Imoh Philip

Abstracts

2 Negativization: A Focus Strategy in Basà Language

Authors: Imoh Philip

Abstract:

Basà language is classified as belonging to Kainji family, under the sub-phylum Western-Kainji known as Rubasa (Basa Benue) (Croizier & Blench, 1992:32). Basà is an under-described language spoken in the North-Central Nigeria. The language is characterized by subject-verb-object (henceforth SVO) as its canonical word order. Data for this work is sourced from the researcher’s native intuition of the language corroborated with a careful observation of native speakers. This paper investigates the syntactic derivational strategy of information-structure encoding in Basà language. It emphasizes on a negative operator, as a strategy for focusing a constituent or clause that follows it and negativizes a whole proposition. For items that are not nouns, they have to undergo an obligatory nominalization process, either by affixation, modification or conversion before they are moved to the pre verbal position for these operations. The study discovers and provides evidence of the fact showing that deferent constituents in the sentence such as the subject, direct, indirect object, genitive, verb phrase, prepositional phrase, clause and idiophone, etc. can be focused with the same negativizing operator. The process is characterized by focusing the pre verbal NP constituent alone, whereas the whole proposition is negated. The study can stimulate similar study or be replicated in other languages.

Keywords: Focus, Basà, negation, nominalization

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1 Exploring Polar Syntactic Effects of Verbal Extensions in Basà Language

Authors: Imoh Philip

Abstract:

This work investigates four verbal extensions; two in each set resulting in two opposite effects of the valency of verbs in Basà language. Basà language is an indigenous language spoken in Kogi, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger states and all the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) councils. Crozier & Blench (1992) and Blench & Williamson (1988) classify Basà as belonging to Proto–Kru, under the sub-phylum Western –Kru. It studies the effects of such morphosyntactic operations in Basà language with special focus on ‘reflexives’ ‘reciprocals’ versus ‘causativization’ and ‘applicativization’ both sets are characterized by polar syntactic processes of either decreasing or increasing the verb’s valency by one argument vis-à-vis the basic number of arguments, but by the similar morphological processes. In addition to my native intuitions as a native speaker of Basà language, data elicited for this work include discourse observation, staged and elicited spoken data from fluent native speakers. The paper argues that affixes attached to the verb root, result in either deriving an intransitive verb from a transitive one or a transitive verb from a bi/ditransitive verb and equally increase the verb’s valence deriving either a bitransitive verb from a transitive verb or a transitive verb from a intransitive one. Where the operation increases the verb’s valency, it triggers a transformation of arguments in the derived structure. In this case, the applied arguments displace the inherent ones. This investigation can stimulate further study on other transformations that are either syntactic or morphosyntactic in Basà and can also be replicated in other African and non-African languages.

Keywords: verbal extension, valency, reflexive, reciprocal, causativization, applicativization, Basà

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