ANALYZING  THE TENSE AND ASPECTUAL SYSTEM OF ANAANG LANGUAGES, A MEMBER OF THE LOWER CROSS SUB GROUP OF THE NIGER CONGO LANGUAGE SPOKEN IN EIGHT LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN AKWA IBOM STATE


 

CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1       PRELIMINARY REVIEW

According to Ndimele (2007:1) human language is often described as a semiotic system because it entails the use of certain agreed upon symbols or signals to convey meaning from one person to another within a speech community, and communicate

Essien (2003:22) defines language as a system of structural vocal symbols by means of which human beings make meaning and communicate, interact with each other in a given society.

Language, the central tenet of human existence is a development continuum not static. It grows with speakers and expands into various branches. (Micheal & Obot, 2001:1). Growth which we know involves change which is one constant thing in life. Linguistics which deals with the scientific study of language also looks at how changes such as derivation of such words occur. The branch of linguistics which deals with the internal structure o words as the creation of new words from already existing ones is given special attention. This is referred to as morphological process / word formation processes. It is pertinent to know that the word formation processes are as old as language itself.

Language as an innate means of communication consists of grammatical categorises which include: tense, aspect, mood, negation etc. Essien (1990:83) gives a definition of aspect, “aspect is concerned with the various phrases or time components of a situation. Commonly such phrases that may be important to the speaker of a particular language”. Aspect is more or less a time active factor which explains the manner of the verbal action and how it relates to a particular time.

Sidney and Nelson (2009) define aspect “as a grammatical category referring to the way that the time of a situation is viewed by the speaker or writer: the speaker can be indicated by the combination of auxiliary and verb form”.

Lyons (1977:705) defines aspect as a term intended to cover a wide ranch of oppositions in so far as they are grammaticalized into survey of a particular language, opposition based on duration, irritation and completion etc.

In English language, verbs have two aspects:”the perfect aspect and the progressive aspect”. The perfect aspect of a verb combines a form of the auxiliary “have” with the “ed” participle of that verb.  Sidney and Nelson (2009), the auxiliary has two present tense (has, have) and one past form (had) the present perfect of “close” is “has closed” and the past perfect is “had closed”. The following examples were further cited by Essien (2003:12)

  1. I have closed the shop for the day.
  2. The shop has closed for the day.

The present perfect refers to a situation set in some indefinite period that leads to the present. The situation may be a state of affairs that extends to the present.

  1. They have been unhappy for a long time.
  2. I have lived here since last summer.

Or it may be an event or set of event that is viewed as possible recurring

  1. We have discussed your problem
  2. I have phoned him every day since he fell ill.

Essien (2003) defines the past perfect as a situation whereby an event took place in the past. Examples;

  1. We had closed since 3pm
  2. They had gone home before you arrived.

Tense as one of the grammatical categories according to Lyons (1977) is a phenomenon frequently found in the languages of the world, and its operation is language specific. Tense system has to do with the system of linguistic units or elements used in a particular language. In some languages of the world, tense is not attested. Language like Chinese, Dyribal and Burmese are tense less, while majority of the world’s languages see tense as a valid grammatical category.

1.2       HISTORICAL AND LINGUISTIC BACKGROUND OF THE

            ANAANG PEOPLE AND THEIR LANGUAGE.

THE ANAANG PEOPLE

The word ‘Anaang’ according to Micheal & Obot (2001:14) can be used ambivalently to denote an ethnic group as well as the language spoken by this ethnic group.

According to Udoh (1950:83), the Anaang are said to originate from a single tribe or group of villages all situated close to the present distribution. Anaang language is used as a first language by the indigenes of Abak,Ukanafun,Essien Udim, Obot Akara , Ikot Ekpene , Etim Ekpo, Oruk Anam and Ika . it constitutes the second largest ethnic group in Akwa Ibom state after the Ibibios. The people of Anaang measure 1.8 million following 2006 population census result. The Anaang occupies the North western part of Abia state in the North, rivers in the west, the Ibibios in the South, East and north east (Micheal & Obot 2001:7)

Genetically, the Anaang language is a lower-cross language which belongs to the Benue –Congo sub family of the Niger-Congo family (Greenberg’s 1963) as cited in (Micheal & Obot 2001:7).

GENETIC CLASSIFICATION OF ANAANG LANGUAGE

Figure 1:                              

New Benue Congo

 

Eastern Benue Congo

 

 

Bantoid Cross

 

Cross river

 

Delta cross

 

 

 

 

Central Delta                  Ogoni                   Lower cross               Upper cross

 

 

 

Obolo

 

 

 

Iko           Ibino   CLC       Oro      Okobo   Ebughu   Ilue   Enwang      Usaghade

Uda

 

 

ibuoro             Anaang       Ekit

Itumbonuzo   Efik                 Etebi               Efai                 Enwang             Uda

Ito                    Ibibio

Nkari

 

Adapted from Connell (1991) in “The Orthography of Anaang” Language” edited by Itoro Michael and Prof. Johnson Obot.

 

1.3       STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM

A language is said to be developed when all the facts of such a language have been studied and given its prominence. Such development encapsulates the phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics of that language.

Tense and aspect are among the widely studied morpho-syntactic phenomena. Cross linguistically, both phenomena have not been examined in Anaang. This study is aimed at identifying and providing a description of the structures of tense and aspect markers in Anaang.

 

1.4       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objective of this research includes;

  1. To examine the tense system of Anaang
  2. To examine and describe the aspect of anaang
  3. To describe how tense and aspect are marked in Anaang.

 

1.5       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This work will attempt to answer among others the following questions:

  1. How is tense marked in Anaang?
  2. How is aspect marked in Anaang?
  3. If marked, how it is marked and what is involved in marking tense and aspect oppositions in the language?
  4. What is the relationship between tense and aspectual categories in Anaang.

 

1.6       DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This work will be limited to:

  1. The general morpho-syntactic realization of tense and aspect in Anaang

grammar.

  1. How tense and aspect is marked in Anaang

 

1.7       RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

 

1.8       RESEARCH DESIGN

This research design used in this work is descriptive design .This is used because descriptive linguistics involves the collecting of data through elicitation. Such data are used as the basis for identifying and describing (not prescribing) aspects of usage in the language and also provide real life examples of a particular phenomenon.

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