1.0           General Background

1.1              Historical Background

1.2              Social – culture profile

1.3.1           Social- culture practices        Marriage ceremony        Female circumcision          Etu ceremony        Iwon – erok festival        Co-operation        Religion       Secret societies        Education

1.3.2           Socio linguistic profile

1.4             Genetic classification

1.5              Scope and organization of study

1.6              Organization

1.7              Theoretical framework

1.8               Brief review of theatrical framework

1.8.1            X Bar theory        Head parameter        Move alpha

1.8.2          Theta – theory

1.8.3           Binding theory

1.8.4           Government theory

1.8.5           Case theory

1.8.6           Bounding theory

1.8.7          Control theory.


2.0.       Introduction

2.1.       Basic Phonological Concept in Adim

2.1.1.    Adim consonant system

2.1.2.    Adim Vowel system

2.1.3.    Tone inventory

2.1.4.    High tone

2.1.5.    Mid tone

2.1.6.    Low tone

2.1.7.    Contour tone

2.1.8.    Syllable inventory

2.1.9.   Syllable structure

2.2.      Basic syntactic concept in Adim

2.2.1.   Phrase structure rule

2.2.2.   Lexical and phrasal categories in Adim

2.2.3.   Nouns and Noun phrases

2.2.4.   Verbs and verb phrases

2.2.5.   Prepositions and Prepositional phrases

2.2.6.   Adjectives and Adjectival phrases

2.2.7.   Pronouns

2.2.8.   Basic word order in Adim

2.2.9.   Sentence types Simple Sentence Compound Sentence Complex Sentence Declaration Sentence Interrogative Sentence


3.0   Introduction

3.1. Question formation in Adim

3.1.1. WH questions

3.1.2. Yes/No questions

3.1.3. Echo Questions

3.1.4. Rhetorical Question

3.1.5. Tag Questions


4.0. Introduction

4.1. Transformational Process in Adim WH question


5.0. Introduction

5.1. Summery

5.2. Observation

5.3. Recommendation





     General Background

 Adim is a dialect of Agwagune language. The speakers of Adim are known as the Adim people     and reside in Adim community. Adim is located within Egup-Ipa in Biase local Government Area of Cross-River State. Adim is located approximately between latitude 5°N and 6°N and longitude 8°N and 9°The Adim community is a few kilometers away from Akpet and about 111 kilometers North –East from Calabar. The estimated population of Adim people as per 1983 National population census was 16,000 people. Adim is almost mid-way between Calabar and Ikom on the Calabar-Ikom highway. Adim is bounded to the North by Ugep and East by Idomi both in Yakuur Local Government Area. It is also bounded in the West by Abayong group of villages and south by Abini and to the South –West by Agwagune.

As a tropical area, the tropical climate is characterized by heavy rains, high temperature and humidity all the year round.

 1.1         Historic Background

According to Raphael (2005: 2), Adim people migrated from a place called Otum Usa meaning   old settlement. It was situated between Usumutong and former settlements of Ebon Ebijiakara both in Bahumono Clan in the present Abi local government of Cross-River state.

He asserted that a Bahumono man killed one Adim woman and the people of Adim wanted to retaliate. This development brought about a strained relationship between Adim people and Bahumono people. The situation forced the Adim people to flee from Otum-Usa and moved south-ward direction until they presently arrived at their present site and established small settlements.

Some other people believed that the eruption of the fight following the murder of Adim woman was not the reason for their migration from Bahumono, rather they attributed the cause of the fight specifically to the struggle to acquire more land and more fishing ponds. Yet, others claimed that apart from petty quarrelling, other reason for their movement was famine and epidemic. Since the people were always engage in fighting, less emphasis was placed on agriculture, this leading to famine and epidemic. They argue that this type of situation may likely have forced the ancestors of Adim to move away from Bahumono homeland.

Another major proponent of this view is Dr.Ajah Ekpeni Obia who asserted that the name Adim is a corrupt form. He said the word “Arum” was a colonial coinage from “Arumerume” which he claimed was the original name of Adim. He claimed that the people called Arumerume were corpus of five distinct families sharing common history of tribe, migration and unification.

1.3            Socio-Cultural Profile

Socio-cultural profile entails the relationship between the society, culture and language. The socio-cultural activities of the Adim people includes, Iwun-erok  festival ,etu ceremony, secret societies and farming.

