The Mernyang Noun Phrase

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

The Mernyang Noun Phrase


Table of Contents


  • Cover Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Symbols

Chapter One

Introduction

  • 1.0 General Background
  • 1.1 Historical Background
  • 1.2 Socio-cultural Profile
  • 1.3 Genetic Classification
  • 1.4 Scope and Organization of Study
  • 1.5 Theoretical Framework
  • 1.6 Data Collection
  • 1.7 Data Analysis
  • 1.8 Brief Review of the Government and Binding Theory
  • 1.8.1 X-bar Theory
  • 1.8.2 Theta Theory
  • 1.8.3 Case Theory
  • 1.8.4 Government Theory
  • 1.8.5 Bounding Theory
  • 1.8.6 Binding Theory
  • 1.8.7 Control Theory

Chapter Two

Basic Phonological and Syntactic Concepts

  • 2.0 Introduction
  • 2.1 The Sound Inventory of Mernyang
  • 2.1.1 The Vowels of Mernyang
  • 2.1.2 The Consonants of Mernyang
  • 2.2 The Tonal Inventory of Mernyang
  • 2.3 The Syllable Structure of Mernyang
  • 2.4 Basic Syntactic Concepts
  • 2.4.1 Phrase Structure Rules
  • 2.4.2 Lexical Categories in Mernyang
  • 2.4.3 Phrasal Categories in Mernyang
  • 2.4.4 Basic Word Order
  • 2.4.5 Sentence Types in Mernyang

Chapter Three

The Mernyang Noun Phrase

  • 3.0 Introduction
  • 3.1 the Noun Phrase
  • 3.1.1 Noun Phrase and the Head Parameter
  • 3.2 the Structure and Modification of Noun Phrase in Mernyang
  • 3.2.1 Noun Phrase as a Single Noun Head
  • 3.2.2 Noun Phrase as a Pronoun
  • 3.2.3 Modification of Np by Determiners
  • 3.2.4 Modification of Np by Adjectival Phrase
  • 3.2.5 Modification of Np by Prepositional Phrase
  • 3.2.6 Modification of Np by Complementizer Phrase
  • 3.2.7 NPS Joined by the Conjunction “and”
  • 3.3 Functions of Noun Phrase in Mernyang
  • 3.3.1 NP as Subject of the Predicate
  • 3.3.2 NP as Apposition of Subject
  • 3.3.3 NP as Direct Object of the Verb
  • 3.3.4 NP as Indirect Object of the Verb
  • 3.3.5 NP as Object of Preposition

Chapter Four

Transformational Processes in Mernyang

  • 4.0 Introduction
  • 4.1 Transformational Processes
  • 4.1.1 Focus Construction in Mernyang
  • 4.1.1.1 Subject NP Focusing
  • 4.1.1.2 Direct Object NP Focusing
  • 4.1.1.3 Indirect Object NP Focusing
  • 4.1.2 Relativization in Mernyang
  • 4.1.2.1 Subject Np Relativization
  • 4.1.2.2 Object Np Relativization
  • 4.1.3 Question Formation in Mernyang
  • 4.1.3.1 Wh-questions
  • 4.1.3.2 Yes/No Questions

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.0 Introduction
  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

List of Symbols


  • IP Inflectional phrase
  • Spec Specifier
  • I Inflection
  • NP Noun phrase
  • N Nouns
  • Det Determiner
  • VP Verb phrase
  • V Verb
  • PP Prepositional phrase
  • P Preposition
  • Adj. P Adjectival phrase
  • Adj. Adjective
  • TNS Tense
  • AGR Agreement
  • Adv. Adverb
  • QM Question marker
  • FP Focus phrase
  • FM Focus marker
  • CP Complementizer phrase
  • C Complementizer
  • GB Government and Binding
  • ( ) Means optional element

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.0 General Background

This chapter will examine the general background of the study and the speakers of the language with respects to their history and socio-cultural profile. Also, it introduces to us the genetic classification of Mernyang, scope and organization of the study, including the theoretical framework. Method of data collection and analysis, as well as the review of the chosen framework are also examined. This study focuses on the aspects of Mernyang Noun Phrase. Mernyang is a language spoken in Qua’anpan local government of Plateau state.

Therefore, the areas covered in this study are the sound, tonal and syllable inventories of the language, as well as some syntactic concepts such as phrase structure rules, basic word order, lexical categories and sentence types. Also, transformational processes, which are focusing, question formation and relativization are discussed.


1.1 Historical Background

Going by oral tradition, the Mernyang people originated from a man known as ‘Dafyar’. Dafyar and his sister, Nade, left Dala in Kano and settled in ‘Kopfubum’ near the present day Kofyar. Since then, Dafyar and his offspring, which were fourteen (14) in number have scattered all over Plateau State. One of the sons of Dafyar known as ‘Darep Soekoeto’ founded the ‘Kwa’ settlement where the speakers of Mernyang language are concentrated today. Since then, Darep had been giving birth to children who are also producing sons and daughters. The current total population of the speakers of Mernyang is 10,000 (Nigeria census, 2005).

