QUESTION FORMATION IN EGBA

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TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction

1.1 The Egba People

1.2 Problem Statement

1.3 Aims of the Study 

1.4 Significance of the Study

1.5 Research questions

1.6 Organization of Research

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW, THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY

2.0 Introduction

2.1 Literature Review

2.2 Theoretical Framework

2.3 Methodology and Data Collection

CHAPTER THREE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION

3.0        Introduction

3.1 Alternative interrogatives              

3.2 Are Polar And Alternative Questions The Same?

3.3 Differences between Polar and Alternative Interrogatives

3.4 How Alternative Interrogatives are formed

3.5 Types of Alternative Interrogatives in Egba

3.6 How Alternative Questions are Focused in Egba

CHAPTER FOUR CONTENT INTERROGATIVES

4.0 Introduction

4.1 Content Questions

4.2 Formation of Question Word Questions

 4.3 Word order in Content Interrogatives

4.4 Formation of Content Questions in Egba

 4.5 A Description of Egba Question Words and Phrases

4.5.1  ‘who’ 

4.5.2 ‘what’ 

4.5.3 where

4.5.4  ‘how’ 

4.5.6 ‘which’

4.6 Conclusion

CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Conclusion

5.2 Recommendation

REFERENCE

GLOSSARY   


CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction

The study of syntax does not only investigate universal tendencies but also, those tendencies that are language specific. Three basic types of sentences: namely declaratives, imperatives and questions are identifiable across languages but these may have peculiar manifestations in various languages. This study focuses on questions (interrogative sentences). This type of sentence is used to elicit information that may or may not be known and to seek for clarification of what has already been uttered. This emphasizes kong and Siemund (2007) assertion that  ‘Interrogative sentence are conventionally associated to speech act of requesting information”. An utterance maybe interrogative in structure; however it may function pragmatically as a command with or without non-verbal cues such as smile (Dixon, 2012). Thus such a construction is not a true question but only one in form because it does solicit for an answer rather it directs the addressee to perform an action.

Question formation, according to Konig and Siemund (2007:291) are “conventionally associated with the speech act of requesting information” and in many languages are formed from declaratives by adding a particle or a tag and this affirms Downing and Locke (2006) assertion that interrogatives typically occur in interpersonal situations and are used to seek for information.  

 Generally, questions are formed by the use of question particles, some lexical intonation, and change in the word order. Various types of interrogatives exist and this depends on the criteria used. On the bases of their syntactic and semantic properties, Konig and Siemund (2007) grouped interrogatives into two main classes: polar interrogatives and constituent interrogatives or information questions. They observed that another type of interrogative exists which is alternatives interrogative and it is similar to polar interrogatives but the responses set for alternative questions are different from that of polar questions. Collins (2006:184) also argues that questions are classified using a number of criteria and “the most widely known is that based on the different types of possible answers: between what are commonly called Yes/No questions, alternative questions, and wh-questions”. Yes/no questions are interrogatives where the expected answer is either “yes‟ or “no‟ or a confirmation. Alternative questions are questions in which the speaker provides the addressee with possible options to choose from, and Wh questions are those that seek information or require a more elaborate response. 

This work seeks to describe the types of questions in Egba based on (Collins

2006) classification. However, the terms “yes/no‟ questions and “wh-questions‟ will not be used in the present work as already argued by (Dixon 2012c) that the terms are not appropriate since some languages lack the exact words “yes/no‟ and that most languages apart from English do not have their question words beginning with Wh and Egba is not an exception to this. Egba is a typical example of a language with none of its question words beginning with “Wh‟. Thus polar and content questions or question word questions shall be used in this study.

 This research will focus on the structure of polar questions, content questions, and alternative questions, taking into consideration the various types for each interrogative type and the strategies that are used in forming them.  The work will also consider the kind of responses for each of the question types, the relation between focus and interrogatives and the functions of polar questions.

