Negation In Adim Language – Complete project material



1.1     Introduction

This is a study on the Negation in Adim language, spoken in some parts of Cross river State, Nigeria. The speakers of the language are referred to as “The Adim People.” The speakers are located in Biase Local Government area.

The Adim language is spoken by about 16,000 speakers, the speakers of Adim are administered by clan heads and they are assisted by chief.

This chapter would explain further on the historical background, the socio-cultural background and the genetic classification of Adim language. It carefully spells out the scope and organisation of study, data analysis, basic syntactic concepts of the language and the concept of Negation in Adim language and application of transformational rules to negation in Adim

1.2     Historical Background of the Adim People

There is no cancerous among the people of Adim, as to their historical background or where their ancestors came from. Some people believe that their fore fathers came from Otum Usa, others believed that they had always lived where they found them self, and that they Usa Settlement in the present Abi local Government Area.

Biase consist of these desperate groups:

  1. The Isobo Areas
  2. The Otum Usa

iii       The Calabar Estuary

The Isobo origin believes that the Adim people were originally Igbos. These people were driven out of their original home by a more powerful group .The Adim people came into contact with Agwagune during the headship of Onun Eko Oti. Arising from the generosity of this leader, the Adim people were given a piece of land to settle on. Agwagune gave them the name “Adimi Mo Abba”, which means people pressed to the ground.

The Otum Usa origin claims that Adim migrated from a place called Otum Usa meaning Old settlement. It was situated between Usumotong and Behumono clan in the present Abi Local Government Area. My informant asserted that a Behumono man killed an Adim woman, which led to strained relationship between them. This situation forced the people of Adim to flee to small settlement like; Inuk Ogama Inamoka, Arummigon, Onolie Ejak and Ogwe.

The calaber estuary origin revealed that the wars and the search for food and new homes caused them to migrate with the Onum people by canoe up to the Cross river

1.3     Socio-cultural Profile of Adim people

In Adim the concept of marriage is well institutionalized as a social affair. In those days, Parent made choices of who their daughter would marry. They may have contracted since childhood days. The first approach was for the parent of the boy to present some token, a bunch of Indigo, Coconut, and a piece of cloth; not more than a yard to the parent of the Girl. The Girl is then betrothed. They may not have reach school age when the contact was made, but they grow up with this agreement, if the proposal partners had a violent objection to the union, it was possible to break off the agreement.

During the period of engagement, the suitors is required to work for a while on the farm of his prospective in-laws, to test his strength and devotion to the intended bride

Farming in Adim is segregated. Although both men and women can engage in farming but men are expected to clear the farm, till the land and other sundry activities that has to do with Farm cultivation, while the weeding of the farms was done by the women. Apart from farming the people of Adim practise other economic activities like hunting fishing trapping of animals among others.

Religion in Adim is traditional, the people believe in the existence of Supreme Being called Obasi Golok Ekpeyeng. The belief in the continuity of life and the community of interest between the living and the dead and the generation yet unborn was fundamental to the religious life of the Adim people

The belief of the people in life after death was portrayed in their burial rituals. They belief in burying some of the properties of the dead with him while is his buried. These properties of the deceased may include matchet, sniff box, sleeping mats, drinking cup, calabash of wine and some cloths. The heads of the deceased slaves are also buried with him. The significance of these practice is the believe that they would make use of these properties in their next life

The existence of many gods in the form of stone or trees and other creations were rampant in their culture. They make sacrifices of goat fowl and yams to these lesser deities from time to time. The spirit of these ancestors was usually evoked by pouring of oil, in the process Prayers and thanks were offered to the ancestors calling on them to the almighty God.  But has time went on Gradually, Christianity was accepted.

The period of informal education in Adim is stretched from the period when work of art favoured among men and women. The men learnt, taught and carved works of art i.e. idols, while the women in their part were setting pace on decoration.

While the people of Adim were wallowing in abject ignorance, other villages in Biase specifically the Agwagune were making there marks in endeavours such as western education and commerce. This inability to imbibe western education early enough placed the Adim people in a disadvantaged position.

