Negation In Uneme Language

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NEGATION IN UNEME LANGUAGE

List of Symbols

SVO                       –             subject Verb Object

NP                          –             Noun Phrase

N                            –             Noun

NI                                              –             Noun Bar

VP                          –             Verb Phrase

PP                           –             Prepositional Phrase

ADJP                      –             Adjectival Phrase

IP                            –             Inflectional Phrase

SPEC                      –             Specifier

CP                         –             Complimentizer Phrase

COMP                    –             Complementizer

I                              –             Infection

ADJ                        –             Adjective

VI                                              –             Verb Bar

DET                        –             Determiner

P                             –             Preposition

TNS                        –             Tense

PRES                      –             Present

PSR                        –             Phrase Structure Rule

CONJ                     –             Conjunction

GB                          –             Government and Binding

NEG                       –             Negation

FP                           –             Focus Phrase

FI                            –             Focus Bar

SI                            –             Embedded Relative Clause

 

TABLE OF CONTENT

LIST OF SYMBOLS

TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION                                                  

  • GENERAL INTRODUCTION
  • GENERAL BACKGROUND
  • HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
  • SOCIO-CULTURAL PROFILE
  • GENETIC CLASSIFICATION OF UNEME
  • SCOPE AND ORGANIZATION OF STUDY
  • DATA COLLECTION
  • DATA ANALYSIS
  • BRIEF REVIEW OF THE CHOSEN FRAMEWORK

CHAPTER TWO

BASIC SYNTACTIC CONCEPTS

2.1        INTRODUCTION

2.2        BASIC SYNTACTIC CONCEPTS

2.2.1     PHRASE STRUCTURE RULES

2.2.1.1      NOUN PHRASE

2.2.1.2      VERB PHRASE

2.2.1.3      PREPOSITION PHRASE

2.2.2     LEXICAL CATEGORIES

2.2.3     BASIC WORD ORDER IN UNEME LANGUAGE

2.2.4     SENTENCE TYPES

CHAPTER THREE

NEGATION IN UNEME LANGUAGE

3.1        INTRODUCTION

3.2        NEGATION

3.2.1     TYPES OF NEGATION FORMATION

3.2.1.1      NEGATION OF MODAL AUXILARIES

3.2.1.2      AUXILIARY NEGATION

3.2.1.3      MAIN VERB NEGATION

3.2.1.4      NEGATION OF AUXILIARIES ‘DO’, ‘HAVE’ AND ‘BE’

3.2.1.5      NEGATION OF COMMADS

3.3        NEGATON IN UNEME

3.3.1     SENTENCE NEGATION IN UNEME

3.3.2     INTERROGATION SENTENCE NEGATION

CHAPTER FOUR

NEGATION AND OTHER TRANSFORMATIONAL PROCESSES IN UNEME LANGUAGE

4.1        INTRODUCTION

4.2        TRANSFORMATIONS

4.3        NEGATION AND FOCUS CONSTRUCTION

4.3.1     SUBJECT NP FOCUSING

4.3.2     DIRECT OBJECT NP FOCUSING

4.3.3     VERB FOCUSING/NOMINALIZATION

4.4        NEGATION AND RELETIVIZATION

4.5        NEGATION AND QUESTION FORMATION

4.5.1     WH-QUESTION FORMATION IN UNEME

4.5.2     YES/NO QUESTION FORAMTION IN UNEME

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

5.1        INTRODUCTION

5.2        SUMMARY

5.3        OBSERVATION

5.4        CONCLUSION.

BIOLOGRAPHY                                   

                     

CHAPTER ONE

 1.1     General Introduction

This long essay is a study of Negation in Uneme language. In this chapter, historical background of the speakers, the geographical location, and the socio-cultural profile of the speakers, genetic classification as well as the scope and organization of the study, theoretical framework, data collection, data analysis and a brief review of the chosen framework are discussed.

1.2     General Background

Uneme is a language spoken in South-South part of Nigeria. The native speakers of Uneme are found in the North-Eastern part of Edo State. Edo State is an inland in the central Southern Nigeria. Benin City, been the capital of Edo State, is bounded in the North and East by Kogi State, in the South by Delta State and in the West by Ondo State. The official name is Uneme while names used by the speakers are: Uzanu, Anegbete and Udochi. The speakers are found in three Local Government Areas in Edo State, which are Etsako, Agbazilo and Akoko-Edo. The language is also spoken in Okene Areas of Kogi State. Etsako Central Local Government Area is located in the heart of Etsako land, it is bounded in the West by the Etsako west Local Government Area, in the East by Etsako East Local Government Areas, in the North by Okene and in the South by Esan territory.

Akoko-Edo which is found in the Northern part of Edo State is bounded in the North by the present Kwara State and parts of the present Kogi State and in the North-West by the present Ondo State. The population of the speakers was estimated to be about 6,000 (Crotzier and Blench, 1992). The map of Uneme communities is below:

Scale boundaries……………………Uneme Communities…………………………

 

Map of present day Edo State showing the location of Uneme Communities


1.3     Historical Background

According to Hakeem (2003:4) “the history of Uneme people can be traced to the core area of the Nok cultural zone located in the North-East on the Niger-Benue confluence”. The area represents the ancestral homeland of not only Uneme people but also of related sub-ethnic groups which have come to be described as the Edoid. He also notes that Uneme people arrived in Benin area during king Ogiso Ere’s time and their first place of settlement was on the outskirts of Benin City. The Uneme people were encouraged to move to Benin City in the tenth century, because of their utilitarian metal crafts. It was this mental crafts that brought development into Benin City. The Uneme people had to move out of Benin because of the way they were treated (they were taken as slaves), and this made them move to their present settlement.

The Uneme people migrated from Benin in 1370 AD. The major migration was when they moved North words from Benin, settling in different territories between 1370 and late 1390. Notable among such places included Obadan (on the outskirts of Benin City) in the present Southern Edo State in mid-1370s, Ugboha (in Esan territory) in the present central Edo State in mid-1370s, and the site of what is now know as Agbede in the Etsako west area of the present Northern Edo State. Others were Ogbomeze (imiava) in the Etsako central area of the present Northern Edo State in the late 1380s, and Okene in Ebira land in the present Kogi State in the late 1390s. There was a major retreat south ward by the Uneme people, in the process of this South ward migration, a split occurred, which saw the Uneme people moving towards the Ogbomeze (Imiava) area. The group that moved to the AkokoEdo area settled in a community, which they founded and came to be known as Uneme Akpama in the late 1390s. Subsequent migration from Uneme Akpama saw the creations of three other new Uneme Communities in different locations within Akoko-Edo namely Uneme Aki-Osu in the early 1400s, Uneme Erhurum in the same period and Uneme Ekpedo in the mid 1400s.

Further demographic changes that occurred in the twentieth century connected with vocation of Uneme Nekhua by a sub-group now known as the Uneme Aiyetoro, led to the founding of a new community named Uneme Aiyetoro, in the early 1900s. However, the group that returned to occupy the place earlier vacated by the main migrating Uneme people in the Ogbomeze (Imiava) area of the present Etsako central district in the late 1390s, gave way for the establishment of a number of other new Uneme territories in the 1830s and 1840s, examples of these new communities included the following: Uneme in the early 1830s and 1840s, Uneme-Udochi in the early 1830s and 1840s, Uneme-Ologua in about the same time, but later destroyed by the Nupe during their invasion of Uneme Anegbette which also came into being during that period.

 1.4     Socio-cultural Profile

The socio-cultural profile of Uneme people is observed in their festivals, ceremonies, religion and mode of dressing.

Festivals

Some of the festivals of Uneme community are connected with their religious believes while others are connected with their socio-economic activities. Notable among such festivals is Ogun festival. Ogun festival is associated with and devoted to the propitiation and veneration of god of Iron. This festival is usually organized only by iron-smelting societies. The festival is organized by allocating certain spots in the community to the propitiation of Ogun. The use of certain animals especially dogs and the involvement of the entire community in the singing, drumming and dancing are common practices, so as to appease Ogun as the god of iron.

The Uneme festival connected with socio-economic activities is Ukpe festival. Ukpe is a yearly thanksgiving festival. It is usually celebrated between August and September of every year. It is mostly celebrated by farmers to welcome new yams. During the celebration, new yams are not used but old ones are used instead. This Ukpe festival provides a forum and a communication channel, used by the Elders and leaders of Uneme Communities for informing and directing their subjects to feel free to eat the new yams produced. During the festival, everyone is expected to come along with the old yam to celebrate the Ukpe festival. It is ensured that pounded yams are served, with either melon soup or Ogbono.

In Uneme communities, a kind if festival is usually held for the outgoing soldiers and the incoming soldiers. This kind of festival in called the “maturity age” where they have between the ages of sixteen years to nineteen years. This festival comes up every three years. Obira or Ogogo is a kind of group formed for children of three years old. These children gather together every three years, and as they grow older to the maturity age, the old ones among them will get to graduate to be elders of the communities. It is these new ones that later becomes Uneme soldiers.

The Uneme people believe in a second burial festival after the normal burial. This second burial is done mainly for the elderly men in the community, and if this second burial has not been done, then, such man has not got a resting place. This second burial usually comes up after several years the first burial must have been had. The Uneme people call it Oninitomi i.e. “the second burial of your father”. This is like a title given to anyone who has done the second burial and a family who has not done this will not be entitled to such title. This kind of festival is not something that is general but just within the kindred that is why it is done kindred by kindred. During this festival, certain amount of money is usually given to the elders.

Marriage Setting

Uneme marriage setting is a polygamous one. It is believed that a man who has not gotten two wives is said to be a lazy man, therefore, a man can marry as many wives as possible. “Oami” and “Adegbe” play an important role in a marriage setting. Oami and Adegbe represent the first and second daughter respectively in a family. According to Uneme tradition, it is said that when a lady i.e. Oami marries a man, she must not present any gifts to her parents but with the permission of her husband. Also, a man who marries a stranger is always taken as Oami and respect will be given to such a man. An elderly man who dies without getting married to Oami, the son, will have to look far a woman, pay her bride-price and then marry her on behalf of his father before such a son can be allowed to marry Oami. A man who marries Adegbe, is assumed to be a lazy man because such man cannot marry Oami. Adegbe has the right to present gifts to her parents without the permission of her husband. In Uneme culture, a man who marries Adegbe first will eventually marry Oami. This practice makes it impossible for a man to marry just one wife.

Religion

There are three (3) basic religions in Uneme communities which are: Africa traditional religion, Christianity and Islam.

African Traditional Religion.

The Uneme people who are traditionalists have their believe in “Osanobula” or “Ogbene” or “Osi” which is the supreme being. “Osanobula” is believed to have heavenly aides who were appointed by him. Among such aides were the local divinities or deities, “Ilisa” (referred to as the gods and goddesses) and the spirits (especially Esi). One major proof of Uneme’s belief in the Uniqueness of Osanobula was the fact that every Uneme man or woman usually called on him through his various aides for protection from the hands of perpetrators of evils. The traditionalists have made efforts to develop the town by entertaining the people in their annual festivals.

Christianity

Hakeem (2003), asserts that Christianity was brought into Uneme communities in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s by Christian Missionaries like Ogidan of the Anglican Communities. He was from Uzosi kindred in Uneme Akpama in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area. This was done through the help of some Yoruba evangelists, who visited Akoko-Edo frequently. The first Church of the Missionaries in Uneme Akpama, the St. Luke’s Anglican Church, was built in 1922. Another Missionary who helped in the spread of Christianity in another Uneme Community was Chief Ezekiel Adeleye Igenuma Uduak Pegbemehe, from the Enibosu area of Uneme Eihurun. He was the brain behind the building of the first Church in Uneme Erhurun around 1923, which was also an Anglican church. Rev. Oyebode, a Yoruba Christian priest based in Auchi, was the first Anglican missionary to influence the spread of the religion in Uneme Aki-Osu in 1920, which was the first Church in the area.

