Clause Complexity in Gĩkũyũ: A Functional Account
Wakarindi, Peter Maina
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This work is a response to a call by various scholars on the native speakers of African languages to undertake researches aimed at preserving, developing and popularising the African languages. The main aim of the study was to understand the complexity of Gĩkũyũ clauses. Specifically, within the frame of Functional Grammar Theory, the study focused on the functional-semantic relations in Gĩkũyũ clause complexes, the different relation markers in the clauses and the analysis of the clause complexes in the three metafunctions identified by the theory. Therefore, the specific objectives of the study were: to establish the functional-semantic relations in Gĩkũyũ clause complexes; to categorize the relation markers in the Gĩkũyũ clause complexes; and, to analyze the Gĩkũyũ clause complexes metafunctionally. Guided by these objectives, the study adopted a descriptive research design to enable a detailed description of its data and the emerging patterns from data analysis. The data, Gĩkũyũ clause complexes, was sampled purposively from both written and spoken sources. The written sources were selected fictional and non-fictional Gĩkũyũ texts while the spoken sources were two talk shows: one from a Gĩkũyũ television station and the other from a Gĩkũyũ radio station. Introspection was also employed to fill gaps in the data collected from the written and the spoken sources. A total of a hundred and seventy eight (178) Gĩkũyũ clause complexes were sampled. The data revealed that Gĩkũyũ clause complexes manifest functional-semantic relations in the two broad logico-semantic relations of expansion and projection, the categories identified by Halliday and Matthiessen. The relations observed under expansion were elaboration, extension and enhancement while both locution and idea were observed under projection. The relations were found to be realised both paratactically and hypotactically, each means employing different relation markers. Metafunctional analyses of the data revealed that Gĩkũyũ clause complexes simultaneously serve the three basic functions of language when in use: textual, interpersonal and experiential. This is because it proved possible to analyse the complexes in the thematic, mood and transitivity structures, which respectively carry the three functions. The analyses further revealed some unique characteristics of the Gĩkũyũ clause that Functional Grammar does not account for. These features, which include redundancy of constituents in the metafunctional structures, are mainly due to the agglutinative nature of Gĩkũyũ. The findings have implifications in the field of linguistics, more specifically to studies on African languages, as it bridges a linguistic gap on clause complexity in Gĩkũyũ. The findings would also go a long way in increasing proficiency in Gĩkũyũ, hence significanct to the users of the language. The study recommends, among other things, that the users of Gĩkũyũ familiarise themselves with the findings to improve their proficiency in the language and that institutions teaching African languages and the developers of Gĩkũyũ curriculum adopt the findings. Further, it calls for more related studies, such as phonological study on the Gĩkũyũ clause complexes and studies on complexes at the levels below and above the clause.