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EVALUATION OF ITU MBON USO KINSHIP TERMS USING FRAME SEMANTICS
CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Man does not live alone in the society. From birth till death, he is surrounded by a number of people. Some of these people are his relatives, some are friends, and some are neighbours while all others are strangers and unknown to him. He is bound to all those people who are related to him either on the basis of blood or marriage. The relations based on blood or marriage may be close or distant. In an article shared by Shah (2007), the author opines that “the bond of blood or marriage which binds people together in group is called kinship”. Kinship is therefore a universal human phenomenon that takes highly variable cultural forms. It has been explored and analysed by many scholars, however, in ways quite removed from any popular understanding of what “being kin” might mean.
According to Murphy (2001) “kinship is a relationship based on the culturally recognized connection between parents and children (and extended to siblings and through parents to more distant relatives)”. As observed by () the original ties of kinship, which is believed to be invariably individual, later on develop, multiply and become largely communal. So that, at the end, the individual finds himself the centre of a complex system of multiple ties. This however, births the need for these Kin terms (multiples ties) to be clearly designated for easy recognition/understanding. Now, Kinship terms are those terms which are used in designating kin of various types. Kin terms, as defined by Schwimmer (1998) constitute a culture's kinship vocabulary, a catalogue of the names that are assigned to relatives, e.g., father, mother, uncle, grandson etc. Different societies of course use different labels to designate their kin; "uncle" is "oncle" in French, "tio" in Spanish etc.
Satarupa (2010) notes that kinship terminology is a cultural terminology that comprises words that describe familiar relationships; from the definitions above, it is clear that kinship terms describe people who have a kin relation, therefore, for my working definition, I will define kinship terms as words that various language communities employ in addressing and referring to people who are related by blood, by adoption and through marriage.
As Schneider puts it, “knowledge is discovered, not invented “, and it “comes when the “facts” of nature which are hidden from us mostly, are finally revealed “. It is however hoped that, the unearthed facts of kinship terminologies in ItuMbonUso that would be discovered and properly documented in this project will be of enormous help to linguists; sociologists, anthropologists, and ethnographers etc. This study analysis ItuMbonUso kinship terms in the light of Frame Semantics. The focus of this study is solely on how ItuMbonUso kinship terms are distinguished.
In this introductory chapter, we will shade light on the following areas: the historical background of ItuMbonUso people, their cultural heritage as well as the background information of ItuMbonUso language.
1.2 Background Information
1.2.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF ITU MBONUSO PEOPLE
The term “ItuMbonUso is used to identify a people (ItuMbonUso) and their language. According to the Clan Head of ItuMbonUso, HRH, NtoongUdoEffiongAkpan, the population of the people is about One Hundred Thousand (100,000). However, the 1991 population estimate puts it at 50,000.
ItuMbonUso occupies 45square kilometers in the Northern axis of AkwaIbom State. It is an island surrounded by streams and rivers. The people are bounded by ItuNta, InyanAwuwa (Anwuwa River) on the North West they are bounded by the Ntanaku and Ebo River to the east, they are bounded by Abam in Abia State and so on the South, they are bounded by the Enyong Greek.
Initially, the community was made up of three groups of Ayama, Mbuukwa and Abikod. These thre groups were sub-divided into four clans which now included MbadObomg consisting of Oku group of villages, Ayama consisting of Anaamung group of villages, ObodNdom, group of villages and IkotNta group of villages. UbedNtung Clan consists of NkyanaEbua, IkotEssien, Mkpuku, Ikprom group of villages while the clan which has been transferred into Abia State is “Mbukwa”.
1.2.2 Origin of the People
It has been difficult to trace the origin of ItuMbonUso people and the period they started living where they are now due to the absence of reliable historical sources (written records). Various accounts have been given by different ItuMbonUso people. One of such accounts is the one given by one of the members of the ItuMbonUso Traditional Rulers Council, Chief EsiNsuabia. According to him, the ItuMbonUso people started existing right from the “earliest of time” prior to the legendary period of the “UtibeIsim” (People with tails, who were believed to have come from “Adai” (that is, who to knows where).
Another source has it that ItuMbonUso people oculd be tarced to a man called Oyo, who settle at “Ibom’ in Arochukwu. He married IyaEnokon (an Igbo woman) and they had a child whom they called Iboyo. It was Iboyo founded Mbukwa which is believed to be the first village in ItuMbonUso. Iboyo also had a son who was called AkpanIboyo, and he founded another village called Anaamung. This confirms the belief of the ItuMbonUso people that they were among the earliest founders of “Ibom”, an area now situated in Arochukwu in Abia State.
They were the first settlers in this area. It was during the first Ukwa war that the people had to leave Ibom and scattered for fear of insecurity. This led tothe founding of the present day ItuMbonUso. Some of their kind scattered and founded the present day Ukwa, Ito, Idere, Ibuoro (Iwerre). From Mbukwa, which was the first settlement of ItuMbonUso people, some of them left and founded the present Mbente (Nkari).
One of the sources of confirmed that the area known as Bende that was changed to “BendeUkwa” by the Inokons- the present Bende Local Government Headquarters of Abia State, was ItuMbonUso territory. Also, it was the centre of trade between the Ukwas and the Inokons.
In the sense of Ukpong et al (2001:113), the name Mbebntukwa came as a result of some confrontational questions the Ukwa People used to ask somebody to be sure that the person they met was a kindred and not an enemy. Such questions include: “esimme” (where do you come from?) the person would respond “nisUkwa” (I am from Ukwa)