A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THIS NATURE IS BASICALLY ON THE SUPRASEGMENTAL FEATURES OF THE IGBO AND IBIBIO LANGUAGES, AIMED AT TACKLING SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING.

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CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

1.0       INTRODUCTION

This chapter is concerned with the history of the Igbo, Ibibio languages and its speakers, language classification, statement of the research problem, objectives of the study, the research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, delimitations of the study and definition of basic terms.

1.1       BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Language according to Yusuf (2012) potentially is a communicative medium capable of expressing issues and concepts as well as moods, feelings and attitudes. Adedeji (2015) views language as an integral part of human behaviour and it serves as the primary means of interaction between people. This means that language is an inevitable and inseparable tool from human beings as it permeates their lives from birth to death. No aspect of human activities can be succesful without the effective use of language, human beings need it to share ideas, experiences, emotions, and interact with other people in the society or in environment, (Ayeomoni, 2011).  Emeka-Nwobia (2015) avers that the repository of people’s identity and way of life is enmbodied in their language as well as transferrred to other people and newer generations, via the means of language. That is, language is tied to culture of a group of people. No culture can thrive without language, just as no society can exist without language. Characteristically, language is species specific and is of generic possession that is peculiar to human beings. The share of a common code between individuals in a society is involved in language. These codes individuals share are arbitrary patterned in the form of symbols which could be in a vocal or written form.

In contemporary linguistic description, a second language speaker inevitably encounters some difficulties in the pronunciation of words due to the influence of his/her mother-tongue (L1) on the target language (L2). The underlying differences between the languages in contact which give rise to the problems exhibited by most L2 speakers are likely to be recognised at the levels of modern linguistic analyses: phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatic levels of description, Ekpe (2000). Adetugbo (1993) opines that the interplay of the L1 and L2 seem to be most evident at the phonological level than other levels of language analyses. Reason is that, the speaker may maintain the morphological, lexical and syntactic varieties to achieve a balance semantic importance of utterances, but this same process can hardly be maintained at the phonological level without a slight divergence from that of the native speaker (RP) utterances. Thus, the ability for an Ibo learner of Ibibio and Ibibio learner of Igbo to communicate effectively is hinged upon an appropriate selection and ordering of phonological structures. Ibo learners of Ibibio and vice-versa would ordinarily experience a learning and pronunciation problem bordering on interference as a result of differences between the Igbo and Ibibio phonology. The problem could make it difficult for the Ibo learners of Ibibio and vice-versa to achieve success in their learning endeavour.

Phonology, which is the bedrock for studies of indigenous languages studies how segmental and suprasegmental patterns of a language are specified and organised. Analysis in phonology may reveal similarities in various aspects of two or more language. It is important to note that every language has its own unique sound pattern; no language shares the same phonological rules. This study aims at investigating the suprasegmental features (tone and intonational patterns) in the Igbo and Ibibio languages, providing an insight to the types of tone and intonational patterns of the two languages in order to determine their similarities and differences. The phonological variation in their tone and intonational patterns will constitute a pronunciation problem to the Igbo learners of Ibibio and the Ibibio learners of Igbo.

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THIS NATURE IS BASICALLY ON THE SUPRASEGMENTAL FEATURES OF THE IGBO AND IBIBIO LANGUAGES, AIMED AT TACKLING SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING.