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[icon type=”icon-pencil”]: ASPECTS OF KONO NEGATION
[icon type=”icon-book”]: Chapter 1 – 5
[icon type=”icon-book-open”]: 127 Pages
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This study,ASPECTS OF KONO NEGATION contains concise information that will serve as a framework or guide for your project work. The project study is well-researched for academic purposes and are usually provided in complete chapters with adequate References.




GB   ———-   Government and Binding

X’    ———–   X-Bar

SPEC ———   Specifier

XP   ———–   Maximal Projection

CP   ———-      Complementizer Phrase

IP   ———-       Inflectional Phrase

INFL   ———    Inflectional

NP     ———     Noun Phrase

VP   ———–   Verb Phrase

ADJP   ———   Adjectival Phrase

PP     ———–    Prepositional Phrase

N    ————-   Noun

V   ————-   Verb

N’   ———-       N-Bar

V’   ———-      V-Bar

C’   ————   C-Bar

AGR   ———    Agreement

TNS   ———-   Tense

MOD   ——–    Modal

S.S   ———-     Surface Structure

D.S   ———-     Deep Structure

DET   ———     Determiner

S      ————    Sentence

(ei)  ————-    Empty category

COMP   ———-   Complement

A’      ———–     A-Bar

FOC   ———–    Focusing

REL   ————     Reletivization

NEG   ————-    Negation

QM    ———–     Question Marker


Table of contents



1.0 General Background of Kono People

1.1 Historical Background of Kono People

1.2 Geographical Location of Kono People

1.3 Socio-linguistics Profile of Kono People

1.4 Socio-cultural Profile of Kono People

1.4.1  Marriage system

1.4.2 Festivals

1.4.3 Religion

1.4.4 Occupation

1.5 Genetic classification of Kono People

1.6 Scope of Organization of the Study

1.7 Theoretical Framework

1.8 Data Collection

1.9 Data Analysis

1.10 Brief Review of Government and Binding Theory

1.10.1 X-Bar Theory

1.10.2 Theta Theory

1.10.3 Case Theory

1.10.4 Binding Theory

1.10.5 Bounding Theory

1.10.6 Government Theory

1.10.7 Control Theory



2.0 Introduction

2.1 Basic syntactic Concept

2.1.1 Phrase Structure Rule

2.2 Lexical Category

2.2.1 Noun

2.2.2 Verbs

2.2.3 Adjectives

2.2.4 Preposition

2.2.5 Pronouns

2.3 Phrasal Categories in Kono

2.3.1  Verb Phrase (VP)

2.3.2  Prepositional Phrase (PP)

2.3.3  Adjectival Phrase  (ADP)

2.4 Basic Word Order in Kono

2.5 Sentence Types

2.5.1    Simple Sentence

2.5.2   Compound Sentence

2.5.3    Complex Sentence



3.0 Introduction

3.1 Negation

3.1.1 Negation of Commands

3.1.2 Negation of Question

3.1.3 Negation of Modal Auxiliaries

3.1.4 Auxiliary Negation

3.1.5 Main Verb Negation

3.2 Negation of Auxiliaries ‘DO’, ‘HAVE’, and ‘BE’

3.3 Different Ways of Forming Negative Statements

3.4 Negation markers in Kono

3.4.1 Sentence negation in Kono

3.4.2 Interrogative Sentence Negation



4.0 Introduction

4.1 Transformational Processes

4.2 Focus Construction and Negation

4.3 Question Formation and Negation

4.4 Reletivization and Negation



5.0 Introduction

5.1 Summary.

5.2 Recommendation

5.3 Conclusion.






This chapter introduces  the language of study, the people

speaking the language and their geographical location. It introduces us to the background of the speakers of the language which include their culture and beliefs. Also in this chapter, a brief explanation of the scope of the study, method of data collection, genetic classification and the theoretical framework used in carrying out the research work on the language are discussed. This research work is aimed at describing an aspect of the syntax of kono language. Our focus is Negation in the language. Kono is a language spoken in Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State of Nigeria. Kono community is a small ethnic group in Kauru. The native speakers of Kono call themselves ‘’Jawuzura’’, while they are referred to as ‘’Konu or Kwono’’ by the Hausa speakers. Konu or Kwono is their alterative name.


According to oral history, the people of  Kono had their origin from a deep forest at the edge of the Northern part of Kaduna State. It was a place surrounded with lots of rocks, in this forest they feel all they want is at their disposal until the British Colonial master who brought Christian religion through a missionary and with time school was included by Mrs. Majinnya (a white woman).

The  advent of the colonial master brought a lot of changes to the kono community. These include their mode of dressing, cultural and traditional beliefs and most importantly, their religion.


Kono people are in Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State which till date remains their home. The community is surrounded by towns such as Kinuhu, Dingi, among others. These towns have their different languages; the neighboring communities around Kono are Zampuru, Gwandara, Padan-Kono, Kimuru, Kiwapa and Gbure communities etc.

Map of  Kaduna State indicating Kono.


The people of Kono do make use of their language in the market as a means for promoting their language among other language of the local government. They sometimes use their language in the political sector. They have orthography for the language, though it is not used in educational sectors that is, they do not make use of it in the school. They sometimes, have conflict with other languages of their local government due to which one will serve as the superior one to the other.


Culture is defined as the total way of life of a group of people in a particular geographical settings. Kono people have their distinct cultural beliefs which are expressed in their marriage system, festivals, religion and occupations.


In the oral tradition, Kono has a distinct way by which marriage is done. It purely indicates that’s that a lazy man cannot marry any Kono child. That is any man who is ready for marriage must first get the girl a carve wood and axe for house chore because it will be used to bring firewood home from the farm.

Also, a man who wants to marry a lady, apart from being qualified age-wise, will have to farm for the family of the lady he intends to marry before and after marriage, and this is done till today. Another important thing about Kono marriage system is that no marriage ceremony comes up during raining season, since people will be so busy with farming activities.


Most of the festivals done in Kono come up during the dry season, when work on farm would have reduced. One of such festivals is Burkama, which the Kono people always look forward to, especially those who are outside the community among the native speakers.

The term “Burkama’’ means “King/Creator’’. In other words, people show appreciation to their creator for sparing their lives upto another harvest period

Also, there is the “Kono Day’’, it is a period when Kono people from all field of works in life come together to celebrate their tribe and this comes up usually during Christmas. During this time, Kono people and those who married from Kono community come together to celebrate.


In the oral tradition, before the arrival of the colonial masters, Kono people were found to engage mainly in traditional way of life, that is the usage of rituals in whatever they do, but now, they are mainly Christians. Christianity took over as a Result of the British missionaries who came and today about Ninety five (95%) of Kono are Christians, while the remaining five percent (5%) are either Muslims or idol worshippers.


According to oral history, the major occupation of Kono people is Farming and Hunting. Majority of the people are subsidized farmers, though commercial farming is also practiced. The major crop in Kono is “sugar cane”. They also have other food crop like yam, millet, corn, cassava etc. it is also said that there is a yam that is not planted and it grows by itself, it is called “Morongo,” the yam is been eating but not pounded. Other activities like hunting are engage in during dry season, when farm work would have reduced drastically.


Ruhlen (1987:1) opines that the idea that group of language that share certain systematic resemblance have inherited those similarities from a common origin is the basis for genetic classification.

Genetic classification could be inform of a tree diagram showing the origin of a language and how it is genetically related to other languages. Kono language belongs to the group of Kainji under the Benue-Congo group of Niger-Congo language family. Here it is as seen in the diagram below:


This work is limited to negation in Kono language and it is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the introductory part of the work, which includes the general introduction, the historical background and socio-cultural profile of Kono people, genetic classification of the language are examined. The chapter also gives a brief discussion of the theoretical framework adopted in the work and explains the method use in data collection and data analysis.

Chapter two discusses the basic syntactic concepts that are concerned with this aspect of the work are also discussed.

While chapter three focused on negation aspect of Kono language, that is sentential negation attested in Kono language.

Chapter four addresses the Transformational Processes like Focus Construction , Relativization etc in Kono language.

Chapter five deals with the summary of the entire work and its conclusion.


Many theories have been propounded for analyzing language in order to present a systematic account of the linguistic knowledge or the knowledge a native speaker is having. Such theories are used as theoretical framework for analyzing language data. They include the followings; Traditional or classical Grammar, structural or Taxonomic Grammar, systematic Grammar, Transformational Generative Grammar, Government and Binding theory and minimalist programme. The framework adopted for analyzing kono language data is the Government and Binding Theory.

