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          This chapter focuses on the General Background to the study, the historical background, social-cultural profile, cultural values, Genetic classification, and Data collection, Analysis of the data and Review of the chosen framework.

1.1   General Background to the Study

Nigeria is a multi-lingual country-blessed with about 512 languages (Gojeh, Jatau and Mammah 1998). Spoken within and outside the country, but only few of these languages have been committed to writing. Interestingly, this work is ultimately targeted at ensuring that Koro-Ija language, a language without orthography occupies it dignified position by way of making explicit what is implicit about the language in record time.

This study focuses on the aspects of Noun phrase of Koro-Ija language. The language is spoken in some parts of Plateau, Kaduna and Niger States.

It is spoken by the population of about 150,000 speakers. (Gordon 2005). They are majorly known as Rugo among themselves, the language is predominantly spoken in ija-koro village, Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State.

The Koros people are administered by clan hands and they are assisted by the chivies. The migrated from Zana emirate i.e the Kingdom of Kwararafa which date back to 19th century also by Gordon (2005). The person that led the migration was called Najaja. He is a hunter, Ija-Koro was derived from his name. His fact that the place is comfortable for him, which is known as Koro.

As an introductory, chapter, I shall focus firstly on the historical background of Ija-Koro, Socio-cultural Background, Genetic Classification, Scope and Organization of the study, Theoretical framework and Brief Review of the Chosen Framework, Data Collection and Data Analysis.

Bearing in mind that a community without a written orthography is tantamount to a society without an identity.

My mission is that after, putting forward my contribution, this language (Koro-Ija) will be able to compete favourably with the superior ones that have wider representation. I hope that my target shall meet the need for which it is intended.

1.2   Historical Background        

There exist many versions of the origins of the Koro-Ija language. Some primary and secondary sources of oral bases, assured monolithic origin for the Koros. However, all these contradictory versions reflect migrations and interrelations.

According to Na’ibi and Hasan in their book ‘A chronicle of Abuja’

‘Another popular legend of the Koros claimed that they were evidently influenced by the attempt to link their origin to the universal perspective and centres of old civilization. This legend claimed that one Koro and his younger brother Jukun were born east of Mecca and settled in “Apa”, which became the capital Kwararafa Kingdom. He was blessed with four children named Igala, Nupe and two daughters, Igbala in turn begot Alago and Idoma, one of the daughters of Jukun begot. Ankwe (Gojeh and Jatau 1998:9).

From linguistics evidence of some Koro the legend of Koro and his brother Jukun were not from Mecca. Infact, some Koro, Kanun, Jukun and Arab do not belong to the same linguistic group as evidenced in the recent linguistics classification of Gordon (2005).

The above legend contradicts the oral account narrated by Sarkin Muhammed Yawa, the present village head and 14th chief of Ija-Koro village.

According to him, a group of Koro people left Zaria area on a hunting expedition to old Abuja Emirate, years before the Hausa Zazzau came to Abuja (Suleja) under the leadership of Shiwoyi who later became the first chief of Ija-Koro. They later discovered that the land was blessed with thick foliage and more games, they decided to settle very close to the forest, close to the Kata (Gbayi) people who they met there and who also welcomed them without any rancour or bitterness.

1.3   Socio-Cultural Profile 

The Koros are known for unshakable peace and unflinching tolerance even with other distinct neighbours. The ideal life of the Koros are tolerance and respect for others, which they believe are indispensable for survival and productivity. The puzzle of Koro social psychology attracts scholarly interest to examine the binding forces. Other groups are most comfortable with them for their human relations, accessibility, peace and docility.

They are identified through joking relations, common facial marks sharing of foods, traditional/ cultural consultation, moving together in the market or social occasion and sometimes forging common origin.

1.3.1 Cultural Values      

Cultural values are the cherished tradition and ethos, which are desirable to their society and taken as normative civilization.

They are expectations and practices that make life meaningful and anticipation of better tomorrow. One observable cultural value of these people is good mind and behaviour and predisposition to work as demanded.

