The Phrase In Xitsonga And Sepedi: Implications For Language Learning

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Sikheto Joe Kubayi (Corresponding author) , Matsea Freddy Mogano , Rachel Mmapitso Maboa


The aim of this article was to compare and describe the phrase in Xitsonga and Sepedi. The article also discusses the implications of the phrase for the learning of one language by speakers of the other language. Data was collected through autoethnography, which allowed the researchers to self-collect data as native speakers of the two languages. The article is underpinned by the head parameter, the X-bar model and the pro-drop theory, which account for the properties of phrases. The results of the study reveal that the two languages exhibit two internal structures of the headship of phrases: the phrasal, and the head levels; and that both are head-first languages. It is also found that in both languages, the phrase, which is manifested through lexical categories, take the form of either single words or groups of related words.  Furthermore, data shows that the head-modifier dichotomy in the phrases of both languages can be examined in terms of distributional, morphosyntactic, technical and semantic features. In addition, nominal and locative phrases are identified as special kinds of phrases; and that the head-modifier distinction of phrases agree in both noun class and number in both languages. It is also observed that it is possible to identify headless noun phrases; and that the noun class system is at the heart of the unity of phrases in both languages. Finally, the results show that the similarity in the structure of the phrase in Xitsonga and Sepedi has implications for language learning.

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