The “Government and Binding” framework has been chosen because it shows the similarities between different phrases. It tries to capture the similarities by assigning to them the same structure rather than the case of Transformational Generative Grammar. The Government and Binding Theory mode is examined in detail in 1.10.


The method used in this research work for our data collection is the informant method of data collection. The Ibadan Four Hundred wordlist (400) as well as frame technique is used for the collection of Kono data from various informants. The informants are native speakers of Kono language.

The mode of data elicitation is bilingual. The following are some particulars about my informants.

Informant 1:        Mrs. Asabe Luka

Occupation:                   Business Woman

Age:                      58years

Religion:               Christianity

No of years lived in the village:         25years

Other languages spoken:                   Hausa and English

Informant 2:        Miss Martha Luka

Occupation:                   Student

Age:                      25years

Religion:               Christianity

No of years lived in the village:         10years

Other languages spoken:                   Hausa and English

Informant 3:        Miss. Sarah Luka

Occupation:                   Student

Age:                      21years

Religion:               Christianity

No of years lived in the village:         6years

Other languages spoken:                   Hausa and English


This is based on the forms produced by the native speakers and it is collected in order to discover what is obtained in the language under study. Therefore, the data in this work will be analyzed using the “Government and Binding” model i.e. examples from Kono noun phrase, verb phrase and the prepositional phrase will be used. There are also examples from Kono language sentence types, such as simple sentence, compound sentence and complex sentence.


The framework adopted for this research work is the Government and Binding (GB) theory which is on the other hand called principles and parameter theory. This theory is that which captures the similarities that exist between different categories of lexical phrases by assigning the same structure to them rather than having different phrase structure rules for NPs, VPs, ADP etc.

Government and Binding theory deals with transformation. The theory also explains the universal grammar as introduced by Chomsky (1981).

  • X – bar theory
  • Bounding theory
  • Control theory
  • Theta (θ) theory
  • Government Theory
  • Binding Theory
  • Case Theory
    • X – Bar Theory

The x – bar theory is designed to formalize the traditional

notion called ‘head’ of a construction and to constrain the range of possible phrase structure rules. Horrocks (1987:101) states that x-Bar theory provides principles for the projection of phrasal categories from lexical categories and imposes conditions on hierarchical organization of categories in the form of general schemata. The central notion of x–bar theory, according to Horrocks (1987:102), is that each of the major lexical categories (Noun: NP, Verb: VP, Preposition: PP and Adjective: AdjP). In essence, it defines possible phrase structure configurations in language.

Carnie (2007:155) opines that, the name “x–bar theory” comes from the original mechanism for indicating intermediate categories. Ni was written N with a bar over the letter. The over ‘bar’ is the origin of the “bar” in the name of the theory. X is a variable that stands for any category (N, Adj, V, P etc) also, x – bar theory projects from the core projection level to the maximal projection level. This is illustrated below:

X’’    Maximal projection level

X’     Intermediate projection level

Xo         Core projection level

Cook (1988:86) explains that x – bar captures properties of all phrases, not just theory of a certain type, and it bases are the theory on lexical categories that link with entries in the lexicon.

Lamidi (2000: 105) says that the head is the keyword in a phrase and the word can be pre – or post – modified. In essence, the head of a phrase is very important in x–bar theory and the parameter that distinguishes languages that incorporate the head of the phrase to the right or left is known as the “head parameter”, that is the head first. Below is a schema.

X’     Xo complement


Xo        Comp

But in a situation whereby the head comes last we have the following.

X’     Xo complement


Comp            Xo

Cook (1988:87)

In addition, in x – bar theory, the lexical categories remain the basic symbol. The phrase in which they are incorporated are shown by the addition of bars to the original symbols. This is exemplified below (Lamidi, 2001:150).