1.1 The Egba People

Originally, the Egba had no particular distinguishing characteristics from other Yoruba people and they were not known to have participated in any war until a man from one of their villages, Lisabi, set up a militia group called Olorogun, putting some of their men in harms way in a revolt against the Alaafin of Oyo who was their despotic sovereign. The military success that followed, the increasing confidence and consequent persecution of the people contributed in their self-awareness.

The Egba people did not live together as they now do in Abeokuta. Their tribe consisted of over a hundred villages clustered within a territory stretching from River Oba from the north to EbuteMetta on the south and from Osun River on the east to Ipokira with Yewa River on the west. This kingdom was divided into four principal provinces; Ake, Oke-Ona, Gbagura and Owu. Each of these provinces have their own Oba but it appears Alake of Ake enjoys the primacy of them all due to reasons which included the relationship shared with a old time Alake, brother to Alaafin of the time, with whom their mother lived. The mother, Omonide (probably also called Ejo) died and was buried in Ake. Every new Alaafin for this reason sends many valuables to Ake, thereby inferring the importance of the province among others. The position of the Alake in Abeokuta was to be statutorily confirmed in 1898 with the promulgation of Egba United Government, which was at the time one of the very few independent African states during the European scramble for Africa. Oke-Ona and the Gbagura people are Egba too, but it is the fourth which made the so-called four corners of the town that shows a curious array. They are not Egba originally, but they have shared so much history with the Egba that they can be admissibly called one. Owu, like Ake have an ancestor that was close to Oduduwa, the accepted father of the Yoruba. Olowu, their progenitor was grandson of Oduduwa. They have initially fallen under the rulership of Alaafin like almost all other Yoruba tribes because Alaafin Oranyan, although the last born, had inherited the most political element of their father, Oduduwa, thereby achieving superiority from the start.

Whatever it is that distinguishes the people of Abeokuta from other Yoruba people should be originated from their early exposure to the benevolent strain of the British stock. Their 19th Century statesman, Sodeke had foresightedly approved of missionary activities. The early settlers from Sierra Leone came to Abeokuta and even attempted to control the affairs of Lagos from there. The setback brought about by the Ifole Uprising in which foreigners were expelled from the town however, brought a check to the people’s progress. The Egbas were intellectually in the forefront and way ahead of other Yoruba groups till after the mid 20th Century.

1.2 Problem Statement

There have been various researches on African languages including Nigerian languages over the years by linguists and one of the major reasons for these researches is to document and preserve these languages for posterity. Various aspects of yoruba have been researched by linguists. It is observed that almost all these works are on the general grammar of the language, thus touching a bit of everything but not providing an elaborate discussion. Secondly, it has been observed from the existing literature that even though Yoruba has various dialects much of the work in yoruba is done in the central dialect. The other dialects to the best of my knowledge have been neglected with very little work on them especially Egba. Bodomo (1997) affirms this lack of research, and there is no existing work currently on the question formation in the Egba dialect in Nigeria. But since there are variations among yoruba dialects there is the need for each of them to be researched for the differences to be made clear. Dakubu (2005:5) attests to this difference among the dialects and indicated that “there are variations at the phonological, lexical and grammatical level”.

  Besides the above, the absence of a detailed description of interrogatives in Egba and for that matter Egba has necessitated this research. Even though Konig and Siemund (2007) distinguished alternative and polar questions, Bodomo (2001) appears to have merged polar and alternative questions as one, which I think are different as will be shown in this work. He was also silent on the occurrence of question words in main and embedded clauses and the interaction between focus and content questions. All these call for investigation so as to provide extensive, detailed and comprehensive description of interrogatives in Egba in terms of the types, structure, strategies, their responses, and their interaction with other grammatical phenomena like focus for typological purposes. 

1.3 Aims of the Study 

This research seeks to describe interrogatives in Egba, a dialect of yoruba with the following specific objectives:

  1. To identify and describe the syntax of the interrogative forms in Egba. 
  2. To describe the strategies used in marking the interrogative types in

Egba and the expected responses to each type.

