Reading and Writing Mboi Language

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Reading and writing Mboi language has many faces that got development. Some among them are some publications which it has as follows: -

Kawoyi ɗa ihyã Mboi-A1.pdf

GRAMMAR

 Grammar “is a process of describing the structure of phrases and sentences in such a way that we account for all the sequence in a language” (Yule 74). There are many approaches to the study of language. In this book we are going to discuss with illustration, the structure that Mboi language has in consideration of the language speakers being born with the capacity to use it. We will focus mainly on the formal characteristics of the language structure “which is seeking to uncover the rules that ‘generate’ well-formed sentence” (Pavey 1).

Therefore, in trying to discuss the grammar of Mboi language, we will be looking gradually in to the structures and the functions of some of the grammatical elements and how they function in phrases, clauses and sentences.

2. Noun System

Noun is a name of a person, animal, place, concept or thing. The names given to these mentioned living and non-living things have their singular and plural forms. The structure of noun classes in Mboi language is a bit complex. This is because the discovered noun classes are eleven (11) including loan words group, and then the nominalized verbs which makes it a total of twelve (12) noun classes. Each of these is carefully described in this book for a reader to grasp a clear picture of the language use as naturally as it is in order also to help in maintaining the use of the language among the speakers.

Therefore, for the purpose of this book we are considering the [zɑ, -ɑ +zɑ, tɑ, dɑ, mbɑ, mbɑ+tɑ, won, won-mɑ, mɑ, -ɑ + ɑ, and -ɑ +ta forms] as forms of pluralizing nouns, and we shall be looking at them one after the other.

  1. [zɑ] form

In Mboi Language, the [zɑ] as a dependent morpheme ‘in this case’ is added as a suffix to the noun head in order to make a plural form of the word suffixed. Based on observation, the percentage of the words that is pluralized by the affixation of [zɑ] is high and almost higher than any other form. Look carefully at the examples bellow: - 

Singular form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑ̃

palm rat

ɑ̃zɑ

Palm rats

ɑbɑre

Sperm

ɑbɑrzɑ

Sperms

bũ

Hole

Bũũzɑ

Holes

ɑmɑdɑzumbol

red neck

ɑmɑdɑzəmbulzɑ

red necks

ɑduwure

village head

wɑdɑwurzɑ

village heads

ɑdurgənɑ

bambara nut

ɑdurgənɑzɑ

bambara nuts

Kutɑ

Mouse

kutɑzɑ

Mice

ɑɡɑdɑmbɑre

dorsal fin

ɑɡɑdambɑrzɑ

dorsal fins

kwɑtɑ

Dandruff

kwɑtɑzɑ

Dandruffs

dhɑ̃

baby sling

dhɑ̃zɑ

baby slings

 

  1. [-ɑ + zɑ] form

In this way of pluralization, the first [ɑ] phoneme that begins the noun head is dropped and an addition of [zɑ] will be attached at the end of the word as a suffix.

See the examples below on how words are pluralized in this form. Care should be taken by the reader in order to avoid the mix-up of this form and (za form). They are two different formations of plurals in Mboi language. Look at the examples below for more clarification.

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑɡbɑŋɡe

lizard

ɡbɑngzɑ

Lizards

ɑfəne

cooking pot

fənzɑ

cooking pots

ɑbwɑ

dog

bwɑzɑ

Dogs

ɑbwɑriɡeyɑ

fox

bwɑriɡezɑ

Foxes

ɑbəlɑ

chisel

ɑbəlɑzɑ

Chisels

ɑhuʒe

uncle

huzɑ

Uncles

 

 

 

 

ɑkhĩ

dish/calabash

khũzɑ

dishes/calabashes

ɑɡənɑbide

vampire

ɡənɑ bidəzɑ

Vampires

 

 

  1. [tɑ] form

The [tɑ] is added as a suffix to the root word or head noun to form a plural of the word. Just like (za form) is, and so this form is formed by the suffixation of some singular words most especially nouns.

