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 Format: MS WORD ::   Chapters: 1 - 5 ::   Pages: 68 ::   Attributes: Table of content  ::   499 people found this useful

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This research work is on the aspect of the syntax of Kaninkon Language spoken in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State. By syntax, we mean the aspect of language which deals with how words are put together to form sentences and how such sentences are interpreted in natural languages.

In this chapter, we will be discussing the historical background of the language, sociocultural profile under which we shall discuss the occupation, religion, marriage, festival and the language status as well as the genetic classification of the language. The research methodology used is the frame technique, while government and binding theory is used to analyze Kaninkon verb phrase.


According to oral history by his “Royal Highness Malam Bako Galadima” a native speaker of Kaninkon language, the Kaninkon people are among the indigenous tribes of Jema’a Local Government and Kafanchan Area in particular. They are indigenous to the area they occupy. The area they occupy traditionally has borders with Kagoro to the North East, Baiju to the North, Kagoma to the West, Numana and Mada to the South. They are brothers with Nindem and Kanufi who are also to the South East.

Oral tradition indicates that the Kaninkon people came to their present abode from Katsina, this appears to be the Katsina of Benue area (Katsina -alla). They may probably descend from Kaita family in the present day of Katsina State. This might have been made known from oral history passed down from their forefathers.

The initial migration involved many clans but probably due to interclan conflicts, only two clans constitute the Kaninkon. These are Turan to the South and Ngbechio to the North. Turan the ancestor of the southern clan had two wives, who bore him three (3) sons. One of the wives had two sons while the other had only one. Kyung was the older of the two sons from one of the wives, Ngarchem (Gerti) was his younger brother. The only son to the other wife was Kper (Amere).

The Kyung people were the first in Kaninkon land to have introduce the Hausa type of rulership by Shabiri Ngom. This was during the reign of Kyop – Ngban – Nikyop Ba’aro Yajod. He was said to have sold out one of his twin daughters to the Hausa ruling house to be crowned as the first Tum (i.e. ruler) of Kyung (Bakin Kogi). Later in about 1810 (before recorded history) after he had been crowned the first Tum, the daughter by name, Heidiza placed a curse on the family of Shabiri. She said the family will never give birth to twins. She was not happy with the treatment she met, it is said that her father’s action was later cleansed by the elders of the clan.

The Kaninkon did not lived in isolation but with other neighbours namely: Ningom, Numana, Ninzam, Mada, Kagoma, Kagoro, Ayu, Jaba, Sanga and Bajju. Indeed, when the British administration arrived, it refused to classify Ningom and Numana as different tribes but as clans of the same tribe with the Kaninkon. This classification resulted from the similarities in culture, language and other anthropological parameters. Some of these include; counting from one to twelve instead of one to ten, the same language, same dance, settlement patterns, same tribal marks and the culture in general. The slight different in language spoken might be due to geographic spread and migration.

It is not so difficult to identify a Kaninkon man when he is conversing or discussing with his kinsmen or some other persons. They also speak the dialect to their children at home.


Its is believed that every society has its own way of life, this is a wide variation from culture to culture of values and norms of which Kaninkon also has.


Farming was the major economic system of Kyung people (Kaninkon). Traditional agriculturist depend not only on labour but also the assistants of kinsmen and neighbours to clear large farms plough, plant and harvest them. The Kyung traditional agriculturist involve the division of labour according to sex and age, it involve the men and women. The division of labour among the Kyung people shows that men did the work that require more physical exercise that has to do with direct production and consumption, women assisted by the way of cooking and other less tedious work.

The production of Kyung people were mainly food crops, the principal crops are guinea corn, aki, cocoa yam. Other minor crops cultivated along side the principal crops were maize, wini seed, coconut, cassava and pupkins.


In the year 1932, Christianity came into the land and with the advent of Christianity, traditional religions beliefs give way and at the moment there are two religions: Christianity and Islam. Islam is restricted to only one district -(Dangoma District), the rest of the chiefdom can be said to be about ninety percent Christians. Only few people still practice traditional religion but they are not recognized in the society.

Christianity got its first convert in Kaninkon land in the year 1932. The Late Pastor Tete became the first Christian convert on 8th May 1932 and was baptized on the 4th October 1934. In the same year three other Kaninkon people from Ung - fan became Christians they were Mang Kagoro (Makama Ung Fari), Garba Shuri and Eperi. Their convert was to Sudan interior mission (Sim) how Evangelical Church of West Africa (E.C.W.A), as a result of this Kaninkon Chiefdom is now predominantly E.C.W.A.




On the festivities, the major ones use to be the celebration of the anniversary of the death of an old person, marriage and initiation. While marriage could take place at any time most festivities were reserved for the dry season especially for the month of March to early May. Thus, if an old person died in the raining season, there would be a normal drumming and little celebration but the proper celebration would be shifted to the dry season.

There was a big festivity known as “DUNG”, when ever there was DUNG which is not every year but occasionally it could take place in “Turan” the Southern part of Kaninkon or “Ngbechio” the Northern part of Kaninkon. There was no celebration like naming ceremony and like which are currently influenced by Christianity.