  • To find out the interaction of interrogatives with focus in Egba.
  • To find out the role of tone and intonation in Egba interrogatives.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The absence of a comprehensive description of interrogatives in Egba has necessitated this research. This research is therefore relevant for the following reasons;

  1. The work will serve as the first most comprehensive descriptive work on interrogatives in the language.
  2. It will also be a reference material for future work in yoruba and for that matter Egba.
  3. It will add to the existing literature on interrogatives.
  4. It will serve as a motivation for speakers of Egba to research into the other aspects of the language.

1.5 Research questions

This work is modeled within the framework of Basic Linguistics Theory by Dixon

(2012) and it attempts to answer the following questions

  1. What are the interrogative types in Egba?
  2. What are the strategies in the formation of the interrogative types in Egba and their responses?
  3. What is the interaction of interrogatives with focus?
  4. What is the role of tone and intonation in Egba interrogatives?

1.6 Organization of Research

The research is organized in five chapters as follows.  Chapter one opens with a general introduction to the study touching on the linguistic background of the language and its speakers, the problem statement, aims, the relevance of the study and research questions.

Chapter two contains a review of relevant and related literature on the question formation which serves as a point of reference for the present work. It also provides a description of the theoretical framework used, its advantages over other frameworks and its suitability for the study.  The chapter also contains a section on the type of data used and the methodology used in collecting the data and concludes with a summary. 

Alternative question is the focus of chapter three. The chapter gives an elaborate discussion of alternative questions and the strategies used in forming them. The types of alternative questions found in the language and their responses would also be discussed in this chapter. The difference between polar and alternative questions is discussed. A report on focus and how it is realized in alternative questions will be discussed in this chapter. The chapter ends with a summary.

In chapter four, content interrogatives are extensively addressed. The chapter begins with an introduction on what these interrogatives are, and the different names that have been used to refer to content interrogatives. It highlights the various strategies in forming content interrogatives in both the main clause and the embedded clause, and their responses. Furthermore, the chapter discusses focus and its connection with content questions. The chapter ends with a summary on the chapter.

Chapter five is the final and concluding chapter and contains basically a general summary of the whole research, the findings, conclusion, and recommendations for future research.

Please call/whatsApp: 07039885501 to download complete material

TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction

1.1 The Egba People

1.2 Problem Statement

1.3 Aims of the Study 

1.4 Significance of the Study

1.5 Research questions

1.6 Organization of Research

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW, THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY

2.0 Introduction

2.1 Literature Review

2.2 Theoretical Framework

2.3 Methodology and Data Collection

CHAPTER THREE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION

3.0        Introduction

3.1 Alternative interrogatives              

3.2 Are Polar And Alternative Questions The Same?

3.3 Differences between Polar and Alternative Interrogatives

3.4 How Alternative Interrogatives are formed

3.5 Types of Alternative Interrogatives in Egba

3.6 How Alternative Questions are Focused in Egba

CHAPTER FOUR CONTENT INTERROGATIVES

4.0 Introduction

4.1 Content Questions

4.2 Formation of Question Word Questions

 4.3 Word order in Content Interrogatives

4.4 Formation of Content Questions in Egba

 4.5 A Description of Egba Question Words and Phrases

4.5.1  ‘who’ 

4.5.2 ‘what’ 

4.5.3 where

4.5.4  ‘how’ 

4.5.6 ‘which’

4.6 Conclusion

CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Conclusion

5.2 Recommendation

REFERENCE

GLOSSARY   


CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction

The study of syntax does not only investigate universal tendencies but also, those tendencies that are language specific. Three basic types of sentences: namely declaratives, imperatives and questions are identifiable across languages but these may have peculiar manifestations in various languages. This study focuses on questions (interrogative sentences). This type of sentence is used to elicit information that may or may not be known and to seek for clarification of what has already been uttered. This emphasizes kong and Siemund (2007) assertion that  ‘Interrogative sentence are conventionally associated to speech act of requesting information”. An utterance maybe interrogative in structure; however it may function pragmatically as a command with or without non-verbal cues such as smile (Dixon, 2012). Thus such a construction is not a true question but only one in form because it does solicit for an answer rather it directs the addressee to perform an action.

