1.1    Introduction

This research is aimed at describing aspects of negation in     Koenoem language. Koenoem language is a language spoken in Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State of Nigeria.

In this chapter, we discussed the general background and socio – cultural           profile of the Koenoem people. The genetic         classification of Koenoem language as      well as the aim and objectives of the research is discussed. We also included the           scope and organization of the study.

1.2     Historical Background of Koenoem People 

A popular legend of the Koenoem claimed that they were influenced by the           attempt to link their origin to the universal respective and centers of old civilization.           This legend claimed that they migrated from France to their present location for           economic reason.

Koenoem means “to refuse”, the reason why this utterance    was rendered by           the Koenoem speaking people was that there was a      river dividing them with their           neighbouring village, and the river belonged to them i.e. the Koenoem. Inspite of           that their neighbouring villages were claming ownership because of the immense           benefit from the river.

The Koenoem people because of this mess said they would not fold their           arms and watched them; they presented all their problems to their ancestors to fight           for them. As a result of this new born babies immediately after given birth to, will be           strike to death by thunder from no where. When the villagers got to realized that all           the happenings was as a result of their selfish interest, they call a meeting and           resolve the issue immediately and handed over the land to the Koenoem people and           that is why in both Shendam and Mikang land, today don’t take this Koenoem for           granted.

1.3     Geographical Location of Koenoem People

Koenoem people are located in northern part of Shendam Local Government           Areas of Plateau State and Eastern part of Mikang Local Government Area of           Plateau State. The Koenoem village was formally a ward under shendam province           and later relocated to     Mikang Local Government Area. The major towns around           Koenoem are: Doka, Zomo and Piapun.

1.4     Socio – Cultural Profile of Koenoem People

Cultural is defined as a total way of life of a group of people in a           geographical setting. Keonoem people have their district cultural and traditional           beliefs which are expressed in their mode of dressing, occupation, religion, festivals           and marriage system.

          Marriage System in Koenoem

The Koenoem people have their culture, norms, and values. When it comes to           marriage the person who wants to marry pay a specific amount of money and some           traditional items for the kinsmen before contacting the father of the girl for bride           price. The amount paid for bride price is not always much that is why they marry           many wives.

The first step to marriage is to pay some certain amount of   money and some           items, other material things such as rappers shingginda, millet for local brint     beer to the elders of the family. The second step is the bride going to the groom’s     farm to check his capability whether is capable of taking care of the wife he intends       to marry. If the groom is capable they move to the third step which is the      introduction of the two families to each other and after that the proper marriage.

In Koenoem land divorce does not take much time, they believe if a woman           leaves a man the more he brings in another one to replace her. Some divorce are           made in the court of law through the          chief judge pronouncement and others in a        traditional way, where the two families come together and settle amicably by paying           back what they collected from the grooms family.

          Occupation of Koenoem People

The major occupation of Koenoem people is farming. Majority of the people           are subsistence farmers though commercial         farming is also practiced. They cultivate      crops like maize, millet, guinea com, groundnut and rice as well. After harvesting all        these crops, buyers come from urban centre and buy at the cheapest price and take it   to the city.

          Religion of Koenoem People

In Koenoem land the three (3) religions are observed i.e. Christianity,           Traditional and Islamic religions. Christianity dominates followed by traditional           religion then Islamic religion. Most of the people practicing Islamic religion are           indigenes of the land. The general language use in the place of worship is Hausa           except the traditional worshipers who used the local dialect to make their           incantation.

          Festivals of Koenoem Language

Festivals are organized to unite their kinsmen from far and near. The chief           priest is regarded as the ruler of the tribe only, but without defined territory. There is       a particular festival celebrated to commemorate the death of their heroes who had           fought tirelessly to emancipate them from the shackles of invaders and other form of           oppressions. Their annual festival is celebrated on the 12th December, for this           festival an Antelope must be casted to appease the gods.

          Educational Background of Koenoem people

The Level of Education in Koeneom village is very low, because most of           them believe that farming is the best way to make money.

Education as defined by one philosopher popularly known as Plato who said           education is the production of sound mind to a sand    body. In this definition we are     made to understand that the Koenoem people were not aware of the positive impact           of education, but now    they have realize the positive impact of education and they           now send their children to school, so as to take active part in politics.

Administration in Koenoem Land

Koenoem people’s administration is more or less a traditional system of           administration. The people of Koenoem take orders from their chiefs. The chief is           the administrative and ceremonial leader in         the village.

There, chief who is called long Koenoem dictate some certain things for           them, and any other information which is to be relay to the   people must past through       the chief before disseminating it to the masses.

After the chief the second in command is referred to as angwa meaning           halmet, he takes directives from the chief to the people.

1.5     Genetic Classification of Koenoem Language


{Accessed November 2010}


           Afro Asiatic         Niger Kordofanian              Nilo Sahara                    Khoisan

Niger Congo

West Atlantic                                  Mande                                  Atlantic Congo

Atlantic                                    Ijoid                                          Volta Congo

Ewe                    Edo                                 Benue Congo                    Plateau

Northern Jos                         Western Jos                                    Eastern Jos

Zomo                           Doka              Koenoem                           Piapun

1.6     Statement of the Research Problem

The target of this research is to analyze Negative sentences in Koenoem           language. Therefore, these work primarily focus on Negation in Koenoem language           and our aim is to identify the various         negative construction and negation markers in the language, their position in the language.

1.7     Aims and Objective

The purpose of this work is to carry out a syntactic analysis of Koenoem           language with focus on the syntactic process known as negation. Our aims and           objectives in this research work include.

i         To explain what negation is

ii        To discuss how negation is used in Koenoem

iii       To identify the various negations

iv       To also discuss the transformational processes used in deriving negative  constructions in the language.

1.8     Scope and Organization of The Study

This work is limited to negation in Koenoem language and it is divided into           five chapters. Chapter one deals with the introductory part of the work, which           includes general introduction the historical          background and socio-cultural profile         of Koenoem language, genetic classification, aims and objectives, scope and           organization of the study.

Chapter two deals with literature review here we shall review the chosen frame work that is the government and binding theory of syntax     and explain its relevance to this work. Chapter three shall focus on negation as a syntactic process in Koenoem language showing among others the various positions negation markers can occupy in Koenoem language chapter four shall deal with transformational processes in Koenoem such as focus construction and relativization in relation to negation. Chapter five will summarize and conclude the work.

1.9     Data Collection

The method used in this research work for our data collection is direct           translation method from English Language based on the Ibadan 400 word list.           Data elicitation was carried out by direct interview of language helpers with the           proceedings recorded on audio cassette. The frame technique was also employed           during data collection.

          Informants Data

Informant Name:  MR. GWAITIL TITUS

Occupation:                   Military

Age:                      28

Religion:               Christianity

Language spoken apart from Koenoem: English, Piapun, Hausa, Tal.

Number of years spent in Koenoem: 20 years

1.10   Data Analysis

To ensure an efficient data analysis is this research, all the data collected           were carefully transcribed. The morphemes that make up the phrases and sentences           were also carefully glossed. The data collected were used according to how the           native speakers used them without imposing and extraneous rules or norm.




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