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  • General Background

The main objective of this research word is to study question formation (i.e. how question are formed). According to stock well (19971), “To study syntax is to study aspect of how sentences are formed and how they are understood”.

Question formation is one of the transformational processes. Transformational rules are rules that convert the deep structure to surface structure. In other words, transformed rules are used to transform the input (deep structure) to output (surface structure).

According to Radford (1997:1) defined syntax as the way in which words can be combined together to form phrases and sentences. Syntactically, no human language allows sentences to be formed by stringing words together randomly. Every human language has a regular and peculiar pattern in which words must be combining to form sentences in that language.

This chapter will reveal the historical background, socio-cultural profile, the genetic classification and geographical location of yiwom language. This chapter also consists of the scope and organization of study research methodology, and the brief review of the chosen frame work.

1.1 Historical Background

Yiwom people are the major dominant group of miktang

Local Government Area of plateau state. They are notably known as Garkawa people.

The yiwom are also known as Garkawa, Garkarchi  garka and Gurka. Hiel-yiwom is what they call their town but6 fulani calls thyem Gerkawa. It is a unit in the south-east corner of the present miktang and local government area and a bounded in the North and East by the lantang section of Yergam, south –east by the way to Damper, south by inshar and west by the Latin section of montol.

The yiwom people have been in their present home for upwards of two hundred years. The piton came to the area first and provided itself a stockaded town at a place called Hakbap. The Rohta followed second and settled in kie-hiel at Rohta-Hills, north of Hiel yiwom. Other families arrived in large detachments, one father the other, and took refugeat Kiel- hiel Rohta rock was fortified and his capable of withstand siege.

The middle of nineteenth century, the families came from their hill to live in their present homes. Yiwom was once divided into two distinct sections; hill and plain. The former at Rohl Mountain that they are from river guinea in the hills, while the pitop says that theirs emerged from the earth.

The word Yiwom in Yiwom dialet means “leaves”. The analogy being; as trees grow out of the ground, so their ancestors came into being. The name Garkawa was given to them by Fulani / Hausa traders owing to their stubbornness. The name derived from word “Gagararru” which in the course of time became “Garka” and “Bagarka”. Finally, Garkawa legend points to the fact that all the families mentioned and who call themselves Yiwom or garkawa of Jukum stock that migrated after the break up of kwarrafa empire (west of Bukundi) and wondered until they settled down at Garokawa town.

Geographical Location.  The home of the Yiwom speaker is situated in the south-east of the present miktang L.G.A. formerly at shedam and long tang. It is found in latitude. 9000North east. It converse an area of an approximately 139km2which 285.3 square meter.

1.2     Socio-Cultural profiles

Socio-cultural profile has to do with the relationship between

the society and culture. It has to do with the people’s way of life. This includes occupation, ceremonies belief religion and marriage

Occupation: the basic occupation of Garkawa was and is

farming. All kinds of cereal like guinea corn, millet are growing by them. They also have all the agricultural products like sugar cane, irish potatoes, onions.

They are formidable warriors.

Food: the Garkawa people have various types of food probably

because they are farmer. They eat kukashi; kukashi is made with grinded guinea corn. Their best drink in “Buruku” which is made from millet.

Religion: Garkawa practice all kind of religion including

Christianity, Islamic and animism. But, the major religion in Garkawa town is Christianity

Marriage: in Garkawa custom, there are three modes of

contracting a marriage, and these are marriage by cousin, marriage by system of exchange, by payment of small customary bride price.

Marriage by coursing: this was refers to as the best form of

Marriage in the sense that they keep wealth within the family. The most important reason is that divorce is not permissible and therefore was permanent. They are ruled by chief called “Niwo” and God is refers to as “Na’an”.

Marriage by system of exchange: in this case, the wife and

her offspring virtually become the husband’s property; but this with the passage of time has died out.

Marriage by payment of small bride price: under the small

bride price system, it was easy for a woman to change her husband.

The Garkawa people do not all stealing, crime and adultery was

a punishable offence. A person abuse of witch craft is burnt alive. In former days, the people was feared by all and conquered by none. “Write Narhtable middle tone, resident of plateau province 1931.

Garkawa people do not have a tribal mark except for personal

adornment. Circumcision rates among male children are done every year. It was regarded as a rebirth. The custom and tradition disallow circumcision of female children. Children are first taught mother tongue in yiwom, Goemai and kukum language.

1.3 Genetic Classification

Genetic classification show how languages relate to each other. African languages are classified into four Afrositic, Niger kordofonism, Nilosahara and Khoisan.

