1.0. General Background
introduces the language of study, the people speaking the language and their
geographical location. It introduces us to the background of the speakers of
the language which includes their culture and beliefs.
Also, a brief
explanation of the scope of the study, Method of Data Collection, Genetic
Classification and the Theoretical framework used in carrying out the research
on the language are discussed.
This research is
aimed at describing the Bura Negation. Bura is a language Spoken in two (2)
local government areas in Borno State. The two local governments’ areas are Biu
and Shani respectively. The Bura people are about 250,000 in population.
1.1. Historical Background
According to oral
history, Bura speakers were believed to had their origin from the Northern part
of Nigeria in Borno State. The State shares border with Niger Republic, Chad
Republic and Cameroon Republic and Common boundaries with Adamawa, Gombe and
The Bura lived north
of Biu before being attacked by Yamta – ra – wala around 16th Century. The few
people Yemta brought with him intermarried with the Bura and built up the Biu
dynasty into a kingdom. Those descended from Yemta’s group were called Pabir
(Babur), this is why Pabir and Bura differ considerably in culture and
Until today, the
Pabir are the ruling class among the Bura, and all the Bura villages pay
tribute to the Emir of Biu. The Bura still resent the Pabir.
Apart from Bura they
also speak Hausa, Chibok and Marghi and also few of Fulflde. The Bura speakers
are approximately over 250,000. The Pabir and Bura are the major tribes in Biu
and Shani Local Government Areas of Borno State.
The Map of Bura
Communities is shown below:
Socio- cultural Profile
This center on the
socio-cultural background of Bura people in terms of their occupation,
Religion, festivals and ceremonies. The following information the
socio-cultural profile of Bura people was collected through oral source.
1.2.1 Marriage System
Bura has a way of
marriage policy when a female child is born, a suitor may propose by throwing a
leafy branch of a certain tree into the mother’s hut. 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 able age, he organizes his friends
to capture her and bring her to his house. Then the remaining part of the bride
price is settled, which is not a insists amount and arrangements for the
marriage ceremony are concluded.
Also, thing that are normally given in the ceremony is
basically kolanut, salt and a white linen. 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.
As a sign of respect,
a man does not eat with his parents-in –law.
The only festival
held in Bura is the maize harvest festival and is performed before fresh corn
can be eaten. Bura man who has lost a father or mother selects three heads of
corn, usually from his first fruits, dresses it carefully and puts it on a tray
which he sets by his head at night.
Originally the Bura
had no central Government. Now the Emir of Biu appoints the districts head
(Ajia) who then approve the appointments of the village heads (Lawans).Today
both these titles belong to certain families. The village heads appoint the
ward heads (Bulamas) over small villages and wards of larger ones. Anyone who
has leadership ability can be chosen as a Bulama.
The Bura had their traditional religion before
Islam came around 1920 and Christianity later came in the 1920’s. Today these
three religions can all be found among the Bura. The traditional religion is
called Hyel or Hyel- taku, but Naptu is a personal god who takes cares of
individual. The gods are represented by various objects such as water, stones,
mountains or forests. Most sacrifices to gods are made on Saturday, so it is a
special day, the chief priest is called Mythmaker Haptu
introduced through the missionaries The proportion of Christians is small
compared to the entire population.
Despite the presence of churches in many towns and
villages, lslam is still the predominant religion among the Bura. A rough
estimate of the religious percentages is as follows: – Muslims 78% Christians
20% and Traditional 20%. Many Christians are nominal and many are not free from
The main occupation
of the bura people is farming. Minority of the people are subsidized farmers,
though commercial farming is also practiced. The major crops are maize, guinea
corn, groundnut and rice.
1.2.6 Burial Rites
Bura people celebrate
death, when an old person dies, he or she is buried on the second day when
everyone has gathered in the evening. The corpse of a chief is buried seated,
but other people re laid flat on the floor of the cavity. There is traditional
dancing for seven days after the burial and if the deceased was an important
person, it lasts for 14days.
On one of the
mourning days the Fulnchambwi dance is done. The male dancers jump from the
ground to the roof of the hut of the deceased and back again until the roof is
destroyed. After this the date is fixed for the last mourning or sadaka, which
is held about six (6) months later, but usually during the dry season.
1.3 Genetic Classification
This essence of a
genetic classification of a language is to trace the origin of the language and
show it relationship with the other language.
Bura language belong
to the Afro-Asiatic Family which is shown by the family tree below
Source “Comrie, B.
1.4 Scope and Organization of the Body
The main objective of
this project is to study in details the type of negation strategies that exist
in Bura language. Negation in Bura will be an sentence negation, auxiliary
negation, imperative negation and interrogation negation. We shall also study
in respect to transformation processes which involve modifications of
This long easy is
divided into five chapters, the first chapter is the introduction chapter which
contains the general introduction of the research work, the historical
background of the Bura people, social-cultural profile, genetic classification,
collection and analysis of data and the theoretical framework employed.
Chapter Two presents
a phonological review of Bura language and the basic syntactic concepts like
phrase structure rules, basic word order, lexical categories and sentences
types. Chapter Three is on the negation in Bura language, while chapter four
introduces us to transformational processes like focus construction,
relativization. Chapter five summarizes and concludes the work.
1.5 Theoretical Framework
framework to be employed in this research is Government and Binding theory
(GB). GB theory is a model of grammar propounded and developed by Noam Chomsky.
This is done with the aim of covering Universal Grammar (UG) that is, the
system or principles, conditions and rule that are elements or properties of
all human languages.
In essence, negation
as an aspect of syntax will be analyzed under the GB theoretical framework.
1.6 Data Collection
The method of data
collection is contact method or informant method. We collected linguistic data
for this study by making use of language informants who are native speaker of
Bura language. The data were collected through the use of frame technique and the
Ibadan word list of 400 basic items. Below are pieces of information about the
1. NAME: Ezekiel Simon Shelai
NO OF YEARS SPENT IN
SPOKEN: English, Hausa and Chibok.
2. NAME: Mr. Bashir
NUMBER OF YEARS SPENT
IN BURA: 21 years
SPOKEN: English and Kanuri
1.7 Data Analysis
To ensure an
efficient data analysis in this research, all data received are accurately
transcribed. The morphemes that made up the phrases and sentences are also
carefully glossed. The data collected are worked upon according to how the
native speakers use it without imposing any extraneous rules or norm of
1.8 Review of the Chosen
The framework adopted
in research is the Government and Binding (GB) theory. This is the theory that
captures the similarities which exists between different categories of lexical
phrases by assigning the same structure to them rather than having different
phrase structure rules for VPs, NPs etc
Binding theory deals with transformation. According to Radford (1988:419),
transformation is the rule that deal with the act of changing the structure of
one sentences to another structure through the concept of movement known as
move alpha (move-α). This theory (GB) was developed to correct the lapses in
Transformational Generative Grammar.
Cook (1988: 66), the
theory of Government and Binding is an interlocking arrangement of principles
and sub theories which interact in many different ways.
The Modular Theory of
Sells (1985: 25) and
cook (1988: 33).
In the diagram above,
no part can be considered in isolation from the rest. Government and Binding
theory posit seven sub-theories of theory of grammar. The structures generated
at various levels are constrained by a set of theories, which define the kind of
relationship possible within a grammar.
These sub-theories of
Government and Binding theory are given below:
i. X- Bar Theory
Theta (θ) Theory