Title page i

Certification ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgement iv

Table of Contents vi-viii



1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 General Background 1

1.3 Historical Background 1

1.4 Sociocultural profile of the Gunganwa People 4

1.5 Genetic Classification of Gunganci Language 9

1.6 Scope and Organistions of Study 11

1.7 Theoretical Framework 11

1.8 Data Collection and Data Analysis 12

1.9 Brief Review of the Chosen Framework 13



2.1 Introduction 14

2.2. Aspects of Gunganci Phonology 14

2.2.1. Sound Inventory in Gunganci Language 14

2.2.2. Consonant Sounds 15

2.2.3. Gunganci Consonant Chart 15

2.2.4. Vowel Sounds 23

2.2.5. Gunganci Vowel Chart 24

2.2.6. Gunbganci Nasal Vowels 25

2.3 Tone Inventory of Gunganci Language 29

2.4. Syllable Structure of Gunganci Lanaguage 30

2.5. Basic Morphological Concepts 30

2.5.1 Morpheme 31

2.5.2 Types of Morphem 32

2.5.3. Tree Morpheme 32

2.5.4. Lexical Morpheme 33

2.5.5. Functional Morpheme 34 Conjunction 34 Preposition 34 Pronouns 34

2.5.6 Bound Morpheme 35

2.5.7. Derivational Morpheme 35

2.5.8. Inflectional Morpheme 36 Noun 36 Adjective 36 Base Forms 37 Comparative Forms 37 Superlative Forms 37

2.6. Structural Position of Morpheme 37

2.7 Allomorphs 38

2.8. Language Typology 39

2.8.1. Isolating Language 39

2.8.2. Agglutinating Language 39

2.8.3. Fusional or Inflecting Language 40

2.9. Sentential Classification of Morphemes in Gunganci Language 40


3.1 Introduction 42

3.2 Lexical Category 42

3.2.1. Noun 42

3.2.2. Bisyllabic Nouns 43

3.2.3 Trisyllabic 43

3.2.4. Polysyllabic Nouns 43

3.2.4. Nouns in Gunganci Language 43

3.2.5 Animate Nouns 43

3.2.6. Inanimate Nouns 44

3.2.7. Proper Nouns 44

3.2.8. Common Nouns 44

3.3.9. Abstract Noun 45

3.2.10 Countable Noun 45

3.2.11 Uncountable Nouns 45

3.2.12 Function of Nouns in Gunganci Language 46

3.2.13. Nouns as a Subject 46

3.2.14. Noun as an Object. 46

3.3 Pronouns 47

3.4. Adjective 48

3.4.1. Function of Adjective in Gunganci Language 48

3.5. Preposition 48

3.5.1. Function of Adjective in Gunganci Lanaguage 49

3.6. Verb 49

3.6.1. Transitive Verb 49

3.6.2 Intransitive Verb 50

3.7. Adverb 51

3.8 Conjunction 51

3.9. Interjection 52


4.1 Introduction 53

4.2 Morphological Processes 53

4.3. Lexical Borrowing 53

4.4. Compounding 55

4.5. Reduplication 55

4.6. Refashioning 56

4.7. Clipping 57

4.8. Affixation 57



5.1 Introduction 58

5.2. Summary 58

5.3. Conclusion 59

References 60



1.1              Introduction

The chapter introduces us to the general background, historical background, socio-cultural profile and genetic classification of the Gùngáwá people. It also includes the scope and organization of study, theoretical framework, data analysis and a review of the chosen framework.

1.2              General Background

Introduction to the History of Gùngáwá People and Language.

            Gùngáwá is an adopted name for the Bàrèshe people by their Hausa neighbors which means Island dwellers because of their nearest to rivers and lakes.

            The people call themselves Bàrèshe, Tsureja or Yáúráwa but officially called Gùngáwá. The names of the language are Gùngáwá, Gùngácí.

The Gùngáwá people are mostly found in Northern part of Kebbi State, and around Islands in extreme Sokoto State few of them were also in Niger State especially Kontangora area and Borgu Local Government Area and a recent funding in Kaiama Local Government Area of Kwara State.

1.3              Historical Background

The tribe Gùngáwá or Bàrèshe can be found in the Northern part of Nigeria in Southern Kebbi State (Yàúrí Local Government) few of them are also in Borgu Local Government Area and North of Borgu in Niger State.

