Chuka University

PHRASE STRUCTURE GRAMMAR OF GICHUKA

HUMPHREY MUTUIRI MBAKA

2013

ABSTRACT

This study was based on the syntactic structures of Gichuka dialect of Kimeru language; spoken by the Chuka community which is part of the larger Meru. A phrase structure grammar of the Gichuka dialect of the Kimeru language is an effort to describe the Gichuka dialect in linguistic terms. Gichuka structures have not been given a lot of attention, therefore, it is  not known whether the structures of this language do conform to the frame work of Universal Grammar. The aim of the study was to analyze the basic Gichuka sentence structures with a purpose of trying to establish the rules behind words combination and also  to check if they conform to the universal grammar. The fact that very little if any has been done in regard to the study of Gichuka dialect justifies this study. This study was only based on analysis of basic syntactic structures and how they are structured as opposed to the transformational aspect of the phrases. The literature review was based on the related studies that have been done on other languages such as Kikuyu, Kiswahili, English and related dialects such as Kitigania and Kimwimbi. A descriptive  survey method was used for analysis.

People tend to simplify language as they speak thus avoiding complex structures, for this reason use of structure generation exercises by respondents would offer very limited data for analysis. This would lead to leaving out other possible structures of the dialect which could be necessary for analysis. Therefore, it was necessary for the researcher to make use of his intuitive knowledge as a native speaker of the dialect to generate other possible structures to complement those of the respondents. This is in line with Radford (1988) argument that linguists can work with informant‟s intuition and that in linguistic research; a researcher can also perform the role of a resource person. The collected data was purposively sampled, analyzed qualitatively and presented by use of the phrase structure model. The findings of the study give Gichuka a basis for linguistic analysis and further study by scholars. The study also helps in coming up with basic structures of Gichuka as a  means of describing the basic structures of Kimeru language. It also adds knowledge in the field of syntax of African languages which so far have not been investigated much at this level.

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