The girl (NP):


Det             N

The             girl

‘ The girl ’

Eat rice    (VP):


V             N’


Eat           Rice

‘Eat rice’

1.10.2     THETA THEORY (θ THEORY)

The theta theory is concerned with assignment of what chemistry calls ‘’ thematic’’ roles of sentential constituents. Horrocks (1987: 101) state that θ –theory is concerned with the assignment of thematic roles to sentential constituent. θ– theory  posits that a word can assign a number of different theta roles (sometimes semantics roles that things play in a sentence, E.g. Actor is for the doer of an action, while patient is the thing affected).’’ The main principle of θ – theory is the ‘θ- CRITERION’ which requires each thematic role to be uniquely assigned’’, i.e each constituent denoting an argument is assigned to just one θ-role and each θ-role is assigned to just one argument  denoting constituent. (Kirsten, 1991; 493).  Horrocks (1987: 102) in his analysis, says that thematic are known as semantic roles, such as agent, patient (or theme),beneficiary e.t.c.  Argument in θ-theory refers to the noun phrase which is of two types, that is the subject and object noun phrases. The object is therefore divided into two parts, which are direct and indirect.

For example.

Dikko went to the school by bicycle.


Spec             I’

Np           I              VP

N’     Tns    Agr    spec     V’

(+ Past)                       V      NP    PP

Agent  No                                          N’  P’        NP

Location No     Po                N’


Patient  No

Dikko                               go      school by       bicycle

‘Dikko went to the school by bicycle’

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


In government and Binding theory, cases are said to be assigned under ‘’ Government’’ and the types are as follows;

Accusative             assigned by verbs

Nominative          assigned by tense inflexion

Oblique                assigned by preposition

Adapted from Horrocks (1993; 103)

Lexical heads governs their complements. Case assigned to government complements, if the governs has the power of case assignment; in v and p assign objective case, n and adj. do not .The absence of overt NP complements to N and adj. now follows from case theory on the assumption that all lexical NPs must have case in S-structure. Adjacency is also one of the requirements of case assignees and assigners must be contiguous with no barriers blocking the discharge of the case.

Kirsten (1991:496) states that case theory regulates the distribution of phonetically realized NPs by assigning abstract case to them. It deals with the principle of case assignment to constituents. Horrocks (1987:103) states in his work that the basic idea is that case is assigned under government, i.e the choice of case is determined by the government in any sentence.

A lexical head ‘X’ may be said to govern its sisters in X-bar and certain of their complements.

Thus, NP subject is assigned normative by INFL, verb assigns accusative case to object of the verb, while preposition assigns oblique to its object.

One of the most important principles of case theory is case filter, which states that any S-structure that contains an NP with lexical context but no case is ungrammatical. (Kirsten, 1991:407) formally represented case filter as:




1.10.4         BINDING THEORY

Horrocks (1987:105) opines that, it is concerned primarily with the conditions under which NPs are interpreted as co-referential with other NPs in the same sentence. This theory is concerned with the relationship of NP participants in the sentence. There are three types of NPs which are significant to the Binding theory. These are:

  1. Anaphors
  2. Pronominals
  3. Re-expression (Referential Expressions).

The anaphors are NPs that cannot have independent reference such as reflexive and reciprocal pronouns, Prenominals are NPs that either refer to individuals independently or co-refer to individuals already named in the given sentences, and Re-expressions are NPs with lexical heads which potentially refer to something (Culicover, 1997:35).

The location of antecedent that count for binding theory are defined in three Binding Principles:

  1. Principle A: Anaphors (reflexive and reciprocals) must be bond with their binding domain (usually the sentence immediately around an item). Eg: Dikko starved himself.

‘Himself’ must be taken as referring back to the individual denoted by Dikko.

Anaphors are NPs like each other, ourselves, himself etc that must have antecedents that depends on for existence in some definite place in the sentence. They are also known as reciprocal and reflexive respectively for their identical syntactic behavior.

  1. Principle B: A non-anaphonic pronoun must not be bond with its bonding domain.

Pronominals are refer to as expression like he, she, my etc which may be coded as bond morphemes in some languages. They are also NPs that lack specific lexical content and have only the features tender case etc.

Eg Jimoh say ‘he’ prefer girls to boys

The pronominals ‘he’ refers to the individual denoted by the name ‘Jimoh’ or to some other individual not mention in the sentence.

  1. Principle C: A referring expression (Re-expression, a non- pronominal, NP) must not be bond at all. The term bond on principle A simply refers to the conjunction of C-command and co-indexing. Thus:

a binds b : if and only if:

  1. a C- commands b
  2. a and b are co-referential (Horrocks 1987: 109)

In principle B, the term ‘not bond at all’ simply means free. Principle C refers to elements such as names and other referential noun phrases.

Yusuf(1998:148) states that r-expression is the NPs that serve to identify some entity in the real world. They are the noun phrases with lexical leads which potentially refer to some using.