Islam

The religion has been in existence before the advent of Christianity in Uneme Communities. Islam was introduced to the Unemes by the Nupes during their (Nupe) military and colonizing activities in Akoko-Edo in the 19th century. The conversion of the people to Islam had to wait till the fall of Nupe regime in 1897. It was only four of Uneme people that were converted into the religion. What hindered the growth of the religion in Akoko-Edo in the twentieth century was the absence of Mallams or Ulama. Islam up till date has not really found a strong root in Uneme Communities.

Occupation

Farming is one occupation the Uneme’s engage in and which has been in existence for long. The people practice commercial farming system. Some of their products are: yam, maize, cassava, cocoa, rice and banana. All these forms of occupation have brought development to the Uneme people and their various communities. Another aspect of Uneme occupation is iron smelting (blacksmithing). The blacksmiths smelt the iron-ore mostly at night because of the high temperature generated on the process of smelting. Some of the products of the blacksmiths are as follows: Anklets, bracelets, local necklace, hoes, cutlass, iron weapons, knives, plates and pots.Lastly, the Uneme people trade the finished products of their iron-ore. The trading is either done within themselves (Uneme people) or with other communities.

1.5     Genetic Classification of Uneme

Proto African Language

Afro-Asiatic
Niger-Congo
Khoisan
Nilo-Saharan
WestAtlantic
              GurMande
Kru
Kwa
AdamawaEastern
Benue-Congo
Kaan
Defoid
OkoEmosayan
Yorubiod
Akpescluster
Ediod
Nupoid
Idomoid
Igboid
CrossRiver
North Edoid
North-Central Edoid
Edoid
Delta Edoid
Ghotuo
Edo
Kpeshi
Sasaruenwanigwe
Ososo
UNEME
Etsako
Ivbie North okpela-Arhe

1.6     Scope and Organization of Study.

This long essay focuses on Negation in Uneme language and it is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the introduction part of the work which includes general introduction, the historical background and socio-cultural profile, genetic classification. Chapter two deals with brief review of the chosen framework, the basic word order, phrase structure rules, sentence types and lexical categories. Chapter three deals with the area of research which is Negation. Chapter four deals with various transformational process attested in Uneme language and lastly, Chapter five concludes the research work.

1.7     Data Collection

The Ibadan wordlist of 400 basic items was used in carrying out this research through direct translation method from English language. Elicitation of data was done through interview with the help of the language helper using audio cassette recorder.

The frame technique was also employed in collecting relevant information about the language. This has to do with the construction of phrases and sentences in English language which were translated to Uneme language. The relevance of frame technique to the data collection was that some syntactic information cannot be gotten in the language by the use of wordlist alone, that is, words in isolation, but by phrasal and sentential constructions.

Below is the brief information about the informants used.

Informant 1:                                               Pastor Patrick Asekhame

Age:                                                   54 years old

Native language:                                Uneme

Other languages spoken:                            English, Yoruba.

Home town:                                                Uzanu, Etsako East local Government

Number of years spent in home town:        23 years

 

Informant 2:                                               Miss Blessing Asekhame

Age:                                                  32 years old

Native language:                               Uneme

Other languages spoken:                            English, Yoruba

Home town:                                                Uzanu, Etsako East local Government

Number of years spent in home town:        23 years

1.8     Data Analysis

To ensure that the data analysis in this research is efficient enough, all the data collected were carefully transcribed and the data collected were used according to how the native speakers use it without imposing any additional rules or norms. The morpheme that make up the phrase and sentences are also carefully glossed through frame technique.

