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In traditional grammar, words are the basic units of analysis. Grammarians classify words according to parts of speech and identify and list the forms that words can be grouped. Although the matter is really very complex, for the sake of simplicity we will begin with the assumption that we are all generally able to distinguish words from other linguistic units. A morpheme is the smallest part of a word that has grammatical function or meaning. For example, sawed, sawn, sawing, and saws can all be analyzed into the morphemes {saw} + {Ꞌed}, {Ꞌn}, {Ꞌing}, and {Ꞌs}, respectively. None of these last four can be further divided into meaningful units and each occurs in many other words, such as looked, mown, coughing, bakes.{Saw} can occur on its own as a word; it does not have to be attached to another morpheme. It is a free morpheme. However, none of the other morphemes listed just above is free. Each must be affixed (attached) to some other unit; each can only occur as a part of a word. Morphemes that must be attached as word parts are said to be bound.


Words are notoriously difficult entities to define, both in universal and in language specific terms. Like most linguistic entities, they look in two directions—upward toward larger units of which they are parts (toward phrases), and downward toward their constituent morphemes. This, however, only helps us understand words if we already understand how they are combined into larger units or divided into smaller ones.




1.1      Background to the Study




The major task of a linguist is to describe the properties of a language. This kind of description is generally referred to as the grammar of the language. Although there are some considerable disagreements within linguistics concerning the precise form of a grammar, it is believed that each grammar of a language has the following properties:


  • Phonetic property



  • Phonological property



  • Syntactic property



  • Semantic property



  • Lexical or morphological property




Among these levels of analysis, morphology has been accorded rather secondary status in comparative linguistics. This research sets out to study the morphological processes of Tiv word formation.


Comparative studies have shown that languages may share resemblances without being genetically related. For instance, the English and Tiv languages belong to different phyla; English is a European language in the Indo-European sub-division, whereas Tiv is a language in the West African sub-region. Therefore, the morphological features of these languages may be common in some extent, and to some degrees it may not necessarily be





indicative of their genetic or historical relationship but a relationship, of universal dimension. It is obvious that universal features among languages can only be discovered through phonological, syntactic semantic and morphological studies.


1.2      Statement of the Problem




It is true that the English and Tiv languages share a lot in common in the area of word formation. For instance, both are languages that are dependent on affixation to mark grammatical relationships, uses a lot of borrowed words, otherwise known as loan words from different languages of the world, use a lot of compound words, etc. It is assumed that Tiv and English languages irrespective of their non-genetic relatedness can still have a lot of word-formation processes in common apart affixation, alternation, derivation, inflection, borrowing or calques, clipping, blending, compounding and reduplication.


  • Research Questions



  • What is the place of morphology in Tiv language?


  • How are words formed in Tiv language?


  • What are the morphological processes of Tiv word formation?


  • Why are morphological processes relevant to Tiv word formation?


  • Is Tiv word formation different from other languages?



  • Purpose of the Study


The aim of this research work is:







  1. to discover the morphological processes in Tiv.


  1. to explore the formation of words in Tiv.


  1. to establish Tiv morphological theories.


  1. to identify morphemes as meaning-carrying units.


  1. to explicate basic morphological terms or concepts.


  1. to underscore the importance of morphology to Tiv language.



  • Significance of the Study



The relevance of this study is as follows:



  • It finds out the morphological processes in Tiv language.


  • It establishes Tiv morphological theories.


  • It serves as the basis for further research on this subject of matter


  • It provides an insight into Tiv word formation.


  • It serves as a reference material for students, teachers, language planners of morphology and grammar of Tiv.


  • It unveils the uniqueness of Tiv word formation.



  • Scope and Delimitation of the Study



This study sets out to find the morphological processes in Tiv language. Using


both  primary  and  secondary  sources,  the  work  dwells  on  types  of  word  formation











common to Tiv language. Due to the expansive nature of morphological processes of word formation, the researcher selects a good dose of them for analysis. These include:


  • Inflection


  • Derivation


  • Compounding


  • Reduplication


  • Borrowing



  • Definition of Terms/Concepts




Morphology: Is the study of word formation, also it is the study of the structure of words in a language.



Morpheme: A morpheme is the smallest meaningful part of a word that has grammatical function or meaning.



Word: In  language, a word is the smallest element that may be uttered in isolation with  semantic or  pragmatic content (with literal or practical  meaning).The term word may refer to a spoken word or to a written word, or sometimes to the abstract concept behind either.  Spoken words are made up of units of sound called  phonemes, and written words of symbols called  graphemes, such as the letters of the English alphabet. Similarly, itis a meaningful unit of language sounds: a meaningful sound or combination of sounds that is a unit of language or its representation in a text.







Formation: This is referred to as the process by which something develops or takes a particular shape; it could also mean the process of creating something or coming into existence in a particular place, region or area.


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