Language is an interesting phenomenon.  Apart from being a means of communication, permeates every facets of life of human beings. Though there are many languages as are people, the interesting part of it is that language is unique in its own rights. Therefore, when two languages meet (as in the case between Igbo and Yoruba), there is bound to be areas of inference (see Weinreich 1953, Lado 1957, James 1980, Apple and Muyisken 1987, Asiyanbolan 1998 Ojo 1998, Akindele and Adegbite 1999, Farinde and Ojo 2005)

          Igbo language (target language) and Yoruba language (The Mother tongue) are quite different from each other. Despite the fact that the two languages take its source from the Afro – Asiatic languages, it is noted that they have areas of similarities a fact which passes problems to Yoruba learners of Igbo as a second language.

          This line of thought is even corroborated by the hypotheses of Lado (1957:267) to him where the language are similar in the two languages compared, learners of the target language would find language relatively easy because the “inputs” they are now exposed to are not new to them. On the other hand, where the language of the target and the mother tongue differ, the learning of the target languages which is Igbo here will be relatively difficult.

1.2     Background of the Study 
          Linguistics have noticed that languages vary in respect of order of phrasal categories in simple sentence, how, morphemes and words combine to form larger grammatical units that studies how words form phrases, how phrases from clauses form sentence. As a result, languages are classified on the basis or word other typologies they exhibits in simple basic sentences. Igbo and Yoruba and SVO word other in simple sentence. That is to say, the linear arrangement of phrasal categories in simple Igbo sentences. Follows the order. Subject S = Verb (V), Object (O), thus, a simple sentence in Igbo comprises a subject NP, a verb and an object. NP in that linear order.

          Both languages, Igbo and Yoruba takes their source from the Afro – Asiatic languages. Asiyabola (1998) in Iyons (1971) Igbo language belong to “Kwa” group seen in the west and central Africa. Igbo is one of the Kwa group of languages spoken widely in Nigeria by well over 50 million people Igbo and Yoruba are tone language of education, commerce, technology and social activity. Nigerian languages share a lot of cultural linguistic features, ranging from distinctive tones to Morphological and syntactic features yet there are significant difference between them since no two languages are exactly the same no matter the genealogical relationship. If for instance, Igbo language has the same typology (SVO) in its sentence structure with that of Yoruba, there will be definitely be some features that are likely not to be the same.

          Learners of Igbo language just like other language learners have the idiosyncratic feature of their first language, (L1) as part of their intellectual make up and cannot extricate them from their stimulus system to which they function as response. Iloene (2005) quoted in fries (1945) lend credence to the above when she affirms that the problem in foreign language learning are caused by the existing habit arising from the first language (L1) acquisition.

          The learner’s utilization of the first language (L1) and other languages known to him affect his ability to learn L2. In fact, scholars recognize the importance of the student native language in new language learning this has led to the field of study know as contrastive analysis. Since there is no way that a Yoruba speaker learning Igbo can be fluent in the target language just like this researcher agrees with the scholars that a thorough contrastive analysis of two languages can reliably predict all the problems a learner of one language can experience in learning a target language. In doing this, is believed that much could be learned from the types of error students make.

          As a result of this, the researcher looks at the contrastive analysis of Igbo and Yoruba pronouns and contrast them. The choice of the Igbo language is based on the fact that it is one of the languages which according to the language policy in Nigeria is to be taught in secondary school. It is therefore hope that this work would be beneficial to learners of Igbo and Yoruba language. On the other hand according to the “espicorder” what is similar may have same spelling but different pronunciation. With the concern of this research being the contrastive analysis of Igbo and Yoruba pronouns, it could be of great significance to the teacher of Yoruba learner of Igbo to develop methods of teaching the language of his learners and when imbibe will go a long way in understanding the target language. And have essential that would be built on in her carrier as Igbo linguistic student.


          According to Ukut (1998) it is instructive to note that despite the genetic historical or typological affinity existing between some of the Nigerian languages, they are not mutually inter-comprehensible it is noted that they have areas of similarities, a f acts which process problems to Yoruba learners and users of second language. This is even corroborated by the hypothesis of Lado (1957:267) where to him the languages patterns are similar in the two languages compared, learners of the target language would find language relatively easy because the inputs they are now exposed to are not new to them on the other hand, where the language patterns of the target language and the mother – tongue differ, the learning of the target language would be relatively difficult. It was observed that the subject in this study faced difficulties with the concept under contrast because their mother tongue patterns differ from those of the target language they are learning and using.


          According to Lado (1957) in Oludare (2007) individual tend to transfer the forms and meaning and the distribution of form and meaning of their native language and culture to the foreign language and culture both productively when attempting to speak and act in the culture and receptively when attempting to grasp and understanding the language and culture practiced by the native in this research the researcher agrees with the scholar that a thorough contrastive analysis of the two language and reliably predict all the problems or some of the problem a learner of one language can experience in learning a target language.



There is no doubt that differences abound in the two languages. Following the obvious assertion that there is no uniformity in language having discovered the similarities between Igbo and Yoruba, the difference should be noted in all aspects. This will be the main focus of the teacher or learner to study the patterns as well as mastering them having done this, it will be easy to learn the target language which is Igbo.