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

kunglungyɑ

‘Tortoise’

kunglungtɑ

‘Tortoises’

kuyɑ

‘robe’

kuutɑ

‘Robes’

dimyɑ̃

‘heel’

dimtɑ

‘Heel’

ɗokomyɑ

‘chin’

ɗokomtɑ

‘Chins’

Ndongiya

‘bat’

ndongtɑ

‘Bats’

mbəlyɑ

‘radius’

mbəltɑ

‘radiuses’

nuyɑ̃

‘head’

nutɑ

‘Heads’

 

 

 

 

  1. [dɑ] form

The [dɑ] is added as a suffix to the root word or head noun to form a plural of the word. The examples below shows the [dɑ] plural formation in Mboi Language:-

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɓɑ̃ɓãkyɑ

mymphaea nelumbo ‘tree’

ɓɑ̃ɓɑkdɑ

mymphaea nelumbo ‘trees’

ciyɑ

‘Faeces’

cidɑ

‘faeces’

cĩyɑ̃

‘Charcoal’

cindɑ

‘Charcoals’

ɗoɡoyɑ

‘buttock’

ɗogodɑ

‘buttocks’

kɑɡyɑ

‘raft’

kɑɡdɑ

‘rafts’

kɑrɑnɡiyɑ

‘feather’

kɑrɑngdɑ

‘feathers’

Kəmgyɑ

‘fur’

Kəmgədɑ

‘furs’

kɑhtɑmyɑ

 

‘testis’

kɑhtɑmdɑ

‘testes’

 

  1.  [mbɑ] Form

The [mbɑ] plural Form is realized when the noun head has an attachment of [mbɑ] as a prefix. In this case the attachments come before the head nouns (prefix). It is contrary to the suffixation in plural formation. See the few examples below: -

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑa

‘child’

mbɑ

‘children’

ɑacene

‘girl’

mbɑtonɑ

‘girls’

ɑakre

‘boy’

mbɑkrɑ

‘boys’

ɑɑbərɑ

‘First born’

mbɑbərɑ

‘First born(s)’

ɑɡɑde

‘Water pass’

mbɑɡɑdɑ

‘Water pass’

 

When you observe the formation in child to children is different in this case, since ‘mba’ serve as the independent word itself which stands as a name for children. It is neither suffix nor prefix. It turns to be the plural noun independently.

  1. [mbɑ+tɑ] Form

The case of [mbɑ+tɑ] form is another plural formation on its own. It refers to the type that has both prefix and suffix of it. The [mbɑ] is prefixed and the [tɑ] is suffixed on the singular noun head and so it becomes a plural.

Read the few examples below carefully to get more idea about this type of plural formation:-

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑbwore

‘puppy’

mbɑbworetɑ

‘puppies’

ɑkede

‘finger’

mbɑketa mbakedmɑ

‘fingers’

 

 

  1. [won] Form

The plural formation in this case is having the addition of [won] as a prefix to the noun word. This form is applied to persons alone and they are mostly words that describe a person with his profession or attitude. It is not possible to find such formation used on inanimate.

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑcidɑn

‘corward’

woncidɑnɑ

‘corwards’

ɑnbiɗimzɑ

‘Wise person’

wonbiɗimzɑ

‘Wise people’

ɑnɡəlɑ

‘Clergy man’

wonɡəlɑ

‘Clergy men’

ɑncime

‘messenger’

Woncima

‘messengers’

ɑmpətɑdoɗe

‘king’s assistant’

wonpətɑdoɗe

‘king’s assistants’

ɑnkɑfike

‘soldier’

wonkɑfike

‘soldiers’

 

  1. [won-mɑ] Form

The [won-mɑ] is similar to the case of [mbɑ+tɑ] form, it is another way of plural formation. It refers to the plural formation that has both prefix and suffix of it. The [won] is prefixed and the [mɑ] is suffixed on the singular noun head. See the tabled information below for clarity:-

 

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑɡbene

‘squirrel’

wonɡbenmɑ

‘squirrels’

ɑɗefe

‘month’

wonɗefmɑ

‘months’

ɑdure

‘groundnut’

wondurmɑ

‘groundnuts’

ɑre

‘hoe’

wonremɑ

‘hoes’

 

  1. [mɑ] Form

In the [mɑ] form of pluralization the noun head is added with the suffix [mɑ]. The table bellows provides you with the comprehensive illustration for clarity.

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

bɑro

‘branch’

bɑrmɑ

‘branches’

benglo

‘leg’

bengəlmɑ

‘legs’

cenyɑ̃

‘anvil’

cenmɑ

‘anvils’

furyɑ

‘flower’

furmɑ

‘flowers’

ɡinɑ

‘spear’

ɡinɑmɑ

‘spears’

ɡishɑ̃

‘yam’

ɡishɑ̃mɑ

‘yams’

Pəlɑ

‘wing’

Pəlɑmɑ

‘wings’

vĩso

‘star’

vĩsmɑ

‘stars’

 

  1. [-ɑ + ɑ] Form

In this case, the first letter of the noun head which used to be a vowel particularly [ɑ] is dropped then the remaining group of letters attracts the [ɑ] as the end as a suffix.

