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A SYNTACTIC ANALYSIS OF QUESTION FORMATION IN ITU MBON USO
Grammar, according to Chomsky (1957) consists of interacting levels of analysis which include phonology, Morphology,semanticsand syntax. This work is undertaken mainly at the level of syntax.
Syntax has been defined by various scholars to fit into their specific research and grammatical. The researcher of this work however intends to consider syntax as defined by Essien (1990) which according to him:
…. Examines the component parts or constitutes of sentences of a language and the inter-relatedness of these constituents as well as consisting of various phenomena pertaining to the form and organization of sentences in a language; the words of the language, the order in which they occur or must occur and their interdependence that produce well formed and meaning sentences constitute the matter of syntax.
Questions are sentences or statements that are intended to find out ‘when is the action taking place, what is the action, which is the action, why is the action, where the action takes place, who is the actor, whose is the action, to whom is the action directed and to which extent’. In a more technical sense of the word, questions are sentences or statements that are interrogative in nature (Radford. 1981; Essien 1990; Haegeman 1994)
1.1 ItuMbonUso and its speakers
ItuMbonUso is used in different ways to refer to the people living in ItuMbonUso tribe and the language spoken by the people. ItuMbonUso is a cultural and ethnic group which is located on the northern part of INI local government of AkwaIbom state.
Geographically, they share a common boundary with Bende L.G.A of Abia state. They claim to be descendants of Okobo; an ethnic subgroup in AkwaIbom. ItuMbonUso language is yet to attain a status of a written language since it doesn't have a written orthography. According to Eta Akwa of ItuMbonUso,"a memorandum On the custom and tradition of ituMbonUso clan",written by NtoengUdoEffiongAkpan "Osungr ", there is an affinity between ItuMbonUso and Efik language. A group among the people are of the opinion that the name itumbonuso refer to the people where as the language is called NKARI. However, since this hypothesis has not been verified through systematic studies based on linguistics principles,this research work still rest in the most recent assertion regarding the status of ItuMbonUso language with respect to the language.
This study focuses on the syntactic analysis of interrogative structures in ItuMbonUso language using some aspects of Government and Binding theory.
1.3 Linguistic situation of ItuMbonUso
ItuMbonUso is a central cross language and its closer to Nkari than it is to Ibibio as the diagram below shows. These languages vary as a result of different personal language group contacts and different social situations the migrating people found them. Noah (1980;7) attributes these dialectal differences between the various Ibibio group of languages to the search for more land for cultivation. Thisbrings about unidirectional mutual intelligibility among speakers of this language.
Fig1. A mini classification of lower cross Languages
NEW BENUE CONGO
EASTERN BENUE CONGO
CENTRAL DELTA OGONI LOWER CROSS UPPER CROSS
IKO IBENO CC ORO OKOBO EBUGHU ILUE ENWANG USAHDET
ITU MBON USOEKID ETEBI ENWANG UDA
1.4 Statement of research problem
Question in some natural languages has been ignored by speakers, non-native speakers, including linguists who have neglected this symbols used in interrogating and requesting in our everyday life, although people use it daily and claim to know or are well knowledgeable in question system of their language, little or no written research work exist in ItuMbonUso which dealt with analysis of question in ItuMbonUso language.
Researchers such as Willie Willie (2013), OgbonnaAnyawu (2012) and Unyime Udoh (2015), have researched and studied on the topic “Questions”, especially on the aspect of question formation processes. However adequate emphasis has not been placed on the syntactic analysis of question using government binding theory and the transformational processes used in deriving various types of questions in ItuMbonUso language