speaker/hearer interaction whenever possible

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Language is one of the greatest endowments of man by nature. It is a phenomenon which singles man out from all other creatures. Language is an indispensable tool in human existence. It plays a major role in the development of any nation. Researchers have in very many ways defined language. Carnie (2007:3) sees language as “…a psychological or cognitive property of humans”. Other authors like Akwanya (2005), Ndimele (1999), Anagbogu, Mba and Eme (2001) and a host of others all see language as a systematic means of communicating ideas and expressing feelings by the use of vocal symbols and conventionalized signs, gestures or marks that are mutually intelligible to the users of the given language. Richards and Schmidt (2002:283) also see language as “the system of human communication which consists of the structured arrangement of sounds (or their written representation) into larger units of morphemes, words, sentences, and utterances”.
The scientific study of language is what is called linguistics. According to Richards and Schmidt (2002:312), Linguistics is: the study of language as a system of human communication. Linguistics includes many different approaches to the study of language and many different areas of investigation, for example sound system (phonetics, phonology) sentence structure (syntax), relationships between language and cognition (cognitive linguistics), meaning systems (semantics, pragmatics, functions of language), as well as language and social factors (sociolinguistics). Several specialized branches of linguistics have also developed in combination with other disciplines, e.g. applied linguistics, anthropological linguistics, psycholinguistics, forensic linguistic.

The foregoing establishes semantics as a branch of linguistic investigation that inquires into meanings of morphemes, words, phrases, clauses, sentences, utterances, as well as discourses. Spencer-Oatey and Zegarac (2002) opine that “… the task of semantics is to describe and explain linguistic meaning, that is, what a given utterance means by virtue of the words used and the ways in which they are put together”. Among scholars, there seems to be a consensus opinion as to the fact that semantics is the study of meaning, where divergent views are seen is in pinning down the meaning of “meaning”. Over the years, the meaning of “meaning” has defiled a common acceptable definition. Ogden and Richards (1923) were able to give not less than sixteen different meanings of meaning (Palmer, 1976:2). Thus, Ogden and Richards assert that the meaning of meaning cannot be unified into one single definition apparently because the words used to represent certain concepts may not have fixed meanings. This may be why Ndimele (2005:2) likened meaning to a chameleon, “changing the colour of its effect with a change of speaker, hearer, context or settings”.

When a word or a group of words is capable of having more than one interpretation, then the word or group of words is said to be ambiguous. If it has to do words, it is categorized under lexical ambiguity, but if it concerns more than one word (e.g. a phrase, a clause, or a sentence), it falls under structural ambiguity. This therefore, means that ambiguity can either be lexical or sentential. If ambiguity is present in a sentence due to multiple meaning of a particular lexical item, that particular lexical item is said to be polysemous. Agbedo (2000:157) posits that “polysemy refers to a set of different meanings associated with a word, that is, when a given word is amenable to different interpretations”. Ambiguity and polysemy impede communication and we know that the overall function of language is to achieve effective communication. For communication to take place, there has to be understanding between the speaker and the hearers. Hybels and Weaver (1989:93) opine that “understanding is a two-way process; that is, the speaker is responsible for presenting the idea clearly, and the listener is responsible for trying to understand it accurately”.

If a speaker consciously or unconsciously utters ambiguous expressions, the hearer may give a different interpretation from what the speaker intends to communicate, and this would imply that the speaker has not communicated effectively, therefore, his/her utterance has failed to satisfy the felicity conditions of Austin‟s (1962) Speech Act Theory which requires the speaker to, among other things, fulfill the sincerity condition by providing participants with the requisite thoughts, feelings and intentions, as specified by the procedure (Saeed, 2009: 236).