1.9     Brief Review of the Chosen Framework

The theory that was used in this research work is Government-Binding theory. The theory explains the universal grammar as introduced by Chomsky (1981). According to cook (1988:30), “Government-Binding theory elaborates syntactic levels through the concept of movement”. Radford (1988: 40) describes Government-Binding theory as “a modular deductive theory of grammar that posits multiple levels of representation related by a transformation rule called ‘move alpha (a)’”. Government and Binding theory operates through the modules of grammar: government, case, theta, control, binding, bounding and x-bar theories.

1.9.1  Sub-Theories of Government Binding Theory

Movement is controlled by the various sub-theories of grammar. In effect, movement will be restricted to leaving an empty category behind, and marked with a trace. Movement will be chained, so that we can see all its intermediate stopping places. The structures generated at the various levels are constrained by a set of theories which define the kinds of relationship possible within a grammar. The theories are:

  • X-bar theory
  • Theta theory
  • Case theory
  • Government theory
  • Bounding theory
  • Binding theory
  • Control theory

The diagram below shows interrelationship among the sub-theories of Government-Binding theory.

X-bar theory                                 The Projection                          Lexicon

       Ө -theoryӨ -Criterion

D-Structure                             Principle

Logical form (Pf)Component
Phonetic form (Pf)Component
CaseTheory
Movement
S-Structure
Bounding theory

Source: (Cook, 1988:33)

X-bar Theory

According to Horrocks (1987:63), the central notion of X-theory is the recognition of the fact that (most) phrasal constituents have ‘heads’ upon which the other elements of the constituents in question are dependent. The paraphrase of his submission is that the cover symbol X stands for the set of lexical categories with head phrases as in V for verbs, N for Nouns, ADJ for Adjective, P for Preposition, Adv for Adverb, such that N heads NP, V head VP, P heads PP, ADJ heads ADJP and ADV heads ADVP. The implication of this syntactic phenomenon is that “phrasal categories (e.g VP, PP, NP) all have heads that belong to the same category as the phrasal category” Akmajian, etal (2001:215).

In X-theory, there is the use of variable nodes whereby the general phrase structure rule schema for phrasal categories would be: XP    X comp, where comp which stands for complement could be a PP or an NP, with X standing for a lexical category (say, P, N, V, etc.). The above implies that when X represents N, it means that XP is an NP, when X stands for V, and then XP is a VP and so on. In X-syntax, the head of a phase captures a generalization in which the head of a phase be it a PP or VP, is syntactically located at the left side of its complement on the phase marker (Tree diagram). For example,

NP

N                Comp

Most importantly, “Ps rules must conform to this schema” (Akmajian, etal 2001:216). According to Horrocks (1987:101), X-theory——provides principles for the projection of phrasal categories from lexical categories and imposes conditions on the hierarchical organization of categories in the form of general schemata”. Chomsky proposed the following, known as the X-convention.  The containing X is termed X, and the phrasal category containing X is termed X. (X and X are then known as projections of X). That is, NP corresponds to N, there is an intermediate category N, and the head of NP is N as shown on the following page.

XII                        Maximal Projection

XI                         Intermediate Projection

Xo                         Core Projection Level

In summary, the X-bar theory postulates a projection from the lexicon (i.e. lexical category) to the phrase level (i.e. phrasal category). Such that the phrase is regarded as the maximal projection (Xmax, otherwise written as XII), the XI, being the intermediate projection and Xo or X being the core projection level.

Theta Theory

The rational behind this theory is the assignment of thematic roles to sentential constituents. The Greek (Ө) theta is a form of shorthand for thematic. According to Chomsky, these thematic roles include, Agent, Patient (or theme), Beneficiary, Location, Instrument, etc. What sounds compressive about this theory is that any constituent of a sentence which is assigned a Ө-role donates the argument of the predicate. “The main principle of Ө-theory is the Ө-criterion, which requires each thematic role to be uniquely assigned, i.e. each constituent denoting an argument is assigned just one Ө-role and each Ө-role is assigned to just one argument denoting constituent” (Horrocks 1987:102). For example, in a sentence like:

The cat caught the mouse.