In adding the [ɑ] phoneme as a suffix, it normally replaces a phoneme which most at times are [e] and [i] vowels. Look carefully at the data below for examples.

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑkre

‘husband/man’

krɑ

‘husbands/men’

ɑmɑshi

‘Sister in-law’

mɑsɑ

‘Sister in-laws’

ɑkobe

‘Younger brother/sister’

kobɑ

‘Younger brothers/sisters’

ɑvele

‘king’

velɑ

‘kings’

The use of [-ɑ + ɑ] Form is used in titles of humans or relationship names.

 

 

  1. [-ɑ + tɑ] Form

The [-ɑ + tɑ] form refers to when a vowel particularly [ɑ] is dropped then the remaining group of letters attracts the [tɑ] at the end as a suffix. The examples are given below.

 

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɑvərvər

‘beetle’

Vərvərtɑ

‘beetles’

ɑkelenɡe

‘He-goat’

kelengtɑ

‘He-goats’

ɑkecekɑle

‘Smallest toe’

kecekɑltɑ

‘Smallest toes’

The deletion of initial [ɑ] from root word and add [tɑ] as suffix (- ɑ + tɑ) to form plural is mostly on animates.

xii. Loan Words

Loan words are those terms or concepts that are believed to have been copied from other languages as a result of not having the words from the onset or being influenced by the frequent use of the nearby languages vocabularies around the affected language group. It is not necessarily not having them, but as written by Williamson, that, from time to time every language must increase its vocabulary in order to express new concepts and technical terms which have come into use (53).

 

Singular Form

Plural Form

Data

Gloss

Data

Gloss

ɗerwel

‘book’

ɗerwelzɑ

‘books’

ɑlɑrba

sangu

 

‘Wednesday’

‘Animal corpse’                 

ɑlɑrbɑzɑ

sanguza

‘Wednesdays’

‘Animal corpses’

         

The three borrowed words are ɗerwel from Fulfulde ‘ɗerwel’ meaning ‘book’ and ɑlɑrba Fulfulde and also from Hausa ‘laraba’ to mean ‘Wednesday’ then sangu which refers to an animal corpse from Fulfulde as well.

 

2.1. Nominalization

Nominalized verbs are the noun words that are formed from actions. Verbs can be transformed to its actor to refer to the actor’s name. Like in English Language we have ‘dig’ as verb and the instrument used in the digging is called ‘digger’. Also, ‘the verb ‘cry’ has a nominalised word ‘crier’. So, in this book there are different forms of nominalization. Most of them are formed by adding [ɑn] as prefixes while others occur irregularly of which there is no pattern to describe them. Every word is formed from its root word in no relation with the other.

Verbs

Gloss

Formed nouns

Gloss

Bra

‘To begin’

brɑyi

‘beginning’

Cime

‘To send’

ɑncime

‘messenger’

rəg

‘To plant’

ɑnrəgoyi

‘planter’

zɑ̃

‘To dig’

ɑnzɑ̃yi

‘digger’

vɑ̃

‘To deceive’

vɑdzɑ

‘lie’

ɗim

‘To think’

ɑnmbiɗimzɑ

‘Wise person’

ɡɑn

‘To speak’

ɡɑno

‘speech’

           

 

3. Pronominal Forms.

The following are some of the pronominal forms of Mboi Language:

3.1. Subject Pronoun

The subject pronouns are in two different ways for the 1st and 2nd SG. It depends on the time or the environment being used at. For examples: if ‘I’ on the normal circumstance or in isolation is to be used, it is [inne] but when in a statement it becomes [nə]. Also, when referring to ‘you’ ‘2SG’.  On a normal ground, it is [inɡe] but when in a sentence it uses [nɡə]. On the other hand, the singular and the plural subject pronouns are different and clear from each other.

Person

Numbers

 

Singular

Gloss

Plural

Gloss

1st

inne/nə/ne

I

ndɑ

we (incld. 2nd)

we (excld. 2nd)

2nd

 inɡe/nɡə

you

You

3rd

ɑ/ɑdɑ

he/she

wu

They

 

3.2. Object Pronouns

The object pronoun in Mboi Language shows that the singular and the plural object pronouns are different and clear from each other, only that the 3PL. can be in two ways of a phonemic representation. This is not because of the environmental influence; rather, it is a free variant. Any one of them can be used at anywhere and anytime. See the examples below:

Person

Numbers

 

Singular

Gloss

Plural

Gloss

1st 

mən 

me

məndɑ

we (incld. 2nd)

mətɑ

we (excld. 2nd)

2nd

 mɑ

you

You

3rd

ɑdɑ

him/her

Woda

Them

 

 

3.3. Indirect Object Pronoun

The indirect object pronouns at the singular stage functions differently but appears the same as that one of the direct object pronouns in plurals.

