The Atsam Verb Phrase

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

The Atsam Verb Phrase

Chapter One


1.0 General Background

This chapter examines the language of study, the people speaking the language and their geographical location. It also introduces us to the sociolinguistic of the speakers of the language which includes their culture and beliefs. Again in this chapter, a brief explanation of the scope of the study, method of data collection, genetic classification and theoretical framework used in analyzing the Atsam Verb phrase are discussed.This study focuses on the Atsam Verb phrase. According to the Oral tradition, Atsam is a language spoken in Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Atsam is also known as Tsam while the people speaking the language are called Atsam.

1.1 Historical Background.

The Oral tradition has it that Atsam is an ethnic group in Northern Nigeria which is Kaduna. They are predominantly found in Kaduna, Plateu and Nasarawa States and Federal Capital Territory, this same tradition states that there was a lack of sufficient data as regards the study of language all because the languages of Kaduna are undoubtedly minority languages and as such, understudied.

The Atsam people were forced to migrate from one place to another and they are dominated by Hausa people meaning that the Hausa populations are more than Atsam population. The Atsam people were endangered because of pressure from Hausa and that has been the lingua franca in the North of the country. However, locally the language remains in use.

1.2 Sociolinguistic Profile.

According to the oral tradition, the Atsam people like some other tribes have their own unique ways of living and they are discussed below.

1.2.1 Marriage System.

In the Oral tradition, Atsam have their own way of marriage system which is a process carried out by the both parent of the boy and the girl, there will be an agreement between the two of them since when the children are still at their childhood stage till when they are grown up, but in most cases, the Groom will be more older than the Bride, an appropriate date for the marriage ceremony will set as soon as the bride began her puberty stage but now, the ancient procedure has changed because of civilization.

1.2.2 Religion.

The Oral tradition states it that Atsam people consider religion as of great significance in their lives, they make use of two religions in their community namely: Christianity and Islam. There is however, a third religion which is gradually dying off due to increase awareness in the two main religions. This third religion is the traditional religion popularly known as ‘dodo’ in the area and there are few of such followers of traditional belief at present.

1.2.3 Occupation.

The oral tradition has it that the main occupation of Atsam people includes subsistence farming, craft making, bee keeping, fishing, and petty trading. Traditionally, Atsam people are predominantly farmers, through there are few who are engage in other income generating ventures. But 8% of the populations are farmers depending on farming as their means to livelihood.

They also engage in craft making as a source of income, popular crafts making include; baskets, wooden, handle of simple farm tools such as hoes, cutlasses and shovels. Certain group of people in the area in bee keeping for the production of honey and the present of rivers at Kifffin Chawai, and Talo also enhance them in fishing as a source of income while petty trading are mostly done by women, but their of nowadays are now joining their female counter parts.

1.2.4 Administrative Setting.

According to the oral tradition of Atsam, the chief popularly known as Res-Tsam is the overall ruler in Atsam land. The announcement of laws that ensures peaceful co-existence and the maintenance of law and order within the chiefdom rest on his shoulders. He also performs the functions of lobbing government in bringing development programmes to the chiefdom.

Traditionally, the chief’s palace is located at Damakasuwa Chawai which is the headquarters for central administration with six districts. These districts include: Damakasuwa that covers villages as Kichiguya, Rafingora, Mangul and Kisari. The second District is Zambina with its headquarters at Ungwan Makama Chawai; it covers villages as Badurum, Kurmi Riga and Rana. The third district is Faden Chawai, and it covers villages as Kibobi, Talo and Riban. The fourth Pari with its headquarter at Kiffin Chawai, and it covers villages as Kiffin and Pari.

The fifth district is Kamaru with its headquarter at Kizakor and it covers villages as Kamaru, Kihoba, Kuyanboro and Kizakoro, the sixth district is Bakin Kogi. These districts heads are, however, supported by a number of village Heads within their domains. The village Heads also reports to the district heads and the Ward Head is popularly known as Mai’angwa in their tradition.

1.3 Genetic Classification of Atsam.

The idea that groups of languages that share certain systematic resemblances have inherited those similarities from a common origin is the basis for genetic classifications.

Ruhlen (1987) describes Genetic classification as a form of a tree diagram showing the origin of a language from a common ancestor, and it is related to each other genetically to other languages. Atsam language belongs to the platoid group of languages under Benue-Congo group of Niger-Congo phylum of Niger-Kordofanian language family of African languages.

The language family is represented below:

The Atsam Verb Phrase

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