A Theoretical Account of Elliptical Elements in the Structure of the Dholuo Clause
Omondi, Amayo, David
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Ellipsis is a linguistic universal, but is exhibited with variance from language to language. Ellipsis studies on Dholuo are not as widespread as the phenomenon is in human language. This study focused on elliptical elements in the structure of the Dholuo clause. The three main objectives pursued in this work were to: i) describe the elliptical clause patterns of Dholuo, ii) establish the elliptical elements in the Dholuo clause, and finally, iii) explain how the Theory of Ellipsis can account for the elliptical phenomena in the language. The work not only assumed that Dholuo clauses have identifiable clause elements which occur in certain patterns, but that ellipsis in the language can also be explained using the Theory of Ellipsis in Generative Grammar. Textual and spoken data were targeted in this study and through purposive sampling, data was elicited from: tape-recorded interactive segments from two Dholuo radio stations, a Dholuo novel, a Dholuo magazine and through introspection. Four respondents, two females and two males, were selected for purposes of corroboration of data that was generated through introspection. The data was in the form of clitics, words and sentences and preference was given to the qualitative design of analysis. The MacShanian model of the Theory of Ellipsis was then used to account for Dholuo elliptical phenomena. Where similar structures were encountered, they were only addressed once disregarding the number of times they recurred in the data. A total of twenty five Dholuo sentences were sampled. The data revealed that Dholuo clauses exhibit the following types of ellipsis: sluicing, fragment answers, gapping and verb phrase ellipsis. While Dholuo clauses take QΔSΔVΔO and QΔSΔVΔOΔA patterns in sluicing, they have ΔSΔVO and SΔVΔCS in fragment answers. The study found out that gapped clause patterns in Dholuo include: SΔvO and SΔvΔAL. Verb phrase ellipsis was attested in Dholuo equational sentences. The analyses further revealed that syntactic isomorphism and semantic parallelism are essential in the interpretation of Dholuo ellipsis. The study recommends, among other things, that the users of Dholuo familiarise themselves with the findings to improve their proficiency in the language and that institutions teaching African languages and developers of Dholuo curriculum adopt the findings. Further, it calls for more related studies such as phonological study on Dholuo elliptical clauses. A quantitative study on the prevalence of the elliptical phenomena in Dholuo would also be worthy.