 

 

 Person

Singular

Plural

 

1st 

Nda/məndɑ

 

Incld. 2nd

 

 

Ta/mətɑ

excld. 2nd

2nd

nɡe

3rd

ɑd

odɑ/woda

 

 

3.4. Possessive Pronouns

Looking at the possessive pronouns of Mboi Language, we see that it functions almost as a phrase, ‘my own’ ‘your own’ ‘his/her own’ etc. therefore, that is how the language works. The use of the progressive is unlike English language as in other parts of its grammar.

 

 

Person

 

 

Singular

Plural

 

1st 

  nemi

njemi

Incld. 2nd 

 

wɑdo

Excld. 2nd   

 

2nd

 wɑyi

ʒemi/ʒebi

 

3rd

wɑdo

Wodo

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.5. Possessive Adjective

Below is the example of the possessive adjectives of Mboi Language: -

 

Person

 

 

Singular

Plural

 

1st 

  no

njemi

 

 

 

2nd

wɑyi

wozo

 

3rd

di

wodo

 

 

3.6. Reciprocals

Reciprocal is a pronoun that indicates a reciprocal relationship. Anytime something is done or given in return, reciprocal pronouns are used. Below is an example showing how Mboi Language reciprocal pronouns are: -

Persons

 

Numbers

 

Plural

 

1st

wodɑ

 
 

2nd

wodɑ

 

3rd

wodɑ

 

 

3.7. Reflexives

A reflexive pronoun is an anaphoric pronoun that must be conferential with another nominal within the same clause. This section shows grammatically how the reflexive pronouns of Mboi Language functions.

Person

 

 

Number

Singular

Plural

1st

ihĩno

ihĩndo

 

Incld. 2nd

ihĩto

 

excld. 2nd

2nd

ihyɑ̃ yi

ihĩzo

3rd

Ihĩwi/ihĩ

ihĩwodo

         

Note: The [Ìhĩ̀ nó] means ‘myself’ which can directly be translated as ‘my mouth’ but it always sound clear and different from ordinary ‘my mouth’

 

3.8. Independent/Emphatic Pronoun

This is used for emphasis; a word like ‘myself’ is called like emphatic pronoun.

 

Person

 

Number

Singular

Plural

1st

ne

indɑ

Incld. 2nd

itɑ

excld. 2nd

2nd

nɡe

izɑ

3rd

ɑdɑ

oda

 

3.9. 2.9 Logophoric pronouns

The logophoric pronouns are specially-formed anaphors that are morphologically distinct from the typical pronouns of a language. Below is the representation of the logophoric pronouns of Mboi Language.

a. Orthographic form: a ke aga wo (another person)

Underlying form:   ɑ          ke    ɑ         ɡɑ wo

Gloss line:             3rd SG  said 3rdSG  will come

Free translation : He said he (another person) will come

b. Orthographic form: a ke iga wo (the same person)

Underlying form:     ɑ        ke      i             ɡɑ   wo

Gloss line:              3SG.  said   3SG         will  come (the same person)

Free translation : he said he will come

In the 3PL. the pronoun form representing the speaker himself and talking about another party is the same. Let’s look at the sentence below:-

c. Orthographic form: wu ke wuga tamyẽ (whether the same or another person)

Underlying form: wu  ke       wuga       tamyẽ

Gloss line:           3PL  said    3PL+will  do  NEG.

Free translation : they said they will not do

4. Noun Phrases

4.1. Demonstratives

The markers for demonstratives are derived from the words <nda/ya>, <ye>, <wa> <we> and <wawe>. Demonstratives occur last in phrases where they take place, usually after the head noun. The demonstrative does not adjust in form or tone when it occurs in a different environment. In Mboi language demonstratives are marked differently when they mark something afar off. Also, plurals are marked inversely; it is the same all over. Look at examples below and compare singulars with plurals:

a. Orthographic form: abwa ya

Underlying form: ɑbwɑ yɑ

Gloss line:             dog    this

Literal Translation: This dog

 

b. Orthographic form: abwa ye

Underlying form: ɑbwɑ   ye

Gloss line:             dog      that (close distance)

Literal Translation: that dog

 

Proverbs of Mboi.pdf