Question formation, according to Konig and Siemund (2007:291) are “conventionally associated with the speech act of requesting information” and in many languages are formed from declaratives by adding a particle or a tag and this affirms Downing and Locke (2006) assertion that interrogatives typically occur in interpersonal situations and are used to seek for information.  

 Generally, questions are formed by the use of question particles, some lexical intonation, and change in the word order. Various types of interrogatives exist and this depends on the criteria used. On the bases of their syntactic and semantic properties, Konig and Siemund (2007) grouped interrogatives into two main classes: polar interrogatives and constituent interrogatives or information questions. They observed that another type of interrogative exists which is alternatives interrogative and it is similar to polar interrogatives but the responses set for alternative questions are different from that of polar questions. Collins (2006:184) also argues that questions are classified using a number of criteria and “the most widely known is that based on the different types of possible answers: between what are commonly called Yes/No questions, alternative questions, and wh-questions”. Yes/no questions are interrogatives where the expected answer is either “yes‟ or “no‟ or a confirmation. Alternative questions are questions in which the speaker provides the addressee with possible options to choose from, and Wh questions are those that seek information or require a more elaborate response. 

This work seeks to describe the types of questions in Egba based on (Collins

2006) classification. However, the terms “yes/no‟ questions and “wh-questions‟ will not be used in the present work as already argued by (Dixon 2012c) that the terms are not appropriate since some languages lack the exact words “yes/no‟ and that most languages apart from English do not have their question words beginning with Wh and Egba is not an exception to this. Egba is a typical example of a language with none of its question words beginning with “Wh‟. Thus polar and content questions or question word questions shall be used in this study.

 This research will focus on the structure of polar questions, content questions, and alternative questions, taking into consideration the various types for each interrogative type and the strategies that are used in forming them.  The work will also consider the kind of responses for each of the question types, the relation between focus and interrogatives and the functions of polar questions.

1.1 The Egba People

Originally, the Egba had no particular distinguishing characteristics from other Yoruba people and they were not known to have participated in any war until a man from one of their villages, Lisabi, set up a militia group called Olorogun, putting some of their men in harms way in a revolt against the Alaafin of Oyo who was their despotic sovereign. The military success that followed, the increasing confidence and consequent persecution of the people contributed in their self-awareness.

The Egba people did not live together as they now do in Abeokuta. Their tribe consisted of over a hundred villages clustered within a territory stretching from River Oba from the north to EbuteMetta on the south and from Osun River on the east to Ipokira with Yewa River on the west. This kingdom was divided into four principal provinces; Ake, Oke-Ona, Gbagura and Owu. Each of these provinces have their own Oba but it appears Alake of Ake enjoys the primacy of them all due to reasons which included the relationship shared with a old time Alake, brother to Alaafin of the time, with whom their mother lived. The mother, Omonide (probably also called Ejo) died and was buried in Ake. Every new Alaafin for this reason sends many valuables to Ake, thereby inferring the importance of the province among others. The position of the Alake in Abeokuta was to be statutorily confirmed in 1898 with the promulgation of Egba United Government, which was at the time one of the very few independent African states during the European scramble for Africa. Oke-Ona and the Gbagura people are Egba too, but it is the fourth which made the so-called four corners of the town that shows a curious array. They are not Egba originally, but they have shared so much history with the Egba that they can be admissibly called one. Owu, like Ake have an ancestor that was close to Oduduwa, the accepted father of the Yoruba. Olowu, their progenitor was grandson of Oduduwa. They have initially fallen under the rulership of Alaafin like almost all other Yoruba tribes because Alaafin Oranyan, although the last born, had inherited the most political element of their father, Oduduwa, thereby achieving superiority from the start.

Whatever it is that distinguishes the people of Abeokuta from other Yoruba people should be originated from their early exposure to the benevolent strain of the British stock. Their 19th Century statesman, Sodeke had foresightedly approved of missionary activities. The early settlers from Sierra Leone came to Abeokuta and even attempted to control the affairs of Lagos from there. The setback brought about by the Ifole Uprising in which foreigners were expelled from the town however, brought a check to the people’s progress. The Egbas were intellectually in the forefront and way ahead of other Yoruba groups till after the mid 20th Century.

