1.0 GENERAL BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
This research work is based on the
aspects of noun Bura noun phrase. The study forms an important aspect of the
syntax of the language. By syntax, we mean the branch of linguistic analysis
which involves the arrangement of words to form grammatical sentences a rule
governed way. It should be noted that there are many aspects of syntax, but
this research will focus on the noun phrase of Bura language.
phrase could be described as group of words that forms an integral part a sentence. There are different types of
phrasal categories, for example Noun, Verb, Prepositional, Adverbial,
Adjectival phrases etc. Each phrasal
category is named after the lexical category that heads the phrase. For
instance, a verb heads a verb
phrase, a preposition heads a prepositional phrase.
In this chapter, we will carry out a
survey of the historical background of the language, sociolinguistic profile
under which we shall describe the occupation, marriage, religion, festivals,
culture and beliefs, language status and the genetic classification of the
language. Government and Binding theory is used as a theoretical frame work the analysis of the study.
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The pabir and bura are ethnically
different, but both speak the bura language. They are the major tribes Biu and
Askira L.G.A''S of Borno state and Gombi L.G.A of Adamawa state. The population
of bura people in Borno state is about 230,000 and there are about 46,000
speakers of the language in Adamawa state.(.N.P.C 2005).
The Bura''s lived north of Biu before
being attacked by yata-ra-wara around the 16th century. The few people yamta
brought with him intermarried with the Bura''s and built the Biu dynasty into a
kingdom. Those descendants of yamta''s group were called Pabir or (babur),this
is why the Pabir and Bura''s differ considerably in culture appearance until
today, The Pabir are the ruling class among e Bura people and the Bura villages
pay tribute to the Emir of Biu, the Bura''s still resent the Pabirs.
1.2 SOCIOCULTURAL PROFILE
The following could be observed among
the Bura''s. The language bura is seen means of communication in the market and is
also used in teaching in primary schools. The Bura''s found in Biu and Askira
L.G.A''S in Borno state and Gombi L.G.A in Adamawa state. Their main language is
Bura but they also speak Hausa, Chibok, Fulfude and a few speak Marghi.
The Bura people did not circumcised
their boys until the practice was introduced around the 1920''s. Boys are
circumcised around the age of 7. When a female child is born, a suitor may
propose by throwing a leafy branch of a certain tree in her mother''s kut. If he
is accepted, he gives gifts as the girl grows up. He works on her father''s farm
and makes zana matting for them. When she reaches marriage age he captures her
and bring her to his house, then the remaining part of the bride price is settled
and arrangements for the marriage ceremony are concluded.
The bride is usually expected to
produce a white cloth stained with the proof of her virginity and it may be
displayed with pride, her parents will be ashamed if she is not a virgin.
Another form of courtship/marriage
is for a boy to look over the girls while they are collecting firewood or
fetching water, when he sees the one he likes he asks her to marry him and if
she agrees, he gets about 8 or 10 strong fellows to capture her and bring her
to his house then the marriage ceremony is arranged. As a sign of respect, a
man does not eat with his parents-in-laws, when an old person dies he/she is
buried on the second day, when everyone has gathered in the evening. The grave
is wide circular shaft at the top, about knee deep then a smaller round shaft
is dug from the bottom of this into a loor of cavity. There is a traditional
dancing for seven days after the burial, and if the deceased was an important
person it last 14days, during which rituals are performed. There is dancing
with beating of drum and things belonging to the deceased that show who he was
are displayed, such as his/her tools and weapons. This is done till date,
sometimes professional mourners are invited on one of the mourning days, the
Fuinchambwi dance is done. The male dancers jump from the roof of the hut of
the deceased back again until the roof destroyed. After this the date is fixed
for the last mourning or sadaka, which is held about 6 months later but usually
during dry season.
Originally the Bura''s had no central
government, now the Emir of Biu appoints the district heads (Ajia) who then
approve he appointments of the village heads (Lawans). Today both titles belong
to certain families. The village heads appoints the ward heads (Bulamas) over
small villages and wards of larger ones. Anyone who has leadership ability ca
chosen as a Bulama.
The Bura had their traditional
religion before Islam came around 1920 and Christianity later in the
1920''s.Today these three religions can found among the Bura''s.
In traditional religion the Supreme
Being is called Hyel or Hyel-taku, they approach Hyel through Haptu. Hyel they
claim created everything, but a Haptu is a personal god who takes care of the
individual. The Haptu have shrines where people worship and offer sacrifices.
