· GENERAL BACKGROUND
The main focus of this research work is a discussion of some aspects of Yukuben Noun phrase. In this chapter, we shall look at the historical background, a socio-cultural profile which includes their culture, socio-linguistics profile, occupation, and religion. This chapter will also give information on the geographical location and genetic classification of the Yukuben people. It will also discuss the scope and organization of the study, a theoretical framework for the analysis of our data, method of data collection, and then attempt a brief review of our chosen framework, the Government and Binding theory.
· HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF YUKUBEN LANGUAGE
The history of Yukuben is traced back to the time before independence. We are told that the colonial masters enslaved people.
The Yukuben people were said to migrate from Ìdèn in north neighboring Cameroon due to the slave trade. The name Yukuben means “the child of a witch”. It was said that one of the slaves refused to work and was beaten, suddenly the bees started trooping out from nowhere and scare the slave traders away. Because of this, they were known to be “the child of a witch”.
British colonial master created a boundary that led to the parting or division of Yukuben speakers to Taraba State and Cameroon.
British and French shared the land through colonies and thereby we have Yukuben in Nigeria, and Yukuben in Cameroon.
The Yukuben people are headed by a king called the “Ùdèng Uchun of Uhumkhigi land”. He is assisted by a group of chiefs called “Bàgbàn”.
The administration of Yukuben Land is pictured into village heads who report to distinct heads and they in turn report to the king, the “Ùdèng Uchun”.
· GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF YUKUBEN LANGUAGE
Yukuben language is located in Takum local government area between Katsina Ala and Gamana rivers, about 20 villages in Taraba State and also spoken in Cameroon.
Yukuben region in Nigeria is west and central Africa which is located within Taraba State (Benue – Plateau).
In Cameroun, it’s the region is North West Province, Menchum Division, west of Furu – Awa, near Nigeria border.
The Yukuben people are surrounded by various hills with various names: Kichi ènì Sabo, Ìyà, Kchenésìty Òlúkò, Kàlákìr, Ìtò.
The specific population of the Yukuben people cannot be determined, but according to the population census in (1992), the population in Nigeria is 15,000 in all countries 15,950. In Cameroon, their population was 950 (Breton 1986). Presently, their population in Nigeria is 23,000, in all countries 25,000.
· SOCIO-CULTURAL PROFILE OF YUKUBEN LANGUAGE
The socio-cultural profile of the Yukuben people focuses on their culture, how they use language in society (Socio-linguistics), occupation, and religion.
1.3.1 CULTURE OF THE YUKUBEN PEOPLE
The culture of the Yukuben people has to do with their way of life, marriage, festival, food and drinks, dressing, and houses. All these will be discussed one after the other.
The major social institution among the people is the marriage institution. They start their marriage ceremony with the family introduction. The husband’s family will provide palm oil in Calabash and cock to their in-laws. Bush meats are also presented.
When everything has been approved by the in-laws, a date for the wedding ceremony is now fixed. On the wedding day, the husband family has to make their favorite wine known as Bùrùkùtù out of guinea corn and add honey to it. Both families and well-wishers drink, dance, merry, and celebrate on the wedding day.
Unlike other ethnic groups celebrate their festivals, Yukuben people also celebrate their own festivals.
The Yukuben People celebrates a series of festivals, but the most common festival among them is the masquerade festival called “Oohgum” when it is singular and “Eegum” when it is plural in their language. This masquerade festival is used to appease their gods. They believe that this masquerade protects and blesses them. This masquerade festival is celebrated annually (every year). During this period, all Yukuben speakers all over Nigeria come home to celebrate this festival. Their local drinks called “Bùrùkùtù” is used to celebrate this festival.
Another festival which is celebrated among the Yukuben people is “Khichun” festival. This festival is celebrated annually among the hunters and farmers.
Another festival which is celebrated among Yukuben people is called Kukyib (festival) Kamang (Circumcision) which means circumcision festival. The age at which a child can be circumcised among the people is from 10-15 years.
18.104.22.168 FOOD AND DRINKS
Their major food is maize, guinea-corn, cassava, plantain, yam, rice transformed into “Tuwo” usually called “Buna” by the people.
Their major drink is called “Beson” usually made from guinea corn, also known as Bùrùkùtù.
They put on weaved cloth known as “Ukya” in Yukuben language which is mainly put on by the women. “Ukya” is known as Aso ofì by the Yorubas. Their men put on what is known as “Ìsáng” in their language. This Ìsáng is made using the back of the tree beaten until it becomes soft and tender.
The major building structures of the Yukuben people is the hay and the mud buildings, although there are some buildings made from blocks and cement are few in number.
1.3.2 SOCIOLINGUISTICS PROFILE OF YUKUBEN PEOPLE
Austin defines sociolinguistics “as the study of language in relation to society”. That is the study of language as it affects and is affected by socio-relatives, how language affects society and how society affects language.
Socio linguistics is also defined as the effects of any and all aspect of society including cultural norms, expectations, and contexts on the way language is used. The sociolinguistics profile of Yukuben comprises the status
of their language, what they use their language for (language use), their alternate names e.t.c.
Yukuben the language which is also locally known as uhumkhigi is said to be the real name of the people and it is mostly (the name) preferred in Cameroon. The name Yukuben is derived from the people of Takum, Jukun people.
Yukuben language is used in various ways, it is used for social activities like Education, trade communication, entertainment (local), greetings. It is also used in Religion, (Both in Traditional and Christianity). Some of the social activities are enumerated below:
1. EDUCATION: They use the English language as their language of Education from Primary Level to Senior Secondary School Level. They use English to teach their students both written and orally.
They also, use Yukuben language for education at the primary level (Primary 1-6) and also at Junior Secondary School Level (JSS 1-3) Although, it is an oral language, they teach their students orally.
1. TRADE: Yukuben language is used as a trade language both in Nigeria and Cameroon. In Nigeria, they use Jukun [Jbu], Kuteb [Kub], or Hausa [hau]. In Cameroon, they also use Jukun Takum [dyu] or Cameroon Pidgin [wes].
2. COMMUNICATION: Yukuben language is used for communication among the people. They use it for communication in the family (at home) and also among other people (the Yukuben’s).
3. ENTERTAINMENT: Yukuben language is also used locally for entertainment among the people. It may be during festivals, marriage, the party (especially at primary school level), and so on.
4. GREETINGS: Yukuben language is also used for greeting among the people.
5. Religion: Yukuben language is used in traditional Religion and in Christianity.
6. Traditional Religion: Yukuben language is a language of incantation, to worship their gods, to pray or make a request from their gods, to praise their gods, etc.
7. Christianity: Yukuben language is used in the church for various purposes. It is used to praise God, used to conduct their church service, used for the announcement, used to pray, and so on.
STATUS OF THE LANGUAGE
Yukuben language is a language, it is not a dialect. It is not a written language, but an oral language. The language is not a bedroom language, that is, the speakers have the privilege of speaking it anytime.
Yukuben speakers are said to be multilingual in nature, apart from Yukuben, they also speak other languages like Jukun and Hausa. Few people that are educated among them speak English (in Nigeria). Yukuben speakers speak Yukuben among themselves but when they come in contact with the Jukun’s, they speak Jukun, and also if they come in contact with the Hausa’s, they speak Hausa to communicate.
Yukuben language is also said to have dialectal variants known as “Líssà,” Shìbong” “Fété.
Yukuben alternate names both in Nigeria and Cameroon is Ayìkiben, Balaabe, Balaaben, Borítsu, Gohum Nyìkobe, Nyìkuben, Unhum, Ochum, Uuhum-Gigi, Uhumkhigi..