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CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

1.0   INTRODUCTION

This research is aimed at describing an aspect of the syntax of Kuturmi language, and to show the important peculiarities of the language.

1.1   HISTORICAL BACKGROUND/GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

project topics data for students

Kuturmi land is situated geographically between lat. 9.50 North and 100 South and Longitude 7.50 East and 8.00 West. The region lies to the Western part of Kachia district headquarters. It is bounded by the river Gurara to the East and to the North by Kadara tribe twelve (12) kilometers from Kachia town and it occupies about eight thousand (8000) square kilometers (Tanko Kankana 2010).

According to Tanko there are two sources of the Kuturmi origin. One of the traditional historical sources had it that the people of Kuturmi, formerly called the Kutumbawa, hailed from Daura  province in Katsina state. Bagauda led the Kutumbawa people to capture Kano empire in the year 499 AD. Bagauda was said to be the grandson of Bayajidda, the snake killer of Daura.

The second source puts it that the Kuturmi people migrated to their present settlement from Kano city in 1807 AD as a result of the Jihad wars. This history also revealed that the Kuturmi (Kutumba) race ruled Kano empire between 14th – 18th centuries. The name Kutumba was coined from mortar carving which was given to them by neighbours because that was their occupation (the word mortar is Turmi in Hausa).

It was alleged that when Kano was overthrown in 1807 AD Kutumbawa people under the leadership of Bakutumbe fled to Kabo village to the West of Kano city from where they migrated southwards in search of refuge, they passed through Zaria to the north and Kauru to the south settled in a village called Kallah, from Kallah they attacked and conquered Kujuru Kingdom. The Kuturmi still in search of refuge moved further southward and settled at Iburu in Kufana district from where they went further south and settled at their present site.

As a result of frequent wars and slave raids, the Kuturmi people have been reduced to a small number. It was also alleged that during the fall of Kutumbawa dynasty a group of the Kutumbawa were taken captive to Barao Empire and another to lower Plateau close to the Lantang people. The Kurama people in Lere local government and the Gwadara people in the lower Plateau state are linked to Kutumbawa origin.

1.2   SOCIO-CULTURAL PROFILE

Socio-cultural profile refers the valued ethics/norms of a given set of people in a given community in the way of life, behaviour, action and performances etc. The Kuturmi people have a peculiar way of living which shows in their dressings, tribal marks, religion, occupation and marriage.

1.2.1        DRESSING

Before the advent of Christianity, men dressed in animal skins and Agwado, the animal skin was worn around the waist, the agwado is one piece of dress made from cotton. It was worn by children and adolescents. The women dressed in ‘ture’ a piece of cloth of about 1.5 meter long and two inches wide. The young girls use leaves. The men now dress in simple dresses occasionally using flowing gowns on festivals and on Sundays, the women wear wrappers and blouses with hair tie to match after the advent of Christianity.

1.2.2TRIBALMARKS                                                                                                                                                                             The Kuturmi people are of a common identity with their longitudinal tribal marks on the cheeks. This was a sign of wealth and common identity in the olden days; though some still carry the mark today.

1.2.3        RELIGION

To Kuturmi people God is the creator and the controller of the universe who has the final and absolute authority over his subject or creation. God is known as ‘Unung’ i.e. Supreme Being. He is known to be the father of gods and they see him as too holy to be approached. Thus, they created intermediaries of which one is ‘okun’ (the ancestral spirits) and the shrine is called ‘ujenekwu’, the chief priest is known as ‘ete-kwu’ who normally leads the people to perform rituals.

Kuturmi people also believe in spirits known as ‘Ushari’ which live in various places such as rivers, mountains, etc. and of various forms. As a result of dominance of Christian religion, the belief in ancestral shrine has drastically reduced: However, this is not to say some people do not still worship God in the traditional way.

1.2.3 OCCUPATION

The major occupation of Kuturmi people is farming,in addition to mortar carving and blacksmith work. Hunting and dishing are practiced on part time basis. They grow crops such as millet, maize, rice, guinea corn, cocoyam, yam etc.