The period spanning the early 1916 through 1935 could be regarded as the Dark Age which marked a really dark period in the educational development of Adim.

1.4     Genetic Classification of Adim

Ruhlen, (1987:1) states that “the idea that groups of languages share certain systematic resemblances, have inherited those similarities from a common origin in the basis for genetic classification

Genetic classification is a method used in classifying languages based on the resemblances found in the element of languages. It is a sub-group of all relevant languages into genetic nodes. The essence of genetic classification of a language is to trace the origin of the language and show the relationship with other languages.


Nilo Saharan                   Niger Kordofanian                            Niger Conger               Khoisan

Niger Congo                  Proto Benue                       Kordofanian

West Congo                                                                             East Benue Congo

Central niger                                     Ukaan                           Bantoid Congo

Cross River

Bendi                                               Delta Cross

Upper cross               Lower cross                     Kegboid              Central delta

North east   South East  Ukpet                   Agoi            Kiong

Koring                  Kukele                    Agwagune          Kohumono

Abini                    ADIM                                      Agwugune

Fig 1.6.1 genetic classification of Adim

(Bernd Heine and Derek Nurse 2000)

1.5     Scope and Organisation of Study

The main object of this project is to study in details negation and the strategies that exist in Adim language, these entails the types of negation and the various processes they undergo.

Negation of these languages are represented using imperative sentence negation and interrogative sentence negation, with respect to transformational processes

Chapter one focuses on the introductory part of the project, dealing mainly on the socio-linguistics profile, geographical area and the language family in Adim as a language. it also gives a brief definition on the methodology adopted for this research work.

Chapter two presents a view of Adim Basic Syntactic concepts e.g. phrase structures rules, basic word order, lexical categories and types of sentence

Chapter three focuses on critical examination of Negation in Adim language, which is therefore the main objective of the research work

Chapter four examines the transformational process that includes Focus constructions and relativization in the Adim language.

Chapter five is the concluding part of the research work. The summary of the entire work and present recommendation

1.6     Data Collection

According to Samarin (1967:45) says “the kind of curpus a field research obtained is determined by the purpose and the techniques he adopts in his data collection”

There are two possible methods of collecting data i.e. the informant method and the introspective method, the informant or contact method is adopted whereby the native speaker serves as a source of information. The introspective method involves the researcher or the linguist serving as an informant to his work.

The date were collected using the Ibadan 400 word list, frame techniques and my informant Mr Job Friday, who helped in the translation and other reliable information pertaining to the research work in Adim language.

1.6.1  Data Analysis

The data obtained in the research were gathered, collected, written and recorded. To be more descriptive, they were transcribed. The information collected is worked on according to how the native speaker presented it without imposing any extra rules or correction.

1.7     Review of the Theoretical Frame work

Government and Binding theory was chosen in this research work, the theory is a model of grammar propounded and developed by Noam Chomsky. It is the system or principles and rules that are properties of all human languages.

Negation would be analysed using the G.B theoretical frame work, it is the theory that captures the similarities which exist between different categories of lexical phrases, by having one common structure for them rather than having different rules.

Government and Binding theory is a modular deductive theory of grammar. These modules, otherwise known as Sub theories, are connected internally. These sub theories are: X Bar theory, Theta theory, Case theory, and Government theory, Control theory, Binding theory and Bounding theory. Before going into details of the sub theories, it is essential to note that Government and Binding theories deals with transformation.

According to Radford (1988:419) transformation is the rules that deal with the act of changing structures of one sentence to other structures through the move-alpha (move- µ). The theories therefore will be discussed one after the other.

The projection principle at each syntactic level are projected from the lexicon is that they observe the sub categorization of lexical items stated by Chomsky 1981: 29.

Projection principle

D-STRUCTURES                            Lexicon

Move-µ                          µ – theory (µ-theory)



Case theory

(Case filter)

PHONETIC FORMS                           LOGICAL FORMS


(Adapted from sells (1985) and Cook (1988).

1.7.1     X- Theory

This theory formalise the notion “head “it defines the native of the type of syntactic categories available to any language. The X-bar theory centralizes its notion on the major lexical categories that is Noun, Verbs, Preposition and Adverb.


X0                                                          comp

X                                       compliment x0


Comp                                                x0

To accommodate specifiers, a second level of structure is required indicating the level of specifers and compliment together.

In what has come to be known as the X0-theory in an idea dating back to Zelling Harris in the 1950s through Chomsky(1970) and Jackendoff (1977), the intermediate category is notated X1(X-single bar)  variantly  notated as X2  X0, But more conveniently to typographical reasons written X1

The maximal projection (the phrase) has been coded as X’’ while the lexical level is rendered simple X (more technically X0) thus the NP “the old man “Will have the structure below.


D                              X1

The                                 Old       man

1.7.2   The principle of Head Parameters

The principle of Head Parameters specifies the order of element in a language. The assumption of head parameters is that sentences may be broken into constituent phrases and structural groupings of words. Stockwell, (1981:70) said “parametric variation between languages according to whether the position of the head parameters.

The head is the key word in a phrase the head could be a word or a phrase, it could be pre or post modified. The hand in a tree diagram is known as parameters.

X                 X0   Compliment


X0                                  Comp

X                Compliment X0

X                Complement


Comp                                      x1


The immediate question is what the relationship is of the head and the other satellite. Assume an abstract construct specifer   (spec) to specify the types of phrase we have literally.

These nodes reduce from the phrasal categories to give us the X1   the intermediate level.


Spec                     x1

X1 contains other satellites some necessary as part of the meaning of the X-head. The added information recall are called adjunct. On the other hand the necessary information is called compliment (Comp). It is necessary to specify the compliment when one is selected; it is close to the head, while the adjunct is distanced.


Spec                                 x1

X1                                  Adjunct

X                Compliment


Spec                     X1


Adjunct                          X1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     X1

X                          Compliment

Concentration has been placed on X-bar theory (phrase structures) are lexical phrases. The type of head in lexical phrase is related to the word classes. Lexical phrases are related to word classes. Lexical phrases invariably have heads that are lexical categories linked to lexical entities.

1.7.3     Theta theory

The theta theory is one of the theories adopted by G.B frame work. The lexical properties of the item in our lexicon have been referred to .Kirsten (1991:493) states that the θ – theory deals with the functional relationship between a predicate and its argument a predicate is said to assign theta role to each of its argument. This concept is handled in a fairly complex system; it is handled by a module called the theta theory. A lexical category will have  attribute either as receiver or as an assigner. It is concerned with what Chomsky calls thematic roles. The common theta roles are agent, patient, goal, locative, source, experience, beneficiary and Instrument

The main principles of theta theory is the  criterion, that states “each argument bears one and only one θ- role and each θ-role is assigned to one and only one argument.

Participants are assigned these roles in the D-structure. For example

I ran home yesterday


Spec                                                  II

NP                                 I                                     VP

N1                         TNS                                        Agr                          Spec                        VI


N                                                                 V              N      Advp

I                                                                            home      Adv



In the illustration above the verb phrase is assign rule agent rule to the subject NP. verb assigns patient role to the object of the verb and the preposition assigns locative role to its NP.

I.7.4  Case theory

Case theory regulates the distribution of phonetically realised NPs by assigning abstract case to them {Kirsten, 1991:26). It has to do primarily with forms that NP takes in different syntactic environment. (Yusuf, 1986:26).

Case theory deals with the principle of case assignment to constituents. Chomsky assumes that all NPs with lexical content are assigned (abstract) case. Horrocks 1987 said that, the basic idea is that the case is assigned under Government and Binding frame work, these cases are said to be assigned under “Government” the case types are;

Accusative            object NP

Vocative               Calling NP

Nominative           Subject NP

Genitive                NO object of OF

Dative                            NP object of TO

Ablative                NP object of in/on/from

All have different case endings but the common case types are

Nominative                    Subject of a tensed clause (INFL)

Accusative            object of Verb

Oblique                object of preposition.

All Noun phrases that have phonetic content must have case. This corollary is known as the ‘case filter’. Chomsky 1981 :49 says that “the case filter which I assume to be a filter in the PF-component.

This filter has been variantly rendered formally as


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