The speakers are officially known as the pan people, including their language, but locally referred to as Mernyang.

The diagram below shows the geographical location of the Mernyang people on the map of Qua’anpan local government.


1.2 Socio-cultural profile

Going by oral tradition, the speakers of Mernyang language have their own unique way of life that are discussed below:

1.2.1 Marriage System

Following oral tradition, the marriage system of the people is stage by stage. At first, the boy will take two jars of ‘Brukutu’ to the girl’s parents in order to seek their hands in marriage. After this, the parents of the boy would be asked to supply the following items: goat, chicken, palm oil, salt, magi and benny seed. Once these items are accepted the boy is free to take his wife home.

The last stage involves conducting the marriage ceremony either in the church or mosque depending on the religions of the couple.

1.2.2 Festivals

Going by oral history, there are two major festivals observed among the speakers. The first one is known as the ‘pan’ day, which is done once in a year. During this event, a lot of social dances and musical presentations are done, among which are sual, koem, feer etc.

The second festival is observed by the districts. Each district has its peculiar way of celebrating its own. Also, a lot of social activities are put in place in order to entertain the audience.

1.2.3 Religion

Following oral tradition, idol worshipping was the only religion of the people in the past. But, today, Christianity and Islam are practised. There are few Christians and the existence of festival celebrations.

1.2.4 Occupation

Following oral tradition, the major occupation of Mernyang people is farming. They plant millet and guinea corn which are the main sources of their foods. However, others still engage in fishing and hunting as their occupations.

1.2.5 Mode of dressing

The speakers of Mernyang language are typically dressed in their native ‘agbada’ with the popular ‘aburo’ cap. Their women are mostly dressed in their ‘iro’ and ‘buba’ with ‘gele’

1.2.6 Food

Going by oral tradition, the favourite foods of the people are millet and guinea corn. Their common food is known as ‘chugum’ made from millet and guinea corn and grounded with other items. Their favourite drink is ‘brukutu’

1.2.7 Mode of kingship

The traditional system of rulership among the Mernyang is by monarchy. The choice of who becomes the next king is usually determined by election from the royal family. The king makers have to test the competence of the elected candidate and make him the next king who then becomes the paramount ruler of the land.


1.3 Genetic classification

Greenberg (1966:8) maintains that African languages belong to various families, and there are four main groups namely, Niger-Kordofanian, Nilo-sahara, Afro-Asiatic and khoisan.

The Mernyang language is classified under the Benue Congo, belonging to the group of plateau. This is represented below:

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Summary


Using the theoretical framework of Government and Binding (GB) theory, this long essay has presented the syntactic analysis of Mernyang Noun Phrase. The historical background and the socio-cultural profile of the language and its speakers were examined, in which we established that the language is spoken in Plateau State, Nigeria, with the number of the speakers put at 10,000. Also, the genetic classification revealed that Mernyang belongs to the Niger-Congo Phylum; and the chosen theoretical framework was reviewed in the first chapter.
In chapter two, we discussed some basic phonological concepts such as sound, tonal and syllable inventories in Mernyang. From this, it was pointed out that the language attests twenty seven (27) consonants, eight (8) oral vowels and eight nasal vowels. In addition to this, certain syntactic concepts were addressed in the language, which were: Phrase structure rules; lexical and phrasal categories, basic word order; and sentence types. Thus, we discovered and established that the subject, verb and object (SVO) basic word order pattern is attested in the language.

The analysis of Mernyang Noun Phrase was carried out in the third chapter. We investigated the various syntactic structures of Noun Phrase in the language, including its functions in Mernyang. Additionally, it was established that the noun in Noun Phrase can be present with or without its satellites; and it was discovered that the noun comes first before other constituents in the structure.

Chapter four focused on the transformational processes operating in Mernyang language. These processes were focus construction, relativization and question formation.

The last chapter gave a brief summary of the research findings, concluded the work and provided possible recommendations.


Conclusion


The focus of this research project is on the Noun Phrase of Mernyang language. It has been observed that, in the structure of Noun Phrase in Mernyang, the headword, which is the noun, appears on the left side before the attachment of other possible satellites. Also, the Noun Phrase performs the functions of subject, direct object and indirect object of the sentence. In addition to this, it has been established that syntactic processes which include focus construction, relativization and question formation operate on the deep structure of sentences to convert them to surface structures.


Recommendations


Since this long essay has only addressed the syntactic aspect of Mernyang language, we are of the opinion that further researches on phonology, morphology etc should also be carried out in the language. Furthermore, the present analysis should not be considered as exhaustive enough, instead, more research should continue on the syntax of the language in order to bring out more interesting linguistic facts. On this premise, this long essay is a starting point and therefore a valid source of reference for further linguistic research into Mernyang language.

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