They values submissive character discipline, pre-disposition to obey orders and fulfill responsibilities. This is re-enforced through organization of age- grades, favour for the behavoured and punishment for the deviants. They also love organizing their societies with a structural authorities some of which are religious and some administrative.

1.3.2 Governance / Administration of Koros                                                                                

The unit of authority starts with the household under its house head called ‘Pinwada” or “Ikpunkuya”. The household heads are answerable to the clan-head (ebe-tuko) or ward head.

They are also answerable to the village head (Ezmela), all the village heads are answerable to the chief (Osu) who might even be the village head. The Osu or Ghere-Ghabin is turbaned like and emir since colonial days.

The committed leadership attracted the administration of Arab and European writers and remarked that they were world famous in governance better than European, Asia or American systems.

However, the Koro system or government was purely Confederal arrangements for sporadic consortium against invaders. In attempt to account for the semi-autonomous nature of the village groups, some informants simply submitted that they were kingdoms independent of external control and reduced over big settlement into a kingdom.

1.3.3 Religion and Festivals       

The Koros are dominantly traditional worshippers with every families having its own ancestral shrine. There were also clan shrines (ebe-tukwo). Town shrine and individual or town cults and sanctuaries (ashma ukuk) many pre-colonial polities were purely exercising cultural and religions control of tribes while excluding non-tribe even in the dame settlement. Hence, individuals and families paid more allegiance to their king and cultural cum religions heads.

Festivals are organized to unite their entire king far and near, and their chief priests regarded as rulers or their tribe only, but without defined territory.

Till now, the Koros are culturally vibrant. There is also an annual festival called Kuye, it is celebrated to commemorate the death of Nayaja, the great hunter who emancipated the Koros from the shackles of hukdas and led them to their, present location. An antelope most be castled as the festival rites or atonement. However, some of these festivals have reduced in importance because of the influence of western education.

1.3.4 Marriage Rites

Just like any other tribe or language, marriage is a sin-qua-non (necessity) to human existence; hence, it is unavoidable to any society. It is the only universal approach to procreation. The koros engage in union through secret negotiation between the family of the bride and the groom initially, the groom and the bride are secluded from this arrangement. This is so because, premarital intercourse is forbidden in Koro tribe.

Marriage ceremony here is garnished accomplished with different traditional display among which is the physical combat between young boys, unlike in other parts of Nigeria where marriage is celebrated in the daytime. In Ijakoro, celebration galore starts at night with intriguing traditional dances maiden (s) are on ground to entertain guest with terrific dance step. There is a traditional method during marriage rites called “keep chance” this is employed when the stage is overcrowded.

One distinctive thing about their marriage is that a girl of 14 or 15 may be given out in marriage.

Finally, every father in Koro sees it as a pride to witness the marriage of his son. The father may cast a cause on the son, if he decided not to marry as at when due or at the appropriate time.

1.3.5 Burial Rites          

Death is accompanied just like any other tribes with sorrow and agony people gather at the village square. The relations come out in mass with their various masquerades and they were traditionally expected to dance till down, before the deceased will be curial to the grave, the masquerades jumps over the corpse sever times.

Relatives, friends, sons and grandsons spray money on the corpse as transport for his journey to his ancestors. A masquerades shout indicates readiness for the burial.

The corpse will be carried shoulders high in readiness for the grave. The specialists known as “Abuyo” are waiting for the corpse behind the graveside to do the burial proper.

Another specialist waits at the inner room of the grave waiting for the corpse. Finally two negative are called to bid the corpse goodbye.

Seven nights of dancing and a formed ceremony will be inaugurated as final valedictory service.

1.3.6 Attitude and Cultural Beliefs

The people of Ija-koro were noted for their rich and catchy culture. The language cultural ethnics and values advocate for a no limit “respect”. To them, “agrey hair can’t be purchased from the market”.

The community is a place away from home i.e the hospitable spirit of its inhabitant is inestimable. Apart from this, the moral principle of its people transcends the materialistic ethos of our time.

Their maids are not allowed to involve in premarital sex because it is an abomination (in the past, but not absolutely this day). This contradicts what is obtainable in this morally decaying society.

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