The gods are represented by various objects such as water (a lake or river),
stones, mountains or forest. Usually there is an attendant or priiest through
whom consultations is made of the Haptu. Most sacrifices are on saturdays so it
is a special day. some gods are for particular clans, and there is no unified
form of traditional religion for the whole tribe. One of the Haptu(gods) is
Dlaminpr Kampeka,a large being living in space. His chief priest is called
Mthakur Haptu, there is a Mthakur Haptu in each village.
The most common of the gods is
represented by a covered pot kept by a family head. At the beginning end of the
dry season in times of stress, he offers a chicken to the pot for the health of
his household. The practice of traditional religion has now largely
disintegrated before Islam and Christianity. However witchcraft is still done.
The belief that ancestors becomes when they die and still influence what
happens in the world has not really died out.
The total number of Bura Christians is
under 60, 000, the percentage of Christians is actually less than 20%, though
more may be nominal adherents. A rough estimate of the religious percentage is
as follows: Muslims-78%, Christians-20%, Traditionalists-2%.
There is a certain amount of
understanding between the Muslims and Christians which prevents too much
religious tension in the tribe, but this does mean Muslims do not persecute
relatives converted to Christianity.
The people of Bura are mainly
agriculturalists as they engage themselves in planting of crops like maize,
guinea corn, groundnut and rice. Among them there are also weavers, fishermen,
hunters, woodcarvers etc.
Fig. 1.2.4 Fishing
Occupation of Bura People
Since the Bura people are mainly engaged
in farming all their festivals are farming related, as they organize harvest
festivals before fresh harvests are eaten.
An example is the maize harvest
festival performed before fresh corn can be eaten, it is believed that it is
sacriligious to eat an harvest before the harvest festival, hence all farmers
adhere to this law.
Fig. 1.2.5 Maize
Harvest Festival of Bura People
bura people have a rich culture, preserved and handed down from generation to
generation. They are simple country people, they believe in justice, modesty,
equity and fairness. They are accommodating and live in peace with their
neighbours. Talking about their mode of greeting they greet more or less like
Hausa''s they bend down or kneel down to greet each other.
Africa fig. 1.3
Cushitic Omitic Berber Chadic
Biu Mandara East
Tera group Kotoko group Bura group Tligi group Mandara group Matakaru group Bata group
Bura (pabir) Kiba Mangi Putai
Source: Comrie, B. (1987).
1.4 SCOPE AND ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY
This research will focus its attention
the Noun phrase of Bura language. This work aims at giving a detail syntactic
analysis of the Noun of Bura language.
work attempts to discuss the
arrangement or combination of words to form phrases, clauses and sentences in
Bura. This description will also focus and some of the peculiar features of the
research work consist of five chapters. Chapter one deals with the
introductory aspect of the work, that is
the sociolinguistic profiles of the dialect, its historical background,
socio-cultural profile, genetic classification, scope and organization of the
study, theoretical framework. The second chapter centers on the basic syntactic
concepts, where we intend to analyze the phrase structure rules as well as the
lexical categories and sentence types based on Government and Binding theory.
The third chapter will examine the noun
phrase of Bura, areas as noun phrase
position, noun phrase function, complementizers and the noun phrase
The chapter four centers on all the
levels of linguistics analysis in the language, that is the transformation
processes. Chapter five will present the summary as well as the conclusion on
the entire work.
1.5 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Theoretical framework adopted in this
work Government and Binding theory(G.B theory). This Government and Binding
theory was proposed by an American linguist named Noam Chomsky in (1981),as a
reaction to transformational generative grammar to account for all and only the
representations that underline the grammatical sentence in a language.
Government and Binding theory is
modular deductive theory of grammar. Proponents of G.B often maintained that
there is no such thing as roles of language. But only the principles and
parameters whose values can only vary from one language to the other do exist
with specified units.
Chomsky (1995:15-16) remarks as follows,
''The principles and parameters approach held that language have no rule in
anything like familiar sense transformation and no theoretically significant
grammatical construction, except taxonomic artifacts''. There are universal
participles and finite array of options as to how such principles apply
(parameter) but no language particular roles.
It is also worthy to note that though
Government and Binding theory is a common label of this model of syntax, it is
misleading because it gives undue prominence to the two elements of Government
and Binding, whose status was not fundamentally superior to the other
sub-theories like x-bar, theta, case e.t.c. Hence, the ''principles and
parameters theory has come to be seen as a closer to it essence.
The method employed for data collection
is the bilingual elicitation approach, involving English and Bura language. The
data were elicited with the use of the Ibadan four hundred wordlist, which
consist of basic list simple words.