1.3.1           Socio-Cultural Practices.                  Marriage Ceremony.

In Adim, the concept of marriage Is well institutionalized as a socio affair. In those days parents made choices of whom their son or daughter should marry. They may have contracted this since childhood of the would-be partners. The first approach was for the parent of the boy to present some token to the parent of the girl. The girl was to be betrothed to the boy, the presentation was done during the new year festival. They may not have reached school age when the contract was made on their behalf. They grew up with this, but if the propose partners have a violent objection to the union it was possible to break up the agreement.

During the period of engagement, the suitor is required  by custom to work once in a while in the farm of his prospective in – laws during farming seasons. The brain behind this was to test his strength and devotion to the intended bride.           Female Circumcision

After the long period of engagement which lasted between three to four years, depending on individuals, the first stage of marriage arrangement have to be performed. In this first stage, the circumcision if the intended bride have to be done. During this process, the girl was put into fattening room called “dong Ugum”. The significance of this was to prepare the girl in order to face the challenges of married life and as an official entry into womanhood.

In girls circumcision, the clitoris was cut off by a female native doctor specialized in circumcision. Circumcision is purely traditional, the aim however was to check waywardness and unfaithfulness in married women.

The process that followed circumcision is fattening room. In fattening room, the girl is robbed with cam wood know as ‘ebot’. After the first two weeks, chalk which is also known as ‘esu’ will be robbed all over her body in order to enhance her beauty and make her look more attractive in the sight of her prospective husband. A girl is required to stay in the fattening room for two months in which she will be made to undergo moral lessons as well as knowledge on home management and family life.           Etu Ceremony

As the clitoris wound gradually get healed and the fattening room wears out, preparation for the traditional marriage rites would commence. Etu customary wedding is therefore the next stage in the traditional marriage process. It was believe in those days that any girl who did not go through the Etu customary rite would be barren for life. With the fear of this believe instilled in the mind of the parents, it becomes inevitable that the Etu ceremony is a matter of great necessity.        Iwun- Erok festival

The Iwun – Erok festival which is also known as yam festival is celebrated annually, precisely in       the month of August. It is celebrated to give thanks to the ancestors of the land for another fruitful    harvest year.               Occupation

Adim community is predominantly agricultural. This is influenced by the high soil fertility and good climate condition. Crops such as yam, cassava, cocoyam, maize, rice, oil palm and plantain are major agricultural product of Adim. Apart from farming, the people also practice other economic activities like hunting, fishing, and trading and small scale husbandry.

Other form of occupation present in Adim community is the local crafts which include; carving, smiting and weaving. Carving and smiting is said to be the occupation of men while women specialized in weaving.                Religion

Religion has an important place in the culture of Adim people. The socio- religions hierarchy runs from the family elders through the ancestors to the gods. This is why part of the respect due to the gods are accorded to the elders. The ancestors are living force within the family and are richly remembered in elaborate libations during festival and feast. The African Traditional religion in adim is concern in keeping the community pure as well as promoting the welfare of the people. The people of Adim worship the god of their ancestors at different notable shrines.

Christianity as gained an effective ground in Adim community. Quite a number of Adim people are Christians and they worship God at different churches and fellowship centers.

The Islamic religion has no place in the life and culture of Adim people. The people are either Idol    worshippers or Christians.                 Secret Society

A significant feature in the social life of the people of Adim is the formation of secret   societies in the land. The aim of these secret societies is to keep the community secure and to improve their social life. A person could belong to one or more societies depending on individual interest. Some of secret societies in adim includes Abu secret society, the Ebrubu cult, Okwa secret society, Egase secret cult and non – cult society such as and Esu- me- Esu.               Education

The first form of education in Adim community is the informal education system. During this period the people of Adim teach and learn basic craft works in an informal way. This form of education lasted till the advent of Western education in Adim.

Presently, the western education is the major form of education in Adim. Universal Basic Education has aided the establishment of both primary school and secondary school in Adim. Only few people get tertiary education due to lack of fund

1.3.2                  Socio – Linguistic Profile

Adim is a dialect of Agwayune language. As a bilingual community, the people of Adim speak Adim and Efik language. Adim is an oral language and it is used in schools particularly in the primary schools to explain and clarify lessons viz- a- viz English Language.