Eg . Wale says Wale should be disgraced.

It is crucial to note that in some special circumstances like this the R-expression has to be taken as kind of pronominals.


The chief principle of bounding theory is the subjacency. Subjacency may best be thought as criteria property of move-a . Bounding theory is also the relationship of movement between S-Structure and D-Structure when restricted word that can be moved, where it can be moved from, where it can be moved to, and how far it can be moved, that means it limits the distance where an item may be moved. The basic ideas according to Cook(1996:258) to bb captured by bounding theory is that no movement can move an element too far. Eg

D-Structure —– I have two shirts

S-Structure  —– (i) How many shirts have you  ?

(ii) How many have you shirts  ?

It can be observed in the above example, the NP ‘Shirt’ has passed more than one boundary node, that means ‘have’ and ‘you’ which makes the second sentence in S-Structure to be ungrammatical.       

 Kirsten (1991:497) states that, Bounding Theory is                             concerned with the way movement rule (move-a) can be constrained. In essence, it is concerned with the limitations to be placed on the displacement of constituents by the transformation rule move-a. Usually, movement rule with GB theory is assumed to involve three things:

  1. An extraction site
  2. A landing site
  3. An intervening gap (see diagram below)

Landing Site         Intervening Gap   Extraction Site

Here, move-a is defined as, move any constituent from anywhere to land somewhere. The original position of alpha (2) before movement is called an in-situ position thus (Culicover, 1997:50):

X                             a                              Y



The diagram above implies move any element which is represented with (a) from its in-site position regardeless of Variable X and Y to te left, right, beginning or end of  phrase or sentence1.10.6    GOVERNMENT THEORY

This theory deals with the relationship between a head and its complement. It is a syntactic relationship between a governor and the element that it governs (Horrocks, 1987:104). Thus:

a govern b if and only if:

  1. a and b mutually C-command each other.
  2. a is a governor (e.g Noun, Verb, Preposition, Adjective)
  3. a governs b, then governs the specifier of b (Lamidi, 2001:98)

According to Malmjer (1991:495) ‘Government theory deals with the relationship between a head and its components and defines relationship in other sub-theories. It is a long known fact of grammar that, a verb governs its object (when it could be NP,PP).

Thus a verb governs the NP object in the sentence ‘He love ladies’ . the verb ‘love’ governs the NP ‘Ladies’. Also where a preposition is found often, an NP follows giving rise to the statement that a preposition governs its NP object. Only lexical cartegories can be governors (Chomsky, 1986:162). The government configuration is given below


       a            b

X             Y

In the above schemeta, a C-commands and other nodes dominated by XP. In the same vein, a C-commands b. b and a can thus assign case to each other.  a can assign case to any b and not X and Y, with the description given, it is obvious that crucial concept of ‘government’ is the issue of C-command which is a relationship between an element and those other elements is ‘superior’ to but does not dominate. Adjacency also means contiguity and it implies that there must be no blocking between a governor and the governed.

 1.10.7    CONTROL THEORY  

Control theory is concerned with the way in which subjectless infinite structures are construed. It focuses on an element called PRO, sometimes called ‘big pro’ to contrast it with PRO. Pro is restricted to the subject position in non-finite clause. For example (Culicover, 1997:55),

“I want to read”

In the example above, there are reasons to believe that there is really a subject to the clause ‘to go’ but the subject is invisible. PRO can only appear in the subject position of non-finite clause; it is banned from all object positions and from the subject position of finite clauses, as there is no governor for its position.

Horrocks (1987:31) states that ‘control theory is one in which verbs take infinitival complements that have null subjects understood as being co-referential with an NP in the main clauses. The subject of this  infinitival clauses which is not overtly represented have been presented by PRO . the curious properties of PRO can be explained by saying that it must only occur when it is not governed. The notion of PRO is ungoverned (Chomsky, 1986:183).

Horrocks (1987: 131) states further that the empty subject is controlled by the subject of the main clause and by the objects. Eg

‘Jumai slapped her colleague in school’ .

Obviously the complement of ‘slapped’ is pre-positional, the empty subject must be supplied as part of the interpretation because the empty subject in each case is an argument which is assigned to a role. The PRO here is controlled by ‘ Jumai ’  which is the subject of the main clause



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