1.2. 4 MARRIAGE SYSTEM

Marriage in the olden days is the responsibility of parents. They choose wife for their male and husband for their female right from the day of birth. The parent simply ties a rope around the leg of the baby indicating his or her willingness to marry her to his or her son from that time. Gift items are sent to the family of the lady and when they are ripe for marriage the dowry will be paid. The dowry was usually a hen and a pot of local wine (burukutu). The culture has been replaced by the western method of marriage.

1.3   GENETIC CLASSIFICATION

AFRICA

Niger Kordofanian

Niger Congo                                                               Kordofanian

West Atlantic      Kru   Kwa  Mande       Benue-Congo

Plateau              Junkoid             Cross-River

Plateau 1   Plateau 2   Plateau 3   Plateau 4  Plateau 5   Plateau 6

Eloyi                  Zaria Group

 

Kiro Subgroup  Jaba    Mande Subgroup  Central   Kadara Subgroup

Kuturmi    Idon         Kadara      Doka          Ikulu          Kajuni

1.4   SCOPE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This study focuses on the aspect of negation of Kuturmi language. Chapter one deals with the general introduction such as background to the study, history of the language, sociolinguistics profile, genetic classification and theoretical framework. Chapter two deals with the basic syntactic rules, lexical categories. Chapter three entails focus on negation of Kuturmi language. Chapter four contains the transformational process in Kuturmi language and chapter five deals with the summary and conclusion.

1.5   THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

The framework adopted for this research work is the Government and Binding (GB) theory which is also known as principles and parameter theory. This is the theory which captures the similarities which exist between different categories of lexical phrases by assigning the same structure to them rather than having different phrase structure rules for NPs, VPs, etc.

According to Culicover (1997: 20), principles and parameters theory is a variant of transformational generative grammar which assumes primarily for reasons of uniformity that constituent of a sentence can move from one position to another in conformity with certain principles. Radford (1988: 419) defines transformation as the rule that deals with the act of changing the structure of one sentence to another structure through the concept of movement know as move-alpha (Move-a).

Government and Binding theory postulates seven sub theories of the theory of grammar. The structures generated at various levels are constrained by a set of theories, which define the kind of relationships possible within a grammar. The sub theories of Government and Binding theory are given below:

  1. X-bar theory
  2. Theta theory

iii.     Case theory

  1. Binding theory
  2. Bounding theory
  3. Government theory

vii.    Control theory

1.5.1        X theory:

The core of this theory is the fact that phrasal constituents have ‘heads; upon which other elements of the constituent are dependent. The cover symbol X stands for all variables such as the V(erb), N(oun), Adv(erb), P(reposition), Adj(ective) etc. and the items involved in the sub categorization of those lexical heads are mostly interpreted as semantic arguments. It is worthy to note that some items are more closely bound of the head than others e.g.

Ada’s father is a pig

Here Ada is ultimately bound with father, to show that it is Ada’s and not another.

It is generally assumed that items which are involved in sub- categorization, are in most cases, interpreted as “arguments of the head”.

Therefore a schema of a N’ will be

N’

Spec                         N’             ‘the boy’

N

the                          boy

In X syntax the schemata thus is

X

X                              Comp

Where the X variable is located at the left side of its complement.

X-bar theory projects from the core projection level to the maximal projection level. This is illustrated below:

X”             Maximal projection

X’              Intermediate projection

X0                    Core projection

1.5.2        Ө Theory

Ө theory is concerned with the assignment of what Chomsky termed thematic roles to sentential constituents (Horrock 1987: 101). Here thematic refers to semantic and the roles refers to the agent patient (or theme) beneficiary etc. It is assumed that these are assigned to the complements of lexical items as a lexical property for example.