The verb ‘catch’ assigns the grammatical function subject to cat and grammatical function (GF) object to the mouse.

Case Theory

According to Horrocks (1987:102), “case theory deals with the principle of case assignment to constituents”. He stresses further that, “in the content of GB theory, the essential point is that there can be no case-marking without government, ungoverned positions cannot receive case”. That is, certain lexical heads have the power to assign or determine the case of their NP complements which they govern. For example, a V or P which governs an NP complement will case-mark that constituent. Basically, the assignment of case is done under Government theory in which the choice of case in determined by the governor.

Government Theory

Cook (1988:30) refers to government theory as a particular syntactic relationship of high abstraction between a ‘governor’ and an element that it governs. In other words, it deals with the relationship between a head and its complements. For example,

He gave it to her

Government assigns nominative case to the grammatical function subject and can be interpreted as government, INFLU (tense) (The case assigner) governs the subject NP ‘we’ since INFL C-commands NP, INFLU is a governor, and there is no intervening maximal projection. The assignment of accusative to the grammatical function of object involves the case assigner of verb ‘give’ governing the NP ‘it’. Since verb c-commands NP, verb is a governor and there is no maximal projection between assignments of accusative to the object. The grammatical function of object of position depends on government. Since preposition c-commands NP, preposition is a governor and no maximal projection comes between them.

Case theory, therefore relies on government, if the category alpha has a case to assign, then it may assign it to an element it governs. “The list of governors includes the lexical categories: Noun, Verb, Adjective, Preposition, and everything that can be the head of a phrase” (Cook 1988: 36). However, there must be a relationship between the governed and the governor. That is to say, government ensures that an argument word gets an appropriate case.

Bounding Theory

This is concerned with the limitations to be placed in the displacement of constituents by the movement transformation rule (move-alpha). Horrocks (1987:128) submits that “it is a way of constraining the movement rule (move alpha)”. Its chief principle is subjacency. It is also the relationship of movement between S-structure and D-structure that restrict word that can be moved, to where it can be moved from, where it can be moved to and how far it can be moved, that is to say, it limits the distance where an item may be moved. For example, in the sentence below:

D       –        Structure:    ‘I have five apples’

S       –        Structure:    (i) How many apples have you?

(ii) How many have you apple?

We can now see that the NP apple has crossed more than one boundary node, that is to say “have” and “you” which makes the second sentence in the S-Structure to be ungrammatical.

Binding Theory

Horocks (1987:108) describes this theory as one of the most important contents in the system, concerning primarily with the conditions under which NPs are interpreted as co referential with other Noun Phrases in the same sentences. It also explains how the reference of various types of NPs can be linked to other NPs. For example,

“James hit himself”

James and himself are co-referential and it can be symbolized as: James; hit himself;.

Principles of Binding theory.

  1. I) Binding theory exemplifies the close relationship between syntax and lexical item already seen in the projection principle.
  2. II) Binding theory is not about rules in the properties of isolated syntactic constructions. It does not apply to himself or reflexive only but to many areas like reflexives, pronominal, nouns e.t.c.

III)     Binding theory demonstrates the inter connectedness of the theory. In particular, the binding principle cannot be stated in isolation from the notion of subject and form government.

  1. IV) The theory demonstrates that universal grammar is not concerned with information specific to one language. The principles are taught at a level of abstraction that may be used for any human language. (Horrocks, 1987)

Control Theory

Control theory is concerned with the way in which subject less infinite structures are constructed. It focuses on an element called PRO, sometimes called ‘big pro’ to contrast it with PRO. PRO is restricted to the subject position in non-finite clause (culicover 1999:55). For example,

“I wanted to go”.

In the above example, there are reasons to believe that there is really a subject to the clause ‘to go’ but the subject is invisible. PRO can only appear in the subject position of non-finite clause. It is banned from all object positions and from the subject position of finite clauses, as there is no governor for its position.

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