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 Format: MS WORD ::   Chapters: 1 - 5 ::   Pages: 127 ::   Attributes: Table of content  ::   305 people found this useful

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1.0     General Background

          The main focus of this research work is on the aspects of Gunganchi question formation. This chapter aims at introducing the work by discussing some historical facts about the Gunganchi speakers and the language itself. The research method used for data collection is the informant method.Justification for the study as well as the scope of the work is also examined in this chapter. The chapter will also give information on the genetic classification of Gunganchi and attempt a brief review of our chosen framework, the Government and Binding theory.

  1. Historical Background                   

Kebbi State, the home of Argungu international fishing and cultural festival came into being as a political entity on the 27th August 1991.

It was carved out of the former Sokoto State with its headquarters in Birni-Kebbi, tucked between the largely and landscape of Niger-republic to the west and Sokoto, Zamfara and Niger-State to the north, east and south respectively.kebbi state spreads over a vast expanse of sahel vegetation of approximately 36.229 square kilometers representing 3.9% of the total land area of Nigeria and located between latitude 100 8N and 130 is N, longitude 3030 E and 6002’ E

In this wonderfully endowed land, lives a population of 2, 766, 504 paroled people enamourned by a long winding history inspired by memories of spectacular accomplishment at present, the state is made up of fair emirates (Gwandu, Argungu, Yauri and Zuru) which are further divided into 21 Local Government areas: Birni-Kebbi, Ngaski Yaun, Sakabo, Danko-Wasagu, Zuru, Koko Besse, Dandi, Suru, Maiyama, Jega, Bunza, Bagudo, Arewa, Gwamdo Argungu, Aliero, Fakari, Shanga and Kalgo. Due to its geographical location, Kebbi State provides two of Nigeria’s gateways to the west African sub-region.

This unique position enhances cross border Socio-economic activities between the communities of the State has delivered enthnic groups the dominant among which are Hausa, Fulani, Kabama, Dakar, Karis Gungawa e.t.c the distribution of theses enthnic groups shows that the Gungawa are foundation Yauri Local Government.

The Gungawa tribe is located in Yauri Local Government area of Kebbi-State, we have Hun-Saare and lopa languages both spoken in yauri Local Government.Yauri Local Government has an estimated population of females and males. Females (36, 709) males (38, 209) total population is 74, 916. they can only be found in Yauri Local Government, they have another name they call themselves “uresha’ this name is only used by the nature speakers.

There are diverse of histories that has been said about the descendants or ancestor of the Gungawa or baresha people which will be discussed later Gungawa is an adopted name for the Bareshe people by their Hausa neighbours which means Island dwellers because they were surrounded by water, this description by the Hausa tend to show their geographical area. Among themselves they were known as Tsureja, Yaurawa or Bareshe people.

The name of the language are commonly called Gunganchi, Gunga Tsureshe, Tsureya, their land is called ‘reshe’ or Gungun. The Gungawa people are found mostly in the northern part of Niger State and around Islands in extreme Sokoto State a few of them were also in Kotangora area and a recent finding also affirmed that they were in Borgu Local Government and part of Kaunama Local government in Kwara State. This area speaks of the corrupt forms of Gunganchi language because of the distance to their origin for a long time.

The tribe Gungawa can be found in some part of the northern Nigeria.for example in Southern Kebbi State, Yauri Local Government, Western Niger State  Borgu Local Government area. They can be found as well along river banks of Niger State (North of Bussa). The Gungawa people are original inhabitants of Yauri according to Muaza Baguda a native speaker of the town. A descendent of a warrior called Kisira or Kachin who allied himself with the Hausa soliders to gain territory in the extreme North who eventuallty settled with his co-fighters in present Yauri town.

Another history was traced to Songay warriors, who came from Mali to seek territorial control and their eventual settlement to Yauri and part of Lopa and Lury (Gungawa neighboring areas). According to Malafiya a native of Gungawa from Rekubolo area of Yauri believes that the reshe (Gungawa) people came from kabuwa that they were hunters from Kastina State, he further explained that some says that they are from Shagana, Kambari, Kabbawa or Sarkawa, DukKawa etc from this histories the actual place of origin is not clear end it remains debatable among the speakers, however, the Gunganchi language has a close relatedness with Lopa and laru people whose lexical items both share noun class and affixes.