Ada is eating the food on the table

NP      PP

Here the NP complement is assigned the role of patient or theme and the PP complement the role of location. The verbs (or majority of verbs) Ө mark the subject position of sentences containing them (Horrocks 1987: 102). Here Horrocks explained that the verb is the backbone of the sentence, so if the verb denotes a [–human] attribute then the subject will also have [–human] attribute. Thus any constituent assigned Ө-role by definition denotes a predicate argument.

The main principle of Ө-theory is the Ө-criterion which requires each thematic role to be uniquely assigned; that is each constituent denoting an argument is assigned just one role.

1.5.3        CASE THEORY

According to Horrocks, case theory deals with the principles of case assignment to constituent. This case is an overt property only of prenominal NPs in English we have (I/me, she/her, he/him/his, we/us, they/them/their) Chomsky assumes that all NPs with lexical content are assigned case.

The basic idea is that case is under government theory. Before a case can be assigned there must be a governor which assigns. This can be explained as certain lexical heads have the power to assign case to their complement which they govern. For example a PP which governs an NP complement will case mark that constituent e.g.

PP

Spec                         P’

Ф              P                              NP

Spec                         N’

N

in              the                            house

1.5.4        BINDING THEORY

It is concerned primarily with the conditions under which NPs are interpreted as co-referential with other NPs in the same sentence (Horrock 1987: 108).NPs are assumed to fall into three categories:

  1. Anaphors
  2. Pronominals
  3. Referential expressions

Anaphors are NPs whose reference is necessarily determined sentence internally and which cannot have independent reference e.g. in English.

She cut herself with a knife.

Herself is referring back to she.

Prenominals are NPs that lack specific lexical content and have only the features person, number, gender and case. Unlike anaphors they do not refer to individuals independently or co-refer to individuals already named in the sentence.

Re–expressions: these are noun phrases with lexical hands which potentially refers to something e.g.

Ada says Adam should be promoted.

Thus the bounding theory would be concluded to involve NP argument. An anaphor must be bound in its governing category. A pronominal must be free in its governing category.

A referential expression must be free every where.

1.5.6        BOUNDING THEORY

This is concerned with the limitations to be placed on the displacement of constituents by the transformational rule schema more a (Horrocks 1987: 128). In essence the bounding theory constrains the movement of constituent i.e. it constrains what is to be moved, from where it can be moved and to where it can be moved, i.e. landing site.

1.5.7        CONTROL THEORY

This is concerned with the way infinite structures are constrained. It focuses on an element called PRO (also called big pro to differentiate it with PRO).

Pro is restricted to the subject position in non-finite clause.

‘I intended to leave

In the above example, there are reasons to believe that there is really a subject to the clause ‘to leave’ but its subject is invisible. PRO appears only in the subject position of non finite clause; it is not used in finite clauses and object positions since there is no governor for the position.

1.5.8        GOVERNMENT THEORY

This deals with the relationship with the head and its complement i.e. the syntactic relationship between the governor and the elements it governs. This can be explained as

a governs b if

  1. a and b mutually c-command each other
  2. a is a governor
  3. a governs b, then governs the specifier ofb.

1.6   DATA COLLECTION

The method used in this research work for data collection is the direct translation of Ibadan-400 word list from English to Kuturmi. The elicitation of the data was done by interviewing language helpers accompanied by radio cassette recording. Frame technique was also employed during the data collection.

Frame technique refers to the collection of sentences from language helpers. This helps to determine the underlying form of a given word or constituent as well as the possible morphological or syntactic structure in which such a word or constituent can occur in the grammatical sentence.

Informant’s Data

Informant:         Sunday, Dogo Danmadami

Occupation:       Head teacher

Age:  32 years

Religion:    Christianity

Language spoken apart from Kuturmi: English

Number of years spent in Kuturmi: from birth

1.7   DATA ANALYSIS

To ensure an efficient data analysis in this research, all the data collected were carefully transcribed. There is an average of sixty (60) sentences

Simple sentence: ten sentences

Complex sentence: five sentences

Compound sentence: five sentences

Negative construction sentence: thirty sentences

Transformational construction sentence: ten sentences

Lexical categories and phrases were extracted from these sentences.

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