International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

A Contrastive Analysis of English and Wolof Noun Phrases
Hafissatou KANE

This study aims at contrasting the Noun Phrase of English and Wolof. The constituents compared here are the noun head, the definite articles and possessive determiners to pinpoint similarities and differences between the two languages. In doing so, an inventory of Wolof and English simple noun phrases has been investigated using the contrastive method. Results present more similarities than differences between the two languages. English nouns have no morphological marks distinguishing masculine and feminine forms, a feature which also applies to their Wolof counterparts. Another similarity is, possessive determiners are placed before the head in both languages, except the bound possessive -am, suffixed to the noun in Wolof. Points of differences between the two languages occur as follows: the use of noun classes is typical to Wolof. Wolof nouns are invariable but characterized with noun classes that generally appear on determiners which bear number marking. Contrary to Wolof, English singular nouns are morphologically distinguished from plural nouns. Another difference between the two languages occurs with possessive determiners that agree in number with their heads in Wolof while they are invariable in English except with a variation between his / her / and its, a feature not expressed in Wolof. One of the main differences between the two languages is English has one invariable definite article „the „that always occupies the initial position of the noun phrase. Contrary to English, Wolof definite articles are placed after the heads. They are made of the noun class of the head and agree in number with the latter. They also express closeness and remoteness of the referred item, a criterion absent in English. Finally, another important distinction is, in English, a noun phrase cannot contain the definite article and possessive determiner at the same time while in Wolof, the presence of both determiners is accepted.

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