Aspects Of Noun Phrase In Kurama Language – Complete project material




This is a long essay on the noun phrase of kurama language. It is aimed at describing the structure of noun phrase of the language under Government and Binding syntax. Kurama language is a language spoken in Lere local government Area of Kaduna State. The tribe known generally as the Kurama, but who themselves the Akurmi   (Sing. Bukurmi), or forest people, are situated to the north and north-west of the Katab in the Zaria province. They number between 11,000 and 12,000 persons and are administered by the Emir of Zaria.

The study opens with an introduction and focuses on the Historical background of Kurama, its social grouping and emblems, its socio-cultural profile, geographical location and genetic classification. It also covers the scope and organization of study, theoretical frame work, data collection, procedures data analysis and the brief review of the chosen framework.


According to Meek (1931), the kurama speakers claim a traditional connection with Kano, and in proof of this claim assert that the Kurmi market at Kano derived its name from them (viz. the Akurmi). The more learned among them, i.e. those most influenced by contact with Muslims, profess to be able to trace the wandering on the tribe back to the time when they dwell at Medina.

In later days, they were subject to ancient kingdom of Zaria, and during the days when Zaria fell under the influence of Kebbi and Songhai, the Kurama suffered at the hands of the Kebbawa who raided the district annually for slaves. They are also raided frequently by the Ningi in the nineteenth century. The Kurama are “playmates” with the people of Kano, and with the Kanuri, but whether this is due to any close association in the past cannot now be determined. What is certain is that the Kurama belong linguistically to the classifying group of The Sudanic division i.e. to the so-called Semi Bantu speaking group of the Nigerian middle belt zone.


The Kurama people or speakers are found in Lere local government area of Kaduna State of Nigeria. The kurama people are located at the Garu-Kurama district. The line is Southeastern part of Kaduna state, North of Damakasuwa and South from Kumana.

According to Crozier (1976), Kurama language belong to Benue Congo, eastern Kainji and Northern Jos. 220(NAT 1949), 2,000 (STL 1973).

Kurama is along Kaduna/Jos road. From Jos, it is 140 km and from Kaduna, it is 250 km.


According to oral history, the Kurama consist of a number of exogenous divisions wholly or partially localized. Thus the small clan of the Kamau is wholly localized at the village – area of Guru, whereas sections of the Abisi clan are to be found at a number of different village areas. Viz Garu, Srubu, Damakasua, and Kudaru. It appeared that in some instances a number of exogamous units share a common title and a common emblem, but that intermarriage between the units is permissible.

The Har Asre, for example consist of the following sub-divisions, all of which respect the crocodile         (1) Koranga

(2) Kipiri

(3) Tamto

(4) Tasabo

(5)  Gama

(6)  Tigena

(7)  Tungzu

(8)  Bundi

A Koranga man may not marry a Koranga woman, but he may marry a woman of any of the other subdivisions with the exception of Kipiri, the koranga and kipiri consider themselves to be related through a common forefather, a relationship which cannot now be demonstrated genealogically. It would seem, therefore, that the Asare at one time constituted a single exogamous clan, but that with the increase or spread of the clan exogamy was replaced by a local exogamy.

There are numerous other kurama clans (e.g. the Asa, Asana, Bisawa, Awai, Akurgi, Nargi, Gurya, etc)

1.2.2 Culture and Tradition

The Kurama people are largely enriched with traditional practices, which are often reflected in their various exogamous groups.

Firstly, the Arerus appear to respect the cock (Bugwara). It was stated according to my informant that, if the husband of an Areru woman had a cock cooked in the compound, he had subsequently to purify the place where it had been cooked by sweeping it with the leaves of the locust bean and shea trees.

Secondly, an Asare can play fearlessly with a crocodile; it is regarded as a relative to the Asare. If an Asare man sees the corpse of a crocodile he must dig a grave for it and bury it reverently, pushing the corpse into the grave with sticks.


The normal mode of obtaining a wife was, and is, by agricultural service plus cash and other payment to the girl’s parents or guardians. The scale of payment of service of obtaining a wife was as follows:

  • An initial services extending over ten years, equal to the amount of work performable by three men for three days each year on the farm of the girl’s father, and for one day on that of the girl’s mother.
  • A bride-price of 40,000 – 60,000 cowries.
  • 2,000 cowries, one basket of rice, guinea corn, one goat, four chickens and one pot of honey. These gifts were given during the concluding rites.


Few inquiries were made on the subject of religion. Muhammadanism is spreading, and those who have not embraced it practice a lackadaisical form of ancestor worship in which as so often among the semi-Bantu speaking tribes, the bull roerer (Makili) plays a prominent part. Noteworthy points are that, although women never resort to the ancestral graves, men perform their rites at the graves of female ancestors as well as of male.

1.2.5  Mode of Dressing

According to oral history, the Kurama people dress like the Hausa people. In

the olden days, wools were woven to make strapless tops for the men who cover their private parts with animal skin. Wools are also woven for the women to make a long but not wide piece to cover their breasts. The females also cover with leaves from a tree, which looks like palm trees.


Governance of Kurama

They practice traditional system of governance, where there is an exogamous and social group which is recognized as the chieftain whose duties are religious and social rather than political (the political chieftainship being purely a local matter), it is his business to settle individual and family disputes and allay ill-feeling within the kindred or clan. In addition to the clan or extended families who exercise a social authority not merely over their own households but over those of all younger brothers, cousins, and children.


Olaoye (2002: 98) defines socio-linguistic as “the study of various social, political, cultural and linguistic situations within a given speech community that give how language choice and use reveal the values, cultural beliefs and practices of the community”. This shows that cultural beliefs, way of life etc cannot be separated from language. In other words, language and culture are inseparable bound.

Most Kurama speakers including the younger generation are bilingual. The older generations are not quite fluent in Hausa as the younger generation who through education hold position in administration and public services including the police. Through education, the younger generations speak two or more languages i.e. Kurama, Hausa and English language making them bilingual.


According to Comrie (1990), genetic classification is a sub-grouping of all relevant languages into genetic nodes. Kurama is under the Benue-Congo language family.


Afro Asiatic              Niger Kordofonian                         Nilo Sahara                          Khoisan

Niger Congo                                                                                             Niger Kordofonian

Mande           Gur     Kwa              Benue-Congo          Adamawa                 West

Eastern                      Atlantic

Isam               Kumana                    Biron                   Junkun                             Kurama


This particular work focuses its attention on the formation of noun phrase in the Kurama language. The description will also delve on some of the peculiar features of the language. This research is expected to add to the linguistic finding on Kurama language.


This research work has five chapters. Chapter one is the introduction covering the historical background, socio-cultural and socio-linguistic profile of Kurama language and its speakers as well as the genetic classification, scope and organization of study, including theoretical framework, data collection, data analysis and a brief review of the chosen framework. Chapter two focuses on the basic syntactic concepts which include phrase structure rules, lexical categories basic word order and the sentences Types. Chapter three focuses on the aspect of noun phrase in Kurama language, chapter centers on the transformational processes of the language. Chapter five concludes the research work.


The theoretical framework adapted in this research work is the theory of Government and Binding.


The data for this research were collected using the language informant to elicit the data. The Ibadan word list of (400) four hundred basic items is used for the collection.

The data were collected through direct interviews with the informants or

language helper with the use of Ibadan wordlist which contains items that are illuminating and capable of making linguistically significant generalizations.

Information concerning the informant used for this research is given below.


NAME:                                             Mr. Benjamin Gwa

AGE:                                                          41 years

LANGUAGE SPOKEN:                 Kurama, Hausa, English

RELIGION:                                     Christianity

YEARS LIVED IN GARU              Forty-one years

OCCUPATION:                               Civil Servant

MARITAL STATUS:                      Married


NAME:                                             Mr. Kenneth

AGE:                                                          69  years

LANGUAGE SPOKEN:                 Kurama, Hausa, English

RELIGION:                                     Christianity

YEARS LIVED IN GARU              Sixty  years

OCCUPATION:                               Historian

MARITAL STATUS:                      Married


With the use of the Ibadan wordlist, we were able to collect two hundred and forty-nine (249) nouns, one hundred and twenty nine (129) verbal and twenty-two (22) adjectives. With the help of the native speaker, one hundred and twenty (120) sentences were collected, which include thirty (30) noun phrases, twenty two (22) verb phrases, three (3) examples in subject Noun phrase focusing, three (3) examples on subject noun phrase relativization, three examples on object noun phrase relativization, three (3) examples on simple sentences, four examples on compound sentences and three examples on complex sentences.


The Government and Binding theory (GB) was proposed by Noam Chomsky (an American Linguist) and the work was published in 1981. The modules are derived from theory of Universal Grammar, which posit multiple levels of representation related by the transformational rule (Move ) Cook (1988:28).

Some parts of these syntactic models have been modified by Chomsky (1986), and a host of other linguists like Cook (1988), Heageman (1991). Government and binding theories is an interlocking arrangement of sub-theories, which interact in many different ways that no party of the theory can be isolated from the rest. The sub-theories are:

  • X-bar theory
  • Theta theory
  • Case theory
  • Binding theory
  • Bounding theory
  • Control theory
  • Government theory


The X-Bar theory defines possible phrase structure configurations in language generally. It provides principles for the projection of phrasal categories from lexical categories and imposes conditions on the mechanical organization of categories in the form of general schemata. Crucially, it makes explicit the notion ‘head of a phrase’.

The central notion is that each of the major lexical categories (noun, verb, preposition, adjectives) is the head of a structure dominated by a phrasal node of the category e.g. noun, noun phrase verb, verb phrase. Cook (1988: 32).

According to Rutledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics (1972), “The term X-bar arises from the notion where one or more bars are placed above the constituents X to represent the level of complexity.

Generative linguists like Welberhuth (        1995), consider ‘X-bar’ theories as occupying the central posit in syntactic theory. This is due to the fact that all other theories under GB draw in the basic structure that the X-bar makes available.

Chomsky (1986: 12) in the analysis says that, the convention requires that every maximal projection has a specifier of as XP position, with the intermediate bar projection serving as the XP’s core. The core consists of the head Xo and complement (which can be a maximal projection itself). Then, we can say that the maximal projection (X-bar) is another full name for full phrasal category associated with a particular lexical category as the lead of that phrase. This theory is represented by this phrase structure rule.

X11 set to introduce the categories as  X11 seeks to explain and these are the lexical intermediate and phrasal categories.


Spec                               X1

X                           Adjunct

Xo                  Complement

Under transformational generative grammar (TG) the phrase structure rule was:

S     NP  AUX  VP

Under GB, the phrase structure rule is as follows: –



C1    C1  IP

IP     SPEC I1

I1      I  VP

I     Tns Agr

VP     spec V1

V1     V (NP) (PP)

X11 in the schema above is believed to be a variable representing noun, verb, adjectives or preposition each of which functions as the head of its own phrase. The head is primary and there is Xo.  It is also a lexical category and it can be post-modified by a specifier (spec). The lexical head can project to the intermediate category (X1) though the addition of a complement. Furthermore, the X (X-Single bar) in conjunction with the specifier projects further to X11


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