On marriage, baby girls could be bethroded right from birth, that is, if a girl was born in a family, a father from another family could say “this girl will be a wife to my son” and like joke if interest continued this could eventually happen and did happen a lot. The Kaninkon people does not marry to a stranger rather they marry themselves.

The celebration of marriage only takes place once in a while, if a maiden refuses to celebrate her marriage at time of marriage celebration she will have to wait till another time that marriage are been celebrated in the land.


Kaninkon language is spoken in the Northern and Southern part of Nigeria. According to “His Royal Highness Mallam Bako Galadima” a native speaker of Kaninkon language, gave the population of Kaninkon speakers at about sixty thousand (60,000) and it is spoken in Kaduna and Katsina State. The alternative name for the language is Nikyob.


Murrit Ruhlen (1987:1) state that “the idea that groups of languages that share certain systemic resemblances have inherited those similarities from a common origin is the basis for genetic classification”.

A genetic classification is a sub grouping of all relevant languages into genetic nodes (groups of languages in each of which one language is more closely related to the other in that group than to any language outside the group).

A genetic classification thus makes two statements; first, it affirms that certain languages are infact related to each other (i.e. share a common ancestor).


The research work describes the aspect of Kaninkon verb phrase. It examines the structure of verb phrase in Kaninkon language and the transformation process involving the structure of verb phrase. These process and excemplications are presented and analyzed using the model known as the Government and Binding theory.

Five chapters are proposed for this research essay. Chapter one present the introductory parts of the research work dealing mainly with sociocultural profile of Kaninkon language. It also presents the research methodology adopted in the project. Chapter two presents a brief review of the sounds, tones and syllable inventory of the Kaninkon language. This chapter discussed the basic syntactic concepts that are common to this area of study.

Chapter three focuses on the Kaninkon verb phrase which is the focus of this research work. Chapter four described the transformation process involving verb phrase in Kaninkon language. Chapter five which is the concluding part of this research work summarizes the entire work and presents recommendations.



Samarin (1967:43) says “the kind of corpus a field researcher obtains is determined by the purpose and the techniques he adopts in data collection. The focus of this research work is largely and primarily for language description”.

The two possible methods of data collection, i.e. “the informant method and the introspective method” the informant or contact method is adopted in this research in which the native speaker serves as a source of information as well as the elevator of all the utterances given to him by the investigator.

The two informants or language helpers that kindly participated in the development of this research work are:  “Mrs. Nicholas and Mallam Bako Galadima”. Mrs. Nicholas is a native speaker of Kaninkon language spoken in Kaduna State, she is thirty three years old (33), and Mallam Bako Galadima who is also a native speaker of the language is fifty five years old. He helped in given information about the sociocultural profile of the language.

The work list (Ibadan 400 wordlist) is equally utilized in this research work. The list is used to collect a number of words for verification and analysis in this research work.

The frame technique forms a crucial part of this research work since it is the domain of syntax. Syntax as a level of linguistics does not deals with words in isolation but with the mechanism of producing a grammatically acceptable sentence. To this end, the use of frame technique involves writing sample sentences and phrases which the informants translate. The importance of “frame techniques” lies in the fact that it makes it easier for a field researcher to determine the actual underlying nature of a given constituent as well as the possible morphological or syntactic context in which such a word or constituent can occur within a grammatical sentence. For example, the morphological or syntactic component of “man” in English language can be derived if the word is used in different syntactic position; subject, object, direct object, indirect object etc.


Data analysis is based on the forms produced by native speaker and it is implemented in order to discover what obtains in the language under study.

The data in this research work will be analyzed using the “Government and Binding” model i.e. the different sub-theories of GB like x – bar theory (crucial for the projection of phrasal categories from lexical categories) and movement theory (used for the exemplication of verbal movement from one place to another).


Many theories have been provided for analyzing language data in order to present a systematic account (or descriptive) of the linguistic knowledge or competence a native speaker of a language possesses. Such theories are used as theoretical frame work or methodological tools for analyzing language data. They include: Traditional Grammar, Structural or Taxonomic Grammar, Systemic Grammar, Transformational Generative grammar and Government and Binding Theory.


Government and Binding theory was introduced by Chomsky (1981). The model takes its name from two of its sub-theories. Binding deals with conditions that are formally related or bind certain contents of a sentence and Government deals with the structure contents, within which these Binding relationship obtain, the approach is also described by the phrase principles and parameter theories.

GB – theory has two levels of syntactic structure, the D - structure and S - structure. At the level of deep structure all elements are in their original location while at surface structure, elements have been moved. These two levels of representation are mapped through the rule, Move Alpha (Move - a).

As mentioned earlier, these sub – theories interplay and dictate what can be moved from where (i.e. extraction site) and to where (i.e. landing site). The module account for ungrammaticality resulting from violation of rules and conditions. These modules includes: X - bar theory, theta theory, case theory, Government theory, Binding theory, Bounding theory and control theory.

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