1.1.1  Present Gunganchi

          The Gungawa called themselves Bareshe and their languages tsureshe During the british regime, the status of Yauri as an emirate and of Yelwa as the seat of the emir of Yauri were confirmed. Both Yauri and Yelwa have become Hausarized as a result of contact with the Hausa a people. The British created on emirate because of the multi-ethnicity Yauri

          However, the Gungu district of Yauri Local Government is now the centre of the Gungawa population the Gungawa lives in islets and shares of the niger above Bussa until the creation of lake Kanji in 1974 which disrupted their settlement and living outside Kebbi-State. The Gungawa people are about 40 to 60 Thousand in population (1993). According to agmalafia about 35% lives outside Yauri Local Government, in Kebbi State 60% lives in Yauri town 9% in kotangora Bussa and Borgu Local Government respectively and 1% in Kiama Local Government area in Kwara State.

          The population of the speakers in Yauri are referred to in Hausa as Yaurawa or Reshewa (1900). According to queen Amina of Zaria called them Yaurawa but generally they are called Gungawa among the Gungawa in diaspora.They sometimes call themselves Basreshe (plural) uresha (singular). Those that lives in riverside fields of onions and for the in canoe building and fishing along the Niger are called Sorko or Soroko they may have been related to the Baro of Mali, a Western made group who were professional fishermen, however, Soroko in Niger State now means professional fishermen with a phonological change of name Sorogo.

1.2     Socio-Linguistic Profile of The Gunganchi Tribe

          Every community has its way of life the way people eat, what they wear, their mode of marriage, e.t.c differ in Yauri societies. The Gunganchi people; just like every community have their district culture and tradition Gunganchi is a language spoken as a mother tongue in Yaun Local Government of Kebbi State. It has neighbouring tribes like Hunsaare and Lopa and the host of Hausa and other tribes.

          The Gungawa people live a life similar to the Hausa because of the long time contract with them only in the aspect of occupation they differ. The Bareshe people wear loose rope to relate with friend their market is an exhibition centre were mats canoes are sold. The Gungawa people are highly cultural people this reflects in their greetings, clothing and bodily adornment like heavy tribal marks on the women faces and leg tattooing during wedding ceremony.

1.2.1  Political Administration 

          They had to adopt the emirate system like their nieghbouning Hausa because it is a multi ethnic area consisting of Lopa, Yauri Yelwa, land and people that co-existed with them. The palace of the emir is in yelwa. The British gave the recognition of Yauri emirate Gungu (Island) district of Yauri Local Government is now the center of fisher (Gungawa) population (Hogben 1966:225)

          Succession is not by hereditary, the emirs are appointed (the first emir of yauri is a Gungawaman) the emir must be elderly, famous and respected among the ethnic groups. The emir rule the territory with Local chiefs are called Sariki in area like Gungunseriki, Toro, Banha Zamari, rekubolo, Jalubaba e.t.c

          However, Local Government chairman hold the executive function of the Yauri area new and other Government works are executed by the Kebbi State Government. In Gunganchi Community, they appoint an elderly and respected person as king, they come together and turban him with white and they take a local drink called “burukutu’ which is made from millet or Guinea com.    

  1. Clothing

Before, the present day of westernization and civilization, the Gunganchi people clothed themselves with animal’s skin. The animal skin is used to sew different styles, the made skirts, shirts, trousers etc. they even went to an extent of carrying their young ones with animal skin for instance they use the animal skin to tie their babies at the back. But now they normally put on clothes, their men puts on barbariga’ while the women tie wrappers.


          Presently, there are two kinds of marriage practices in Gunganchi land religion marriage (Islamic wedding and traditional wedding) but in the older days, it was basically Islam. Gunganchi people practice both the monogamous and the polygamous forms of marriage. If someone gives birth to a baby girl a man visiting the birth place can claim the girl that he is interested, so when she grows up the man and his family/parents will farm for her parents will do every thing to please them.

          Moreover, the boy will go along with Guninea corn but no bride-price is needed but they weren’t allowed to marry more than two wives then. The girl might be bethroted to the boy/man at any age. During the wedding both couples will put on animal skin but now they normally put on babanriga while the bride will tie wrappers.