The Gùngáwá are mostly concentrated in Kebbi State in Yàúrí Local Government. The Gùngáwá people are the original inhabitants of Yàúrí according to Muazu Bagudu a native of the town.

A source had that the Gùngáwá were decendents of  17th century warrior called Kisira or Kachin who allied himself with the Hausa Soldiers to gain territory in the extreme North who eventually settled with his co-fighters in present Yàúrí town.

Another source told us of their trace to a songay warrior who came from Mali to seek territorial control and their eventual settlement (with his supporters) in Yàúrí and parts of Lopa and Laru (Gùngáwá neighboring areas).

According to Apollos Aagamalafiya, a native of Gùngáwá from Rèkúbọlọ area in Yàúrí belief that the Gùngáwá people came from Kabuwa that they are hunters from Katsina State.

He (Apollos) explained further that some say they are from Shagana, Kambari, Kabbawa or Sarkawa. These are mixed up tribes that constitute the Yàúrí emirate.

As regard this histories, the actual place of origin is not clear, and it remain debatable among Gùngáwá people. Although, the Gùnganci language is closely related with that of the Lopa and Laru people in term of lexical items and Noun Affixes. No matter how related these people might be with the Gùngáwá tribe; however, they (Gùngáwá) still remain divergent in historical root.

Present Gùngáwá People

As explained ealier, the Gùngáwá are the original inhabitants of Yàúrí. They fled to the nearby Island of the Niger State in the mid 19 century and eventually return to a new site called Yelwa or Gungu in Yàúri.

            During the British regime, the status of Yauri as an emirate and of Yelwa as the seat of the Emir of Yàúrí were confirmed (Hogben 1966: 259), both Yàúrí and Yelwa have become hausarized as a result of contact with Hausa People (especially through marriage).

            The British create an emirate because of the multi ethnic groups in Yàúrí however; the Gungu district of Yàúrí Local Government is now the centre of the Gùngáwá population.

            The Gùngáwá live in Islets and shores of the Niger above Busa until the creation of lake Kainji in 1974 which disrupt their settlement and living outside Illo and Shabanda in Kebbi State.

Population of Gùngáwá People

            The Gùngáwá people were about 40 to 60 thousand in population about 60% lives in Yàúrí in Kebbi State, 35% lives outside Yàúrí town, 9% in Kontogora, North of Busa and Borgu Local Government and 1% in Kaima area in Kwara State. The population of the speakers in Yàúrí is referred to as Yàúrawá or Reshewa’.

            According to Apollos, Queen Amina of Zaria called them Yàúrawá but generally they are called Gùngáwá.

            Among the Gùngáwá in diaspora, they sometimes call themselves Bárèshe (plural) or Úrèshe (singular).

            Those that live in the riverside fields were onions, and for their canoe building and fishing along the Niger are called Sórko or Sórókó. They may be related to the Bozo of Mali, a western Mande group who are professional fishermen.

            However, Sórókó is now a name used to designate professional fishermen on the Niger river.

1.4       Socio-cultural Profile of the Gùngáwá People

            The Gùngáwá has a social and cultural background that is unique and typical of an African values especially in the area of marriage, profession and communal work.

            Also, the Gùngáwá wrestling performed in the central plain ground at Yelwa district did not only attract the peoples and passersby alone but an avenue for tourism.

            Also, they make their way of live so simple according to Muazu but very similar to the Hausas, their lifestyle is centered on the Emirate system.

            At this junction, the socio-cultural background of the Gùngáwá people shall include their social, cultural, and political system it will also include their profession or occupation, marriage, naming, clothing, foods, festival, religions, burial ceremony.

            The sociolinguistic aspect shall include language use and attitude, language shift and the status of the language ( Gúngáncí ).

Sociol Life

            The Gùngáwá lives a life similar to the Hausa as a result of long time contact, only in the aspect of occupation they differ.

            The Gùngáwá wear loose rope and relax with friends communal work is peculiar among them on their farms. They create a round seat when eating especially at leisure joints or during festival celebration, naming, wedding or sallah.

            Their market is a social avenue where idle chatting and trading activities take place. They are grounds for making friends and dating according to Muazu Bagudu.

            The markets are exhibition centre where mats, canoes, and fish caught were display for prospective buyers. They are craftman according to Muazu.


            The Gùngáwá people are highly cultural people this reflects in their greetings, clothing, profession and boldly adornment, like heavy tribal marks on the women face and leg tatooing during wedding ceremony. However, the following are aspects of their cultural life.




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