Syntactic Survey of Determiners in Mo/Deg Language

Anto Sylvester Kwabena


This study is descriptive, and it is set out to primarily investigate the use and order of determiners in the Mo/Deg language. The study finds answers to the questions, “What determiner types are there in the Mo/Deg language, and in what order do they collocate with the head of the noun phrase?”

Using purposive sampling, the study gathered data from forty (40) literate native speakers of the Mo/Deg language who were also very proficient in English. Short simple English sentences containing noun phrases with pre-determiners of all kind, central determiners of all types, and post-determiners of all kind were designed and given to the respondents to rewrite in Mo/Deg. This was to observe the order of determiners in the language. Also, some of these sentences were given to some staff of the Mo/Deg project of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT) to translate into Mo/Deg since they are deemed to have deeper knowledge of the language. This was to ensure further correctness of the use and order of determiners in the language. The translations comprised the data which was analysed using the Systemic Grammar principles of the NG structure. The results showed that the Mo/Deg language has pre-determiner items and that these pre-determiners are not followed by any other words like adjectives. It further showed that it is permissible for some members of the same pre-determiner class to co-occur. The study further found out that the Mo/Deg language has three types of post-head determiners: the post-head post-determiners, the post-head central determiners, and the post-head pre-determiners. It therefore concluded that the Mo/Deg language has a very complex determiner structure.  

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