Adim serves as a language of commerce. Traders within  and outside the community try to teach and learn Adim while trading so as to promote proper communication.

Adim is spoken during different cultural festivals and ceremonies. The major activity of the festival is the worshipping of idols at different shrines, all these activities are performed using the Adim language as a means of communication. Competent pastors and service leaders speak Adim in the church during service. In a case where the pastor cannot speak Adim, an interpreter is being asked to interpret to the congregation in Adim language to ensure proper perception of the message.

Adim is an East Bende – Congo language. It is a dialect of Agwagure language, a North – East wing of Delta – Cross group of Languages.

1.5      Scope and Organization of Study

The aim of the present study ions to closely examine the status of question formation using a case study of Adim language. This research project aim at discussing the aspect of question formation in Adim. The Government and Binding theory will be examined.

1.6          Organization

The first chapter is the basic introductory part of the essay. It briefly explains the general background, historical background, and socio- cultural profile of Adim people.

Chapter two entails the basic phonological and syntactic concept of Adim. The third chapter contains the detailed explanation of the subject matter. This chapter made explicit the concept of questions formation using the case study of Adim language.

Chapter four serves as an extension of the previous chapter. The basic transformational processes that takes place in Adim language is analysed in this chapter, while the last chapter is the concluding part of the essay. Chapter contains the summary and conclusion of the essay.

1.7     Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework used for this research project is the Government and Binding theory otherwise known as principles and parameters theory.

Government and Binding theory has two levels of syntactic structure, the D- structure and the S- structure. At the D- structure, all elements are in their original location, while at the S- structure the elements has been moved. These two levels of representation are mapped through the rule move Alpha (move – α). The sub- theories of GB theory was propounded by Noam Chomsky. He proposed seven sub- theories of government and Binding theory.

1.8          Brief Review of Theoretical Framework

As mentioned earlier, the sub-theory of Government and Binding interplay and dictate what can be moved, from where [i.e extraction site] and to where [i.e landing site] . The modules account for ungrammaticality resulting from violation of rules and conditions. These modules include X-Bar Theory, Case Theory, Theta Theory, Binding Theory, Government Theory, Bounding Theory, and Control Theory. The relationship that exists between these modules of grammar can be illustrated in diagram below:

The Modular Theory of Grammar

Sells ( 1985 : 22)

The sub-theory of Government and Binding Theory as proposed by Noam Chomsky are as follows:

  1. X-Bar Theory
  2. Theta [θ] Theory
  3. Case Theory
  4. Binding Theory
  5. Government Theory
  6. Bounding Theory
  7. Control Theory

1.8.1           X-Bar Theory

X-bar Theory is one of the modules of grammar that regulates and brings out what is common in the structure of phrases

In the X-bar theory, phrase structure is a comparatively

Simple system derived from a few principle and

The setting of certain parameters.

[Cook 1988: 94]

In X-bar theory, a phrase usually contains a head in thereby showing hierarchy among the constituents. Heads are terminal nodes that dominate word. According to Heageman [1991:105] , two levels of projection are distinguished in X-bar theory. These are the specifier and compliment positions respectively.

X II  above ranges over all phrasal categories like non phrases, verb phrases, adjectival  phrase, prepositional phrases, inflectional phrases, complimentizer phrases.  XI on the other hand stands for X and its compliment were applicable. X is a category variable that stands for any major word-level category e.g noun, verb and adjective.              Head parameter

The head parameter specifies the order of element in a language ( cook 1988:8) The X-bar syntax alms at generalizing the phrase structure of all human languages rather than idiosyncratic features of a part of a language or a of a single languge. Sentences may be broken down into constituents ( i.e phrases) and an important difference between language is in the order of elements within phrases.

The basic word order that a language operates specifies the value of the head parameter. This means that there is a close relationship or outright independence between order of words and head parameter.           Move Alpha

According to the Riemsdijk and Williams (1989:127), move –α is TS move any category α anywhere. Move α is an instruction to move a category from any location provided. There is a landing site for the moved category. It is the collapse rule of move – NP and move WH. Nwachukwu (1988:3) says “ the theory of transformational generative grammar in the Government and Binding frame work has pruned down to bear essentials of those, the most important surviving transformation is the movement popularly referred to as move – Alpha ( i.e. move NP and moved WH)

More –α is the movement of a target category α, into a matching empty category position. This sub-theory according to Cook (1988:20) explores the restrictions that human languages actually place on movement. This rule maps the D-structure to the S-structure.