 

PROOJECT TOPIC – AMBIGUITY AND POLYSEMY IN

IGBO: A CASE STUDY OF NSUKKA DIALECT

CLUSTER

 

 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Language is used basically for communication. It is observed that ambiguity impedes effective communication. If a hearer/listener misconstrues what a speaker intends because the speaker has used an ambiguous expression, it may result in some conditions like chaos, anger, misunderstanding, etc. This situation as it affects the Nsukka dialect has not been given any attention at least as far as the dialect cluster is concerned. The present study is an attempt to fill this gap by investigating the extent to which ambiguity can affect effective communication in our dialect of study. The study, in order to be able to do this will have to identify what constitutes ambiguous structures at both the lexical and phrasal levels. The researcher also will extend the study to polysemous structures in the area of study.

 

PROJECT TOPIC – AMBIGUITY AND POLYSEMY IN

IGBO: A CASE STUDY OF NSUKKA DIALECT

CLUSTER

BASKET INDUSTRY IN IHIALA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA,ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

The study was inspired by the near absence of scholarly work on the basket industry in Ihiala, Anambra State of Nigeria. The main objective was to establish the fact that basket is one of the world crafts that have remained aesthetically and functionally acceptable in the modern world amidst industrially manufactured products. Again, this study attempts to highlight the cultural, historical, religious, economic, and aesthetic importance of basket industry in Nigeria.
Quantitative and Iconographical methods were used. Text and interview approaches were adopted to obtain relevant information. From the information  Collected, there is insufficient literature contrary to the age and functions of basket industry. The study also observes that the society has gone through some obvious changes and in the same vein, pre-colonial basketry has undergone drastic changes from the conventional types to customised types. Modernizations have succeeded in giving more glamour to traditional basketry. And as such, its relevances should be documented adequately.

 

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Basketry is a process as well as a product of weaving together different materials like cane, palm frond, kaba leaves, rubber, metal wires among others. It is  otherwise known as the craft of basket–making. It is a container made of interwoven strips of cane or wire for holding or carrying things. Basket,  according to The New Encyclopedia Britannica, is the art and craft of making interwoven objects, usually containers from flexible vegetable fibers, such as twigs, grasses osiers, bamboo and rushes. To this effect, basket can be made from any material that is flexible or weak provided the material can be bent at ease. Baskets are generally called ekete but because of differences in dialect, they are called nkata in Anambra State, ekete in Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu State; and ide in Umuahia.

There are various types of baskets with different and varying designs. Baskets come in various sizes and perform multiple functions. These variations can  be achieved by varying the pattern of the weave or by introducing coloured fibres. The modern era has introduced organic shapes into basket– making and this is evident in diverse functions and the methods of producing these baskets.  To keep pace with the trends, basket makers have also widened their range of products and the types to include baskets made with metal wires, dried rushes, rubber types of basket, baby rattles, roll baskets, posy basket, serving baskets, flower baskets among many others. Baskets are utilitarian objects. In one’s everyday life, one finds oneself making use of these different types of basket for one’s daily needs. It is one of the world crafts that have remained aesthetically and functionally acceptable in the modern world amidst industrially manufactured products.

A number of factors account for this. It is relatively cheap, affordable and readily available. Anybody in the society can purchase and own one. The materials are also cheap and many of them can be gathered free. Moreover, it is highly patronized in the northern part of Nigeria. Basket-making is in different traditional styles and this depends on their uses. For example, nkata ube (basket for pea) is used for carrying and storing pea; while ukpa another type of  basket, rectangular in shape is used mainly by palm-wine tapers for carrying domestic animals and other farm products to the market. There are also
some baskets that are made for ritual purposes.

