Question Formation In Mernyang

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

Question Formation In Mernyang


Abstract


The aim of this research work is to give a detailed syntactic analysis of the question formation in Mernyang language. The background of the study and the historical background of MERNYANG people were also discussed. The geographical location and the genetic classification of the language were discussed. Also, the method of data collection and analysis, as well as the theoretical framework adopted for the study were studied. The first chapter focuses on the sound system and some phonological concepts, such as tones, syllable structure, basic word-orders, phrase- structure rules, sentence types and functions.


Chapter One


General Background

Linguistics over the years has been defined as the scientific study of language. However, studying language scientifically entails the study of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics of a language so as to get empirical and sufficient facts/data, carry them out, experiment and process them, then formalize a rule to form linguistically significant generalization about such language.

The above mentioned levels of linguistics are referred to as core linguistics by YULE in that, they as the level at which the structure of any language whatsoever can be studied, analysed and determined. Hence in this project work, my main objective is to examine one of the five attested level of language which deals with the arrangement of words (phrases) to form sentences (i.e. SYNTAX) and my focus will be on question formation. An aspect which deals with how questions are formed/asked.

This chapter will introduce the historical background of mernyang people, their socio-cultural profile and the genetic classification of the language. This chapter also discusses the scope and organization of the study, the theoretical frame work used for our analysis and the review of the chosen frame work.


1.1 Historical Background

Oral tradition and history has it that the mernyang people are descendants of Kofyar people who lived on the hills in Qua’an pan Local government area of plateau state.

Kofyar people are said to have migrated from Dada village in Kano State and the settlement was founded by Dofyar and nade his sister who were both great hunters.

On the account of their settlement in Kofyar, Dofyar and Nade are said to engage in hunting expendition when they found themselves on the hills in the northern plateau. Due to the beauty and attractiveness of the hills, Dofyar and Nade decided not to go back to Dada (Kano-State) which was their original hometown, but stayed back and made an abode for themselves on the hills.

After many years, the offsprings of those great hunters grew into a large community and saw reasons for them to engage in farming to complement their original and major occupation of hunting. Due to the nature of the hills, some of the people had to come down from the hills to create a better abode for themselves on the plain surface.

As a result of the height of the hills from the ground, and the hardship encountered by the people when climbing the hills, some of them decided to stay and provided shelter for themselves while those that had the going up and down easy decided to make the top of the hills their permanent abode. Those that decided to stay and live on the plain surface are today known as THE MERNYANG PEOPLE and the settlement is named Kwa(or pan) while those on the hills remain as “Kofyar” people. However, inspite of this, the Kofyar and the Kwa people (Mernyang speakers) still see themselves as one and they have a mutual relationship.

Of many communities and villages in Qua’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State, the Kwa chiefdom i.e. the mernyang speakers remain the major and the dominant group. They are known and called “the pan chiefdom by their neighboring villages and towns, and according to the 2005 census, they can boast of 10,000 people within the community and about 95,000 speakers of the language, they are scattered around the nooks and crannies of Plateau State.

Educational development, the expansion of settlement and the volume of trade, agricultural practices and population increase among others have today contributed to making (Kwa pan) chiefdom enjoy rapid growth and development.


1.2 Geographical Background of Mernyang people

The mernyang speaking people are found in the northern part of Qua’anpan local government area of plateau state. In the state, they are located as the southern east of the state

Socio Cultural Profile

The mernyang speaking people have a diverse culture and they distinct from one another depending on the districts because there are four districts of the mernyang speaking people. They are: Kwa, which is the mernyang people, Doemak, Dokankasuwa, Kwang and the Kwalla people.

Occupation

As fore mentioned, the main occupation of the mernyang speaking people is farming. They also engage themselves in trading and hunting and for those close to the rivers incase of Kwang and Dokan Kasuwa they engage in fishing too.

Religion

Before the coming of the colonial masters, mernyang people were all animist, but with the coming of Islamic and the Catholic missionaries who settled at Kwa and Kofyar, some embraced Islam and others Christianity. Today we have Christians and Muslims and also some of the animist cohibiting together. In regards to Christianity, catholic is the dominant church because the missionaries that came are from Island and are catholic missioners.

Festivals

The mernyang speaking people have different festivals depending on the time, place and district, but there is one general festival been celebrated yearly called Shika’am where all sons and daughters of mernyang converge to attain and celebrate the festival. Several talents are displayed to add more beauty and shape to the event. The people also dance, display magic and the likes. This is done by the youth while elders watch.

Marriages

Marriage in mernyang land differs from district to district, from clan to clan and religion to religion. In case of Kwa, sometimes a lady is betrothed few days after birth in which she has to marry the person she is betrothed to or if she refuses she then pay back what the family of the husband already brought on her behalf even when she was young.


1.3 Genetic Classification

Flow chat available in the complete material

Source adapted from w.w.w ethnologue com/shows= language asp- ?


1.4 Scope and Organization of Study

This research will focus its attention on question formation. This work aims at giving a detailed syntactic analysis of the question formation in Mernyang language.

The work attempt to discuss WH question, The Yes or No question, Tag question, Alternative question, Rhetorical question in mernyang language. This description will also focus on some of the peculiar features of the language.

This research work consists of five chapters. Chapter one deals with the introductory aspect of the work, that is the sociolinguistics profiles of the dialect, its historical background, socio cultural profile, genetic classification, scope and organization of the study, theoretic framework. The second chapter centers on the basic syntactic concept, 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 question formation of mernyang language while chapter four introduces us to transformational process like focus construction, reflexivization and relativization. Chapter five summarizes and concludes the work

Chapter one continues in the complete material…


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This research work contains five chapters, chapter one centers on the general introduction of the topic.

We examined the background of the study and the historical background Mernyang people. The sociolinguistics background was also discussed. The geographical location and the genetic classification of the language were discussed. Also, the method of data collection and Analysis, as well as the theoretical framework adopted for the study were studied.

Chapter two examined the sound system of Mernyang as well as some phonological and syntactic concepts, such as tones, syllable structure, basic word-orders, phrase- structure rules, sentence types and functions.

Chapter three discussed various forms of questions in the language, such as the Yes-No question, Echo question, WH-question, Alternative question, Tag questions and Rhetorical question.

In Chapter four, illustrative analysis of the transformational process involved in deriving questions in Mernyang language was given. Hence, transformational processes like Focus construction, relativization and reflexivization were discussed. Chapter five of the project is the summary and conclusion.


5.2 Conclusion

Mernyang is a distinct language based on the field method and investigation carried out by the researcher, very few linguistic work has been done on the language in the department, but this research will serve as an eye opener for other linguists that will like to carry out research in the language in question


5.3 Recommendation

For further researches on this language, recommendation s will be made to the Government and Policy makers, the teachers and the students.

Government and Policy Makers

Government should try to pay attention to the minority languages in which Mernyang is one. Nigeria is a multi-lingual society with close to seven hundred languages, so the minority languages should not be allowed to go in extinction. Government and policy makers should assign roles to these languages, even if it will be taught in the primary schools of the native speakers and where the languages are spoken, in other to have more speakers of the languages. With these, the minority languages will gradually be developed.

Language Teacher

Language teachers should be given adequate training to teach the languages and they should be equipped with the necessary materials needed to teach the languages.

Students

Students should be interested in learning their indigenous languages. And if the language (indigenous) is taught in schools, the students will be enforced to learn and speak their languages. Language and culture are closely related, so if a native speaker of a language embraces his/her language, he/she will also appreciate his/her culture.

It is my wish therefore, that, this project will serve as a relevant material for further research on question information in Mernyang language


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