  1. Ceremonies 

The Gunganchi like most African societies have quite a number of ceremonies and invitations.

A child naming ceremony is done on the seventh day after birth; the circumcision is done when the child is 10years above. During the naming ceremony Rice food called “lipia” is served and corn food. In Gunganchi community only few amount of circumcised men/boys are found.

The Burial ceremony in Gunganci is a hall mark if a man dies abnormally, he will be buried naked on bare ground covered with leaves and the oracle will be consulted, if they find out the person was killed on the day of the burial, they will do the incantation to invoke the spirit of the dead to revenge his/her death, the person involved will eventually be killed by the victim’s spirit. The corpse of both young/elders are buried the same way.

They celebrate a number of festivals, “idembe and anipo” respectively. During the festivals animal blood like goat or any bush meat is used. They sacrifice it to their higher god named ‘Ijigo’The festival is called the millet festival. It is determined by immediately harvest of crops. These festivals bring the Gunganchi speaking community together.

  1. Education

Before the advents of western education the Gunganchi people have a way of teaching moralities respect and skills within their communities. The education of their children of utmost importance because they believe an uneducated mind will definitely die an ignorant and will be problematic to himself and the community in general. They thereby teach and impact moral knowledge to their children right form birth and as they grow they set them on skills training.

The western education was embraced by the Gunganchi people and they emphasis that both male and female should be given equal right to education, they have schools, they built the schools the way their houses are built.



  1. Housing

The factors determing the building of houses in Gunganchi land are war and farming factor. The Gunganchi people used to live in huts. The major building structure is the hay and the mud buildings those using mud for their building are the civilized among them. Not withstanding in the recent time, they are still using mud in building their house.

  1. Occupation

The Gunganchi people are dominantly formers and pre-dominantly fisher-men, they practice both subsistence and commercial form of farming but they are major on cultivation of land and growing of crops for the sustainability of their house hold. They also engage themselves on fishing using a fishing cage called suru but now they have started using the cutlass e.t.c they farm and fish depending on the season.

  1. Genetic Classification Of Gunganchi Language

Genetic classification of language is based on the assumptions that languages originated from a common ancestor. The essence of the genetic classification of Gunganchi language and show its relationship to other languages especially Africa languages.

  1. Scope and Organisation of Study

This researcher is an attempt to describe aspects of the syntax of Gunganhi language and it is limited to the question formation aspect of the language chapter one of work gives the general background to the study; discusses the historical background and socio-linguistic profile of Gunganchi people, as well as the genetic classification of Gunganchi language. The chapter also discusses on the scope and origination of the work, the theoretical framework adopted for the study, method of data collection and data analysis and brief review of the chosen framework for the analysis of the data.

Chapter two of the research presents a phonological over-view of Gunganchi language and the basic syntactic concept like; phrase structure rules, as well as Gunganchi sentence types.

Chapter three focuses on the question formation in Gunganchi language, while chapter four addresses transformation processes like; focus construction, refletivization, realization e.t.c.

Chapter five is the summary and conclusion of the work

  1. Theorectical Framework          

The syntactic theory applied for this study is the Government and Binding theory (GB) syntactic theory. This theory was initially developed by Chomsky (1981). This theory is in a sense, the immediate descendent of transformational grammar infact one feature of Government and Binding theory that distinguishes it from other theories is that, it makes use of transformational operation of the ideas of Government and binding theory either after or in same cases turn around completely their apparent counterparts in earlier theories like transformation grammar (sell 1985:19)

Government and Binding theory, which is other wise known as principles and parameters theory is a modular deductive theory of grammar, which posits multiple levels of representation related by the transformational rule called moved alpha (Chomsky 1987). The application of move-alpha is constrained by the interactions of various principles and parameters or modules, theses modules are other wise known as sub-theories of (GB syntax)

Government and Binding theory is an interlocking arrangement of sub-theories which interact in many different ways in the analysis of human languages proponent of G.B (Government and Binding) often maintain that there is no such thing as rules of language but only the principles and parameters, whose values may vary from are language to the other do exist with specified limits.

