Sunday, April 29, 2012

Syntax 1: Putting It All Together

Now that we've talked a little about verbs and nouns and pronouns, you need to know how to stitch all those elements together to form a coherent sentence!

To make things simple, this first syntax lesson will deal only with how to make sentences in the Aorist Tense.

We haven't discussed the Aorist Tense yet, (we will in the next post!) but all you need to know for now is that it is the most common tense used in Igbo and it is the easiest of all the tenses.

Now on to sentence making.

The general sentence structure in Igbo is S-P-P-V-S-O-A

Don't be scared.

This stands for:-

Subject - Particle - Prefix- Verb ( root ) - Suffix - Object - Auxiliary

The key above shows you the general order in which all these elements should go when making a sentence in Igbo.

Let's try it!

Subject Particle Prefix Verb Root Suffix Object Auxiliary
Listen   Emeka na e nye kwa fa enye
This table above is an example of an sentence that contains all these elements.

However, as you go from tense to tense, you will see that some of these grammatical elements will be dropped (or added) depending on what tense you are using or what you are trying to say.

Now that you have an idea of the main structure of an Igbo sentence, let's look at the table again as it should appear for the Aorist Tense.


Subject Particle Prefix Verb Root Suffix Object Auxiliary
Listen   Emeka nye fa
Aorist sentence

Notice the difference?

As mentioned before, the Aorist Tense is the simplest tense (and most common) in Igbo so its sentence structure is very basic.

In this sentence, there is no Particle, no Prefix, no Suffix, and no Auxiliary.

It's just Subject, Verb (root), and Object.

Emeka (the subject), gave/gives (the verb), them (the object).

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

That's all there is to it.

To make your first basic sentence, just put in a subject (the party performing the action), a verb (the action being performed), and an object (the party receiving the action or upon whom the action is being performed).

Since we already have a list of nouns, pronouns, verbs and other vocabulary, let's try and make some simple Aorist Tense sentences using the formula we've learned above.

Subject Particle Prefix Verb Root Suffix Object Auxiliary
Listen   Anyi
we
uno
Listen   Nwaanyi
gote
nni
Listen   Madu
je
afia
O
di
ndu
Listen   Unu
me
ya
Listen   Nkechi
rapu
olu
Listen   Fa
we
mili

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