1.2 Problem Statement

There have been various researches on African languages including Nigerian languages over the years by linguists and one of the major reasons for these researches is to document and preserve these languages for posterity. Various aspects of yoruba have been researched by linguists. It is observed that almost all these works are on the general grammar of the language, thus touching a bit of everything but not providing an elaborate discussion. Secondly, it has been observed from the existing literature that even though Yoruba has various dialects much of the work in yoruba is done in the central dialect. The other dialects to the best of my knowledge have been neglected with very little work on them especially Egba. Bodomo (1997) affirms this lack of research, and there is no existing work currently on the question formation in the Egba dialect in Nigeria. But since there are variations among yoruba dialects there is the need for each of them to be researched for the differences to be made clear. Dakubu (2005:5) attests to this difference among the dialects and indicated that “there are variations at the phonological, lexical and grammatical level”.

  Besides the above, the absence of a detailed description of interrogatives in Egba and for that matter Egba has necessitated this research. Even though Konig and Siemund (2007) distinguished alternative and polar questions, Bodomo (2001) appears to have merged polar and alternative questions as one, which I think are different as will be shown in this work. He was also silent on the occurrence of question words in main and embedded clauses and the interaction between focus and content questions. All these call for investigation so as to provide extensive, detailed and comprehensive description of interrogatives in Egba in terms of the types, structure, strategies, their responses, and their interaction with other grammatical phenomena like focus for typological purposes. 

1.3 Aims of the Study 

This research seeks to describe interrogatives in Egba, a dialect of yoruba with the following specific objectives:

  1. To identify and describe the syntax of the interrogative forms in Egba. 
  2. To describe the strategies used in marking the interrogative types in

Egba and the expected responses to each type.

  • To find out the interaction of interrogatives with focus in Egba.
  • To find out the role of tone and intonation in Egba interrogatives.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The absence of a comprehensive description of interrogatives in Egba has necessitated this research. This research is therefore relevant for the following reasons;

  1. The work will serve as the first most comprehensive descriptive work on interrogatives in the language.
  2. It will also be a reference material for future work in yoruba and for that matter Egba.
  3. It will add to the existing literature on interrogatives.
  4. It will serve as a motivation for speakers of Egba to research into the other aspects of the language.

1.5 Research questions

This work is modeled within the framework of Basic Linguistics Theory by Dixon

(2012) and it attempts to answer the following questions

  1. What are the interrogative types in Egba?
  2. What are the strategies in the formation of the interrogative types in Egba and their responses?
  3. What is the interaction of interrogatives with focus?
  4. What is the role of tone and intonation in Egba interrogatives?

1.6 Organization of Research

The research is organized in five chapters as follows.  Chapter one opens with a general introduction to the study touching on the linguistic background of the language and its speakers, the problem statement, aims, the relevance of the study and research questions.

Chapter two contains a review of relevant and related literature on the question formation which serves as a point of reference for the present work. It also provides a description of the theoretical framework used, its advantages over other frameworks and its suitability for the study.  The chapter also contains a section on the type of data used and the methodology used in collecting the data and concludes with a summary. 

Alternative question is the focus of chapter three. The chapter gives an elaborate discussion of alternative questions and the strategies used in forming them. The types of alternative questions found in the language and their responses would also be discussed in this chapter. The difference between polar and alternative questions is discussed. A report on focus and how it is realized in alternative questions will be discussed in this chapter. The chapter ends with a summary.

In chapter four, content interrogatives are extensively addressed. The chapter begins with an introduction on what these interrogatives are, and the different names that have been used to refer to content interrogatives. It highlights the various strategies in forming content interrogatives in both the main clause and the embedded clause, and their responses. Furthermore, the chapter discusses focus and its connection with content questions. The chapter ends with a summary on the chapter.

Chapter five is the final and concluding chapter and contains basically a general summary of the whole research, the findings, conclusion, and recommendations for future research.

Please call/whatsApp: 07039885501 to download complete material