Apart from the 400 wordlist, phrases
and sentences in English were translated to Bura, by a Bura native speaker. The
data collected were subjected to analysis.
Oral interviews were conducted in English
language and answers were given in Bura language by my informant. The answers
to this questions were used in the syntactic analysis of Bura language.
Below are the full
details of my informant
Name: Abdulahi Ahmed
Age: 42 years old.
My informant is a native speaker of
Bura language.He is from Gombi local government area in Adamawa state. My
informant speaks the following language: English, Hausa and Bura.
But due to the busy schedule of my
informant at the time in which this research work is been carried out was unable to provide all required
informations needed to complete this work, hence additional information was
seeked by the researcher online leading to the discovery of a Bura dictionary
prepared following a workshop in Jos, 24-25 April, 2009 and represents a major
shift in terms of orthography and definitions etc. as prepared by Roger blench
of www.rogerblench.info/RBOP.htm E-mail [email protected]
1.7 DATA ANALYSIS
In this research work,the data was
collected form my informant both in writing and recording an audio cassette
then the analysis of the data collected was carried out using Government and
Binding theory of syntax as proposed by Chomsky (1986). This research work will
limited to the aspect
of noun phrase.The informant used was fluent in the language, his fluency and
competence formed the basis of his choice as my informant.
1.8 BRIEF REVIEW OF CHOSEN FRAMEWORK
Government and Binding theory refers to
theory of syntax propounded by Chomsky (1981,1982,1986). This theory is a
radical revision of his earlier (1965,1987) theories was revised in a
minimalist programme for linguistic theory (1993).
The name refers to central sub theories
of the theory. Government
can be referred to as an abstract syntactic relation and Binding deal with the
referents or pronoun R-expression.
G.B was the first to be base on the
principle and parameters mode of language, which also underlines the later
development of the minimalist programme. Government and Binding is a theory of
universal grammar, which is one system of all the principle that are common to
all human languages (Haegeman 1991:13) It is otherwise known as principle and
parameter the in the sense that .GB, the grammar is a continuos interaction
between components and sub theories embedding different principles and
parameters (cook 1988:31). It has two levels of representation related by
transformation rule move alpha.
alpha is stipulated by movement, that is the syntactic level is
elaborated by the concept of movement (cook 1988:30). G.B requires two levels
of syntactic representation. The deep structure (D-structure) which is the
level at which we obtain all information on the words and their combination, it
consists of base rules, lexical rules, strict sub-categorization, selectional
restrictions, phrase structure rules (yusuf 1997:68).
It is the level at
which elements in the sentence are in their original location (cook 1988:30).
We also have the surface structure
level ( S-structure) which is the level at which some components in the
sentence have been moved. The s-structure is clearly generated from the
D-structure by the application of movement rules. There is relationship between
deep structure and the surface structure, they are related by movement.
1.9 THE SUB-THEORIES OF G.B
Chomsky postulates a set of interacting
sub-theories each of which deals with some control area of grammatical enquiry.
Each of these may be subject to parametric variation. That is to say, it is
assumed that the grammar of languages vary in only finitely many ways with respect
the domain covered by sub-theory. All these -theories of G.B theory operates in
a modular form, this theory itself is referred to as modular deductive theory
of grammar. The sub-theory assumed are the following.
i. X- bar theory
ii. Theta theory
iii. case theory
iv. Binding theory
v. Bounding theory
vi. Control theory
X-Bar syntax replaces large numbers of
idiosyncratic rules with general principles. It captures properties of all
phrases and its bases on lexicon. The principle is that a phrase always
contains a head of the same type.
It defines the possible phrase structure
configuration of language in general. The control notion is that each of the
major lexical categories (Noun, Verb,
Preposition and Adjectives), is the head of structure is dominated by a
(phrase, Verb: verb phrase e.t.c) for example Noun phrase (NP) is headed by a
Noun. It comes after possible constituents in the example below.
NP Fig. 1.9.1
X-bar encompasses projection
principle which shows how head moves to its maximal projection. It projects the
characteristics of lexical entries into the syntax which link the D-structure
to S-structure an LF to the lexicon by specifying the possible context in which
a particular lexical item can occur
projection from the head to the maximal is shown below.
XP- Maximal projection
X - The head
All NPs have the same two bar level
structures even if specifiers and complementizers are not actually present
putting the levels of specifier and complement together, the structure of a
phrase consist of two levels, arbituary using particular specifier and
G.B claims that these two level
are necessary for all types of phrase. X-bar theory proposes that all phrase in