  1. Data Collection and Data Analysis

Our means of data collection in the work was via the Ibadan 400 word list of basic items and the use of frame techniques. The assistance of language helpers or informants was sought and that made air data collection less difficult.

The method of data collection was contact method or informant method, the informants are multi-lingual, as they speak their native language; Gunganchi fluently and also speaks English, Hausa, Pidgin, Gwandu respectively. The Ibadan 400 word list of basic items and some basic phrases, clause and sentence were used to elicit information from our informants and their responses were tape recorded and transcribed. Below are same data on my informants.


Name:                                       Musazu Abagudu

Occupation:                                       Soldering

Age:                                          27yeras

Sex:                                          Male

No of Years Spent:                  23years 

Name:                                       Mr. Nasiru Ibraim 

Occupation:                                        Driving

Age:                                          29yeras

Sex:                                          Male

No of Years Spent:                  26years

  1. Brief Review of The Chosen Frame Work 

There have been various approaches to the language of the people. There was the traditional approach which was based on the theoretical assumptions of traditional grammar according to Pearson;

          Traditional grammar is a model developed originally for Greek, later adopted to Latin and subsequently applied to other European language that were quite similar in form to Latin (Pearson, 1997: 16) contributions of traditional grammar to modern linguistics have been much and also are it’s weakness.

          The weakness includes perceptiveness and the fact it focus on the outward structure of language thereby emphasizing the structure of language the difference of structures, rather than their similarities. All theses criticisms led to the rise of competing approaches to language analysis.

          There was also the structural approach, it is a twentieth century approach to language study, which stresses the synchronic analysis (the analysis of the language of a particular linguistics group at a particular period) of individual language in term of the characteristic of each language (Pearson 1977:71). The approach emerged as a result of dissastification with the traditional approach. After the structural approach came the systemic approach by Halliday. The core concept of this theory is that there are fair fundamental categories: UNIT, STRUCTURE, CLASS AND SYSTEM, also there is the concept of “scale”. This is used to explain the relation of the categories of grammar i.e unit, structure, class and systems. Then, the phrase structure which analysis utterance according to syntactic constituents. After this came the transformational generative grammar.

          This theory was superceeded by the model first known as ASPECTS after Chomsky’s 1965 book “Aspects of the theory of syntax” later called the standard theory; this was destructive for it’s recognition of deep and surface theory (EST) which refined the type of rules that were employed.

          This in turn developed into the Government and Binding (G. B) model (Chomsky 1981a) which introduced the concepts of principle and parameters. It was presented most readable in knowledge of language (Chomsky 1981a). Development has not stopped; Chomsky’s writings such as Chomsky (1993) and Chomsky (1995b) are starting to put together major revision of the theory known as the minimalist programme.

          The main frame work used in this research is the Government and Binding theory, Government and Binding theory is an off shoot of traditional or classical grammar (Sanusi, 1966:19)

          Lamidi (2000:59) is of the opinion that Government and Binding theory is a more advanced theory of universal grammar, and is otherwise known as principle and parameters theory. The theory is named after Chomsky’s book, lectures on Government and Binding (1981)

          As explain by Sanusi (1996:21), GB syntax is a modular deductive theory of universal grammar which posits multiple levels of representation related by transformational rules, Move– Alpha is constrained by the interaction of various principles which act as conditions on possible representation.

          Move &, the concept of movement theory within the framework of G-B theory is considered as the major replacement for all the existing transformations under the old transformational generative grammar (779). G-B theory is otherwise known as principle and parameter theory (pp7) was developed in 1981 by the father of transformational Grammar, Noam Chomsky through his popular book titled “lectures on Government and Binding theory”

          In this theory transformations like focus constructions, raising, question formation, extra position negation, passivization, affix hopping, equi-NP, deletion adjunction e.t.c are considered is case of movement transformation which is technically referred to as move-alpha. Therefore unlike T.G, G-B theory is considered as a modular deductive theory of grammar the theory in its inter-locking modular form, consists of seven modular of grammar.

(1) X – bar Theory  

(2) Case Theory

(3) Theta Theory

(4) Binding Theory

(5) Bouncing Theory

(6) Government Theory

(7) Control Theory

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