          This is a model of grammar, a descendant of extended standard theory and ultimately of classical transformational grammar: also called government and binding theory. It assumes that sentences have three main levels of structure: D – structure, S – Structure and logical form. S – Structure is derived from D – Structure, by a single transformation, move alpha, which essentially means move anything anywhere. Various so called sub – theories interact with this to allow just the right structures to be generated.

The main sub – theories are:- - X – Bar theory, theta theory, case theory, binding theory, bounding theory, control theory and government theory. Because of the way these sub – theories interact, GB is commonly described as ‘Modular’ theory. Proponents of GB suggest that essentially the same principles of syntax are operative in all languages, although they can take a slightly different form in different languages. For this reason, GB is often referred to as ‘principles and parameters’ approach.

X – Bar Theory. (X1).

          This theory deals with the relationship between the head of a phrase and element that are dependent on it. This theory was first introduced into grammatical analysis by Chamsky (1970) in his article entitled “remarks on nominalization”. The theory accounts for word order and it determines the configuration of the D – structure and this theory was propounded out of the need to seek remedies to the inadequacies of phrase structure (PSG). Two types of ultimate categories are recognized in PSG. (1) Lexical categories like noun, verb, adjective, preposition, adverb. (2) Phrasal categories like NP, VP, PP, S. X – bar convention also introduced intermediate categories. Larger than lexical categories but smaller than the phrasal categories which fall between (lexical aid phrasal categories).

THETA THEORY: this is one of the sub – theories of government – binding theory. Its main principle is the theta criterion, which requires that every argument is assigned just one theta role is assigned to just one argument. Its main role is to determine the position to which NP movement is possible.

CASE THEORY: case theory is one of the sub – theories of government – binding theory it deals with the assignment of abstract case and its morphological realizations restricting the distribution of lexical NPs at S – structure. Structure case is assigned to NPs at S – Structure, inherent case is assigned to NPs in D- Structural case to certain NP positions and the case filter restricts the range of sentences which can be generated in this way making movement of the object – NP to the subject position obligatory in passives, and preventing the appearance of an adverbial between a verb and its object. Case theory in this sense must be clearly distinguished from that outlined in case grammar.

BINDING THEORY: binding theories is one of the sub – theories of government – binding theory. It is primarily concerned with the theory. It is primarily concerned with the distribution of NPs in a sentence, determining the situations in which they can or must be co – indexed with other NPs. The NPs are classified into anaphers, pronominals and R – expressions. Three binding principles of binding theory binding conditions A, B and C are:- (a) an anapher is A – bound in its governing category. (c) An R – expression is A – free everywhere. The binding inheritance principle is a re interpretation of the foot – feature principle of generalized phrase – structure grammar within head – driven phrase structure grammar.

BOUNDING THEORY: this is one of the sub – theories of government – binding theory, which sets limits on the domain of movement rules. Its chief principle is subjacency, which states that no movement operation can cross more than one barrier. In extended standard and early GB theory barriers to movement were known as bounding modes, commonly assumed to be NP and S.

CONTROL THEORY: control theory is one of the sub – theories of government – binding theory. It specifies the referential possibility of the abstract pronominal element (PRO) in infinitive clauses. Its main concern in the nature of the subjects of infinitival clauses.

          The subject position of infinitival clauses either takes as antecedent, in the main clause or have in definite arbitrary reference.

1.     Obligatory Control: specifies that PRO is controlled by either the subject or by the object. That is, PRO either has the main sentences subject antecedent.

2.     Arbitrary control specifies that PRO has indefinite reference to the people in general it is time to go.

GOVERNMENT THEORY: government is a most basic structural notion that plays a central role throughout the modules of universal grammar in the sense of unifying the system. The concept of government as employed in GB is to express the notion of local domain.

It’s relation is defined in terms of C – Command to sells. (1985) government is a localized version of C – Command. It is restricted to sisterhood relation.


          Syntax is the level of linguistics which is concerned with how morphemes and words combine to form larger grammatical units. It studies larger grammatical units. It studies how words form phrases, how phrases form clauses and how clauses form sentences. When words are used in isolation, they do not make much meaning, similarly words when put together or combined in a random haphazard manner, are of little value to both the speaker and the hearer. This points to the fact that human being do not speak with words randomly selected from the vocabulary of their language. Rather words are selected and linked together in a way that reflects the rules that operate in the language. Knowing or learning a language includes knowing the ability to put words in an acceptable order to form longer stretches of utterance. This ability is mastered by normal native speaker of a language and this is obviously observed when they express their knowledge of their language.

          This research work is aimed at providing an overview of the essentials of syntax and in doing that, the researcher shall examine the primary categories which is otherwise known as word order or word classes, which are traditionally referred to as “part of speech” in identifying word classes, three criteria are used. These are the forms of the word, its meaning and function. Ndiemele (1999) the word classes are divided into two major sets which are the open and clased classes Lyons (1968) word in the open class includes nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs while words in the clased class includes preposition, pronouns, conjunctions, determines and auxiliaries but the researcher is limiting his work on only pronouns in Igbo and Yoruba, types of pronoun, the use of pronoun in Igbo and in Yoruba.









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