Basketry is one of the oldest of all crafts we know today. However, its origin in Igbo land is not known and cannot be traced, but it is claimed to be as old as  the Igbo race. It has transcended many generations. Corroborating this, Chukwunyere (2008), states that the oldest known basket dates between 10,000 and 12,000 years old in Fauyin. This date is earlier than any established dates for its archaeological finds.In the Middle East, other baskets were discovered 7000 years ago. Oyelola also states that basketry appears on the continent of Africa at the same time as mat-making in Egypt in 4000 BC3. She further  States that one of the earliest written references we have of basket in Nigeria is by James Welsh who visited Benin in 15884.The art of basket-making is a very lucrative craft in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

They are needed for many purposes ranging from carrying or storing of fish, transporting of fowls, goats, pots or groundnuts. As a result, it can be argued that basket has some advantages over plastic containers. However, the indigenous basket maker Ohanusi John from Alukabia in Ihiala Local Government when orally interviewed agrees that the functionality of basketry cannot be over emphasized and that there are varieties of baskets, which are categorized as follows: nkata ukwu (biggest basket), nkata oji (basket for kolanut),nkata aki (basket for palm kernel), nkata ukwa (basket of breadfruit), nkata ube (basket of pea), abo or avo (basket for carrying animals), akpara (basket for spreading cereals or other food stuffs for drying), ukpa (basket for carrying kegs of palm wine or domestic animals), and many others.

To buttress this point further, the names, materials and methods the local craftsmen adopt in the making of baskets in Ihiala are the same. Ohanusi  xplains that Ihiala local Government is noted for using palm fronds fiber in making their baskets. These baskets are called nkata or ekete5. The palm frond fiber is very common in Ihiala region because of the humid environment that favours palm trees and enhance the making and processing of raw materials for  Basket industry. Although they use the same fiber for the making of basket, there is however, diversification in the sizes, shapes and uses. Another relevant informant is Muonanu. When interviewed orally, she corroborated the views of Ohanusi and in addition confirms that basket is known by different names  which is synonymous to their uses6. For example nkata aki (basket for kernel) which is narrowly weaved starting from the base and expands at the top is not as firmly secured as nkata ukwa (basket for breadfruit). It is important to mention that nkata ukwa is roundish in shape with tinny weft and warp  trands.

The making is tight and firm to avoid friction and losses when it is used for washing breadfruit. The influence of modernization has not really been  mbraced by the Ihiala traditional basketry. The same technique was adopted and transferred from generation to generation. There is little or no evidence of modern  technology in all the baskets produced by the craftsmen in Ihiala. Nwosu Emma, a traditional craftsman when orally interviewed believes that if we fine–tune the local technique of fibre processing to bring them in line with modern practices, the local craftsman will go international. He states further that he went into modernized basket-making because of some challenges in his life and also agrees that economic hardship is another instrumental factor to people’s desire and option for going into basket-making.

8 Many people are running away from basket-making because they lack creative ingenuity and encouragement from the society. If they are adequately encouraged, the skill will become honorable, desirable and marketable. It will create more job opportunities for the people of Ihiala. And many people will go into craft full time and this will lead to the development of more complex innovations for local consumption and export. Geographical Location of Ihiala The progress of any nation is largely dependent on its people. The same is applicable of a town and Ihiala being one of the prominent towns in Anambra State is not an exception. Ihiala is located in the South-Eastern zone of Anambra State.

It is surrounded in the East by Nnewi South Local Government Area, Anambra state and Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State respectively, in the west by Ogbaru Local Government Area, in the North by Ekwusigo Local Government Area and Oru-West Local Government Area of Imo State in the South. Some decades ago, Ihiala had nothing to bring it into the limelight or prominence. But today, the town has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis in the field of  education, religion, agriculture, politics, economy and arts and crafts. Ihiala is located within the rainforest and Guinea Savanna Zone of Igbo-land. The fertility of the land has made the town very rich in agricultural crops like palm trees, cassava, yam among many others. And because of the strategic  location of Ihiala and its network of roads, buying and transporting of baskets become convenient for the patrons.

 

BASKET INDUSTRY IN IHIALA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA,ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA

Statement of the Problem

Since the ancient times, baskets have been part of human existence. In spite of this, no serious effort has been made by scholars and researchers to study and document the art of basket making. It is therefore very necessary to highlight the material, cultural and social roles of basket, which is used to interpret values, beliefs and attitudes of the people.

BASKET INDUSTRY IN IHIALA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA,ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA