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Comparative study of Gorontalonese noun phrase

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The English language, considered the leading, global language in international discourse and the common denominator mediating all the other non-English natives, is a West Germanic language that arose from England but eventually spread into some parts of Europe. It originated from a multitude of dialects, palpably influenced by by Latin and French, among others.

The Gorontalonese language, on the other hand, is the local language named after the local province it originates from. It is considered the official language of Bahasa Indonesia, at least in written form.

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The pronunciation, however, is another story. The way speech is uttered varies from region to region.

It is now considered that the English language is the lingua franca in all parts of the world, the main language bridging the cultural gaps of all the participating countries in the global market, albeit not the most natively spoken language.  The body of rules in using the English language, in both written and spoken form, despite seemingly being the benchmark of all other languages, however, is not standard.

Grammar is a very complex subject. It is as-a-matter-of-factly context-specific, varying from one language to another. This paper will expound on this subject, particularly the grammatical structures and rules regarding the noun-phrase between English and Gorontalo language or Gorontalonese.

            The purpose of this paper is to compare and analyze the noun phrases in both languages. Similarities and differences shall be uncovered through a careful analysis of the different aspects of language particularly its parts and the structure in general.

            Several theorists have claimed that cross-linguistically, the same grammar rules apply. Chomsky, among other Linguistics theorists, has maintained that much of grammar, or the body of knowledge possessed by language speakers, is inherent. The parochial features of native languages are developed and learned through the years. This fraction, claimed by Chomsk as the innate body of linguistic knowledge, is termed Universal Grammar. Theories on Universal Grammar basically postulate that all languages, whether as popular as English or as low-key as Gorontalonese, are built upon a common Grammar, save for some accidental variations. Linguistic universals do not necessarily apply to basic structuring or syntax issues on Grammar, but a specific theory on the Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar, describing the general patterns among syntaxes and semantics of languages. It has a questionable, if not none, empirical basis. Universal Grammar is altogether an entirely new topic but this framework can help compare the extreme languages of arguably the most basic language of English and the almost never-heard-of language, at least on the global level, of Gorontalonese: their similarities and dissimilarities and the questionable existence of the “innate” grammatical rules between these two languages.

            Phrases, particularly, follow structure rules. The syntax of the phrase is circled to this set of rules. Every sentence is comprised of parts called phrasal categories and lexical categories. The lexical categories are also known as parts of speech. The noun phrase, among other types of phrases such as the verb phrase and prepositional phrase, comprise the phrasal categories.

            In simple terms, the phrase structure usually follows the form A -> B  C, meaning one of its lexical categories is separated from B and C. In every phrase, there is one constituent. In noun phrases, the constituent lexical unit is the head, which may either be a noun or a pronoun. This phrase structure applies not just on phrases but also on sentences. To sum it all up, in sentences, it is S -> NP-VP or a noun phrase should be followed by a verb phrase. In noun phrases, it is NP -> Det- N or the determiner should always come before a noun. The noun (or the head/N) can be be further modified by adjective phrase before it and a prepositional phrase after it. It follows the structure: N1 -> (AP)-N-(PP). A classic example was devised by Chomsky to illustrate the basic phrasial rules of the English grammar. The sentence “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously,” for example follows the order NP(Colorless green ideas)-VP(sleep furiously). The noun phrase (NP) “colorless green ideas” can be further dissected into three parts. “Colorless” and “green” are both modifiers or adjectives and naturally they are placed before “ideas” or the head of the noun phrase. This is the core rule in English noun phrase.

A simple Contrastive Analysis shall be used to decisively find out the notable nuances between the two languages. This framework has already been regarded as main pillars in the domain of foreign language acquisition especially for Indonesians. Through this analysis, the basic language features of Gorontalo (in this case, Indonesian) language shall be compared vis-a-vis the English language. Kardaleska (2006) describes it as an inductive investigative approach based on the distinctive elements of language. Structure is primary to this approach, while emphasis is towards the differences in structure between and among languages.

            The major areas of language are phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax, and text analysis. When trying to learn a new language, these major areas are individually taken into consideration. When our tongue has already been accustomed to speak a distinct language or dialect, with accent and conviction, it is extremely difficult to learn a new language, unless of course the second language is essentially of the same linguistic features of the mother tongue.

In constructing a sentence, a single word is often insufficient, when trying to convey a complete, detailed thought, hence the necessity of using other figures of speech such as adjectives and adverbs. By itself, a single word, in the form of a noun, may be a tad too one-dimensional, even bordering on ambiguous, when trying to convey a thought. Nouns, in English, are traditionally described as naming “persons, places, things, and ideas.”

 Thus in order to supply the reference needed for a sentence to be complete, it is important to add words that will specifically describe a certain object, or for this matter, a noun. This is how phrases are formed. A phrase is essentially a group of two or more grammatically linked words without a subject and a predicate. Thus, it may function as a noun, verb, adverb or an adjective.

A noun phrase, in simple grammar terms, consists of a noun with any associated modifiers, including adjectives, singular or in the form of phrases, and other nouns. Just like nouns, a noun phrase can act as the subject, the object of a verb, as object complement, or object of the preposition. It functions just like nouns, just in clusters of words. Interestingly, noun phrases that act as object of a verb or verbals can also form the nucleus of a noun phrase. For instance, “swimming in a lake in this weather”, a noun phrase in the form of a verbal, can act as a subject, or any other applications of noun phrases.

In simpler terms, a noun phrase is but a set of words with an incomplete thought whose center of attraction is a noun. It is most commonly preceded and modified by a determiner, then a pre-modification word in the form of adjective or an adjective phrase, and is, on most occasions capped off by a post-modification that may take either the forms of phrase or clause. Essentially, these words modify the head of a noun phrase.

This is what we have been accustomed to, particularly as it is used in English grammar. Studies show that noun phrases more or less take the same form cross-linguistically, save for a few exceptions. Both the English noun phrase and the Gorontalose noun phrases will individually be delved into deeper for a clearer analysis of the themes common and different between the two languages.

The structure, first and foremost, being the most concrete aspect of language will first be taken into account. Any slight changes with the language structure can easily, instantly be noticed. However there are instances when the changes in structure are only on the abstract level. They may look entirely the same, when literally translated, but may denote a different meaning.

            On this note, Gorontalo, or Gorontalonese for this matter, will be taken in its general Indonesian form. The Indonesian language, in general, is widely known for its rather peculiar, having English as the benchmark, construction of phrases. When literally translated in English, a noun-phrase would actually pass for a verb-phrase as in “makan malam” which is literally translated as “night eat”. Although “night eat” is not common, may pass for colloquial but never formal, when someone says or write “night eat”, one would instantly think of it as a verb phrase. The order of the words plays a pivotal role in the English language. In a compound verb-phrase, the verb always has to be the second word (i.e. shoe-shop, nail-bite, etc.). In the Indonesian language, “makan malam” can actually be interchanged as either a verb or a noun. In its popular usage, it actually means “dinner.”

            This obvious alteration of structure is in fact one of the major issues regarding translation problems of Indonesian and English. Indonesian, when translated verbatim, may completely denote a completely different thought that what it really means.

            Take “Bahasa Indonesian” for instance. Literally, “Bahasa Indonesian” translates to language Indonesian. The placement of modifier (in this case, Indonesian) in this example is in a sense questionable in the English grammar. In English, it is more grammatically apt to call it “Indonesian language.” English noun phrases follow the pattern of modifier-object being modified. It follows the pattern: 1.) modifier, being the object being used to explain and; 2.) the object being explained, or the noun. In Indonesia, the noun phrase follows the opposite pattern.

            Even Indonesian sentences follow a different pattern. It follows the pattern: subject, verb, object or adjective, or adverb. A sentence basically consists of a noun phrase and then a verb phrase. Yet in many cases, this order is flexible. It can be put in various ways. This runs similarly with the English grammar, except that this pattern is strictly followed in the English Grammar.

For example, the sentence: “Ibu ke pasar naik becak” runs similarly with the English sentence structure noun phrase-verb phrase. The sentence literally translates to “Uncle went to Surabaya last night,” which basically follows the same structure.             The sentence “Bibi di kebun”, however does not literally translate to “Aunt is in the garden.” The Indonesian sentence follows the pattern noun phrase-adverbial phrase, wheras its English translation still follows the noun-verb-phrase pattern.

Gorontalo noun phrases are essentially similar, structure-wise, with the more widely spoken Indonesian noun phrases. Provided in the examples in the appendix are the different structure forms of simple Gorontalo nounphrases such as: 1.) Nomina + Nomina (Noun + Noun); 2.) Nomina + Adjektiva (Noun + Adjective); and 3.) Nomina + Numeralia (Noun + Numeral) In English grammar, the modifying figure of speech (could take the form of a noun, adjective or a numeral) always comes first. It is the other way around in Gorontalo language.

To further elaborate on this rather peculiar pattern, several examples will be provided. The simple Gorontalonese phrase “bele dupi” for instance which translates to the more widely-pken Indonesian as “rumah papan” is literally translated a “house board.” As it is used in the Gorontalonese statement “Te Aamiri lomongu bele dupi” and in the Indonesian statement “Si Amir membangun rumah papan,” it means (in English) “Amir builds a clapboard house.” In English noun phrases, the noun being modified always comes last. In this case wherein the modifier is also a noun, the noun modifier always comes first.  Other examples include “bele seni” (literally “house zinc” but really zinc house when properly translated), “taluhu deheto” (literally “water sea” but pertains to sea water), “kadera hutia” (literally “chair rattan” but pertains to rattan chair) and, “kadera ayu” (literally “chair wood” but pertains to wooden chair).

The phrases  “Wala’o malu’o” (”chick/young chicken), “Wala’o Sapi” (calf/young cow), and “Wala’batade” (kid/young goat), on the other hand, follow the typical modifier-modified pattern in the English grammar. It can also be noticed that some simple non-phrases in Gorontalonese such a “Wala’o malu’o”, “Wala’o Sapi”, and “Wala’batade” , which respectively mean chick, calf, and kid in English language can be translated into singular nouns in the English language. This goes to show that the English language, through the years, has been thoroughly expanded. Or put simple, the English vocabulary is vast. Down to the most specific of things such as “young chicken” (chick), “young cow” (calf), and “young goat” (kid), the English vocabulary has it.  On the contrary, Gorontalonese and Indonesian do not. Perhaps this has something to do with the English language being more widely spoken, and thus more likely to have a more encompassing vocabulary.

Other examples of Gorontalonese noun phrase that more or less run similarly with the aforementioned observed pattern are “dungito olobu” or literally tooth buffalo but pertains to buffalo tooth, “o’ato wadala”(literally “foot horse” but pertains to horse foot), “olu’u’tau” (literally “hand person” but pertains to person’s hand), “tulidi pangimba” (literally “snake ricefield” but pertains to paddy-field snake , “yinulo bongo” (literally “oil coconut” but pertains to coconut oil, “peambolo bele” (literally “terrace home” but pertains to home terrace), and “lipu Hulontalo”(literally “country Gorontalo” but pertains to Gorontalo country) among others. When translated literally, these phrases follow the modified-modifier pattern.

For the Nomina + Adjektiva (Noun + Adjective) form, the same pattern (modified, in this case the noun, – modifier, in this case the adjective). Examples of Gorontalonese noun phrases essentially describing a house for instance are: “bele bohu” (literally “home new” but pertains to new house), “bele damango” (literally “home large” but pertains to large house), and “bele muloolo” (literally “home old” but pertains to old house). This pattern practically applies to every noun+adjective noun phrases. Other examples would include Gorontalonese phrases “apula biongo” (appropriately translates to crazy dog), “kameja moputi’o” (appropriately translates to white shirt), “talala moitomo” (appropriately translates to black pants), and “putito mohutodu” (appropriately translates to rotten egg). Compared with the English language, the structure of the Gorontalonese noun phrase is the other way around, so to speak. It is essentially similar, structure-wise, with Indonesian. “Dalala Meepito”also follows the same structure pattern in Indonesian as “jalan sempit” (in English, it literally translates to “road narrow”). It is a basic rule in the English language that the adjective must always come before the noun it modifies. In the English language, it should be “narrow road” and not “road narrow.” The latter is considered unacceptable in English grammar. It doesn’t convey a thought, at all, as in the cases of the literal translations of Gorontalonese noun phrases such as: “langge meenggo” (jackfruit youn/immature), “ileengi motanggalo” (garden wide), “bo’o beresi” (clothing clean), “palipa mokotoro” (sarong dirty), and “nanati molutu” (pineapple ripe).

 In the cases of “malu’o teelo” (hen), “malu’o bangge” (rooster), “wadala bilango” (mare), “wadala la’I” (horse), the Gorontalonese noun phrases can be translated into single nouns in the English language. This goes to show, time and again, that the English vocabulary is far more encompassing than Gorontalonese, for obvious reasons that there’s a greater necessity for the English language to cover and take in the most specific of things, actions, and descriptions.

            As for noun phrases that take the form nomina + numeralia (noun + numeral), basically the same structure follows.  Whether the numeral is a cardinal (denoting quantity) or an ordinal (denoting order), or perhaps multiplicative (denoting the number of repititions), so long as the numeral is used as an adjective modifying the noun, the same order (modifier-modified) follows.

This opposes the English gramar. For instance the noun phrase “pingge ngoduusingi”, in English, is literally translated as “plates one dozen.” In this noun phrase, “plates” is the noun or the object being modified and “one dozen” is the numeral adjective denoting the quantity or how many plates there are.

However this rule doesn’t always follow. “Timi’idu bele”,  for instance, translates literally to “each house” or “every house.” In English grammar, “each house” or “every house” is but the apt way of putting it.

For longer Gorontalonese noun phrases, it is an utterly different case. It has a more complex structure. Also, the structure is hardly consistent.“Bu’olohemomo’o to botu patihu” (literally “waves breaking on the rocks”), for example, is grammatically correct, relative to the English grammar. The set of accompanying modifiers (the verbal “breaking on the rocks”) is rightfully placed after the noun. Also, the simple nounphrase “ti kaka woli taata” (literally meaning “older male and ballooning women” also follows the everything-modifies-to-the-right basic direction of modification in the English grammar.

Not just adjectives but also determiners usually are place after the head or the noun being modified. “Pombangaa botiye” ( or in Indonesian “tebing ini”) is “cliff this” in English. It is not different from the noun phrase “tangguli mongoliyo” which means “names their” in English. The same modified-modifier rule applies, even when the modifiers take the form of a determiner.

As far as the elements go, there practically is an innate similarity between Gorontalonese and English. However, on most occasions, there are dissimilarities when it comes to syntax and structure. The noun phrase“Bungo lo ayu damango to penthadu boyitom,” for instance is “tree large on the edge beach” when translated word per word. It follows the peculiar modified-modifier order as the noun + adjective form. “Tree large on the edge beach” is ungrammatical in English. It should follow the syntax “large trees on the beach” or “large trees on the edge of the beach” for it to be correct.

Among the other countless of phrases that have an atypical syntax, “bungo lo ayu moombungo”, literally meaning “wood tree leafy” is quite notable. It can be observed that the adjectives in this phrase “wood” and “leafy” are respectively placed at the beginning and at the end of the phrase. Normally in Gorontalonese language, the modifier (adjective) comes after the modified (noun). In this particular example, the noun (“tree”) is placed between the two adjectives. But then again, perhaps “wood” in this particular example is taken as a noun synonymous or adding emphasis to the already mentioned noun which is tree. In English, the only way for it to be grammatical is to put the noun at the end of every simple noun phrase like such, depending on the elvel of importance of the adjective. If wood is taken as an adjective, it should be “leafy wooden tree.”

The longer Gorontalonese noun phrases are, the more peculiar is its ordering. Suffice it to say, the Gorontalonese language is more loose when it comes to the syntax and structure of noun phrases, as compared with the English syntax which is, in a nutshell, more rigid. What the Gorontalonese language seems to lack, or at least not palpably implied, is that based on the ordering of what constitutes a Gorontalonese noun phrase modifications are not established as a kind of dependency. Based from the examples given, the modifiers are all over the place.

Now that the world is in a globalized setting, whereas the value of cosmopolitanism or that one common culture is valued above all things, it cannot be avoided that English is now being considered the benchmark of Grammar, since English has practically become the medium of global diplomacy. Also in comparison to a much smaller, almost never-heard-of dialect, naturally English will emerge as the more formal and better language, even unintentionally.

Language is culture and culture is language. Language is easily the most explicit expression of culture. Common language and culture facilitate trade between people.  Despite the rather strange ordering and arrangement of the constituents of noun phrases in Gorontalonese language, what’s important is among native speakers of this language, there is a common understanding among its people.

Source:

•         Pusatbahasaalazhar, Oleh. A Contrastive Analyisis Between English and Indonesian Language. Retrieved July 22, 2010 from http://pusatbahasaalazhar.wordpress.com/trik-belajar-bahasa-inggris/a-contrastive-analysis-between-english-and-indonesian-language/

•         Kosur, Heather Marie. The Functions of Nouns and Noun Phrase in English. Retrieved July 22, 2010 from  http://www.brighthub.com/education/languages/articles/32754.aspx#ixzz0uOEOIJsx

•         Schiffman, Harold. Teaching Grammar Interactively: A Talk on Language Teaching Methodology. Retrieved July 21, 2010 from http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/pedagog/script1.html

 

Cite this Comparative study of Gorontalonese noun phrase

Comparative study of Gorontalonese noun phrase. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comparative-study-of-gorontalonese-noun-phrase/

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