1.8.2       Theta Theory

Theta theory deals with assignment of semantic rules to participate in a sentence and it is constrained by the theta criterion. A sentence contains relationship such as “who is doing the action and “who or what is being affected by the action. According to Radford (2002: 372: 373) each argument bears a particular thematic role.

Theta roles are a part of the lexical entry for verb or a preposition: they assign θ –roles to the noun phrases that they are sub- categories for the VP compositionally assigns an external θ – role to the subject NP which is externally arguments according to the theta theory, every argument must be assigned a θ-role, hence, for a noun phrase to be relevant it must be theta – marked. Every noun phrase must have a role it plays in a sentence. For example

Affoing broke the bucket a stick

The NP “a stick” above does not seems to be relevant in a sentence; this is because it has not been assigned a theta – role as a result of the absence of the preposition that should assign the role. In the example below, the NP “a stick “is made relevant with the presence of the preposition.

Affiong broke the bucket with a stick

The preposition assigns the INSTUMENTAL role to the NP thereby making it relevant. The theta – criterion serves as a constraint on the theory. it is stated thus:

Each argument bears one and only

One θ- role and each θ – role is assigned

To one and only argument

Agent, theme (or patient), Instrument, location (goal, source, Direction) are some of the semantic roles identified. Below is a three diagram showing θ- role assignment.

Theta- Role Assignment

  1.8.3         Binding Theory

Binding theory is concerned with relationship of NP. Participant in a sentence (Yusuf 1998: 145). It is the module or grammar that assigns and regulates an appropriate interpretation of noun phrase. The binding theory is concerned with connections among noun phrases that has to do with semantic properties as dependence of reference including the connections between a pronoun and its antecedent. (Chomsky 1998:57).

The theory deals with whether expression in the sentence refers to the same entities as other expressions, i.e. it describes when different expressions refers to the same person, place or thing. There are three NP-types relevant to the binding theory. They are

  1. Anaphors
  2. Pronominal
  3. Referring Expression

Anaphors are Np-types that must have antecedents in the sentence. According to Riemsdijik and Williams (1986 : 279) anaphors must be bound in its governing category. There are two types of anaphors; the reflexive and the reciprocals.

Pronominal are personal pronouns that must be free in their governing category. They need not to have antecedent in the sentence.

Referring Expression according to Yusuf (1998: 148)  are NPs that serve to identify some entities in the real word, they are lexical NPs and must be free. This is expressed better by the three binding principles.

Principle A: An anaphor must be bound in the governing category

Principle B: n A pronoun must b e free in its governing category.

Principle C: An R expression must be free anywhere.

A violation of any of the binding principles results in ungrammatical sentences.

1.8.4                         Government Theory

Cook (1988: 37) remarks that government theory refers to a particular relationship of high abstraction between a ‘governor’ and an element that it governs. A lexical head governs it compliment and INFC governs it subject. Verbs and prepositions governs noun phrases in a sentence.

Government Theory interrelate with every other sub- theory. Its pervades all the module of grammar. It ensure that a noun is assigned appropriate case as case can only be assigned under government. The empty category principles ( ECP) makes sure that the trace of a moved category is properly governed.

1.8.0     Case theory

Blake ( 1994:1) sees case has system of making the dependent nouns for the type of relationship they bear to their head. Case theory accounts for some of the formal properties of noun phrases. Case theory, according to Heageman (1991: 180) is the module of grammar that is concern with the distribution of NPs within grammatical sentences. Case is a property of noun phrases. It is one of the modules of Government and Binding. Theory that interact with other sub-thoeries determine grammaticality of ungrammaticality.

Case in GB theory

Right from the beginning of enquiry into the nature of language till this moment, the concept of case has been relevant. The universality of case as a grammatical category is affirmed and in every language, case served different purpose ( Jerperson 1924- 179).Case theory deals with how case is assigned and in the government and Binding theory, case are assigned under government. According to Chomsky (1986b – 187), if a category has a case to assign, it may assign it to an element that it governs.

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