Yiwon language is part of chadic family which in turn part of

Afro-asiatic family. Afro-asiatic consists of some 353 languages and Chadic is made up of 200 languages (ethnologies website). Yiwom is one of 200 Chadic languages.


Chadic        senitic                 Cushitic           Ancient Egyptian        Berber

Mandra       Gudder  Musgu   Bana   sahel  western  bata-tera   gisila daba-

group group   group    group     matakam


Hausa       Ngizim   Nargawa                                                 Bolewu plateau

group         group    group                                                       group                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Bolewa sub group                   Ron sub group                              plateau group                                                                      Angas  Ankwe  Boroi  Chip   Dimuk   Gorom  Jorto  kwalla   Minam Montol

Sura    tai   yiwom

A genetic and decimalized classification for bibliographic and general references by Derek iraz and Patricia .E. Scott, 1997, published by G.K. Hall and co.70 Lincoln street, Boston, mass.

1.4     Scope and Organization of Study

Chapter one is the introductory part of this project which consists the general introduction, historical background, socio-cultural profile, genetic classification, scope and organization of study research methodology and the brief review of the chosen frame work.

Chapter two is one of the basic syntactic concepts including a brief

phonological analysis of yiwom language.

Lexical categories phrase structure rule, basic word order and

Sentences type.

Chapter three will reveal the topic of the research work. Question

formation will be discussed bringing examples from yiwom language.

Chapter four will be an extension of the types of question we have.

Chapter five contains the conclusion, summary and recommendation.

1.5     Research Methodology

The method used in collecting data in this research work is through Ibadan 400 word list and frame techniques method. The word list helps a researcher to obtain both phonetic and phonemic consonant and vowels system of the language understudying. It also give information on the lexical items of the language.

All these are made possible through the help of a language helper (i.e the native speaker of the language). Language helps is also known as “informant” these people helped as informant for the collection of data needed in yiwom language.

The data will be analyzed by frame techniques method. Frame

techniques method makes it easier for the field researcher to determine the constitute of the language to collect data, sentences / phrases are written in English language and the equivalent is supplied in that language by the language helper.

In this researcher work, all work will be done using frame technique

method because the work is based on syntax, which deals with the arrangement of words.

  • Brief Review of the Chosen Frame Work.

The theoretical frame work that will be adopted in this research work is Government and Binding theory. Chomsky in (1981) propounded the Government and binding theory that operates through modules of grammar x-bar, theta, case control, bounding government and movement theory. This theory will be used in analyzing question formation in yiwom language.

Haegman (1994:3) defined Government and bounding theory as a universal grammar, which is the system of all principles that are common to all human language. GB theory is a radical revision of Chomsky’s enlier theory in 1981 and was later revised in a minimalist programme for the theories in (1993).

Government and Binding Theory, is a theory of Syntax in the tradition of transformation graminar developed by Chomsky (1987).GB eliminates proliferation of transformational rules like affix hopping, passivization, question formation, equlip, deletion, raising, verb number agreement, insertion. It must be noted that of all the numerous transformational rules we have under transformational grammar, only the movement ruler lce move ‘L’ is retained in the new G.B. theory.

In current government and binding frame work, it distinguished

Between the two types of categories of Syntax. We have;

  1. lexical categories
  2. functional categories

Lexical categories in any human language includes Noun, Verb, Adjective and Preposition.

Functional categories includes element like Complimenrier, Tense, Inflectional, Determinant, Focus and Agreement.

Syntactically, while the lexical category proofed up to a single bar

level and terminate their, this making endless recursion possible with the aid of elements like complements and modifiers, the functional categories project up to the specifier of XP level, thus, sealing off projection. A specifier is an element that closes off a category projection.

Lexical categories are presented with the aid of a diagram

NP = N” (XP)             VP =V”                    AP = A” (XP)

Spec       N1               spec      1        spec        A1

Det                 N0                        slcep               Deg    A0

The           man

PP = p” (xp)

Spec     p1



Functional categories can also be represent with aid of a diagram

Fp               Dp                        Fp


Spec      F1     spec     D1               spec      I1

F          Ip     (heat) D      Np         I               Vp


TNS   AGR   Spec    V1

V          N


Spec    C1


C      Ip

The maximal projection of a lexical node is the phrase node

with the maximum number of that level for example the maximal projection of N’is N”.Since the government and binding theory is a modular deductive theory of grammar, it has some sub-theories with which transformed operates.

The sub-theories do not operate in isolation. They are:-

X-bar theory

Theta (θ) theory

Control theory

Binding theory

Government theory

Bounding theory

X- Bar theory

Structure                                      Projection


Move – α

Case theory (Bounding)


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