1.0. General Background
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 includes their culture and beliefs.
Also, 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 on the language are discussed.
This research is aimed at describing the Bura Negation. Bura is a language Spoken in two (2) local government areas in Borno State. The two local governments’ areas are Biu and Shani respectively. The Bura people are about 250,000 in population.
1.1. Historical Background
According to oral history, Bura speakers were believed to had their origin from the Northern part of Nigeria in Borno State. The State shares border with Niger Republic, Chad Republic and Cameroon Republic and Common boundaries with Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe States.
The Bura lived north of Biu before being attacked by Yamta – ra – wala around 16th Century. The few people Yemta brought with him intermarried with the Bura and built up the Biu dynasty into a kingdom. Those descended from Yemta’s group were called Pabir (Babur), this is why Pabir and Bura differ considerably in culture and appearance.
Until today, the Pabir are the ruling class among the Bura, and all the Bura villages pay tribute to the Emir of Biu. The Bura still resent the Pabir.
Apart from Bura they also speak Hausa, Chibok and Marghi and also few of Fulflde. The Bura speakers are approximately over 250,000. The Pabir and Bura are the major tribes in Biu and Shani Local Government Areas of Borno State.
1.2 Socio- cultural Profile
This center on the socio-cultural background of Bura people in terms of their occupation, Religion, festivals and ceremonies. The following information the socio-cultural profile of Bura people was collected through oral source.
1.2.1 Marriage System
Bura has a way of marriage policy when a female child is born, a suitor may propose by throwing a leafy branch of a certain tree into the mother’s hut. If he is accepted, he gives gifts as the girl grows up. He works on her father’s farm and makes Zana matting for them when she reaches marriage able age, he organizes his friends to capture her and bring her to his house. Then the remaining part of the bride price is settled, which is not a insists amount and arrangements for the marriage ceremony are concluded.
Also, thing that are normally given in the ceremony is basically kolanut, salt and a white linen. The bride is usually expected to produce a white cloth stained with the proof of her virginity and it may be displayed with pride. Her parents will be ashamed if she is not a virgin.
As a sign of respect, a man does not eat with his parents-in –law.
The only festival held in Bura is the maize harvest festival and is performed before fresh corn can be eaten. Bura man who has lost a father or mother selects three heads of corn, usually from his first fruits, dresses it carefully and puts it on a tray which he sets by his head at night.
Originally the Bura had no central Government. Now the Emir of Biu appoints the districts head (Ajia) who then approve the appointments of the village heads (Lawans).Today both these titles belong to certain families. The village heads appoint the ward heads (Bulamas) over small villages and wards of larger ones. Anyone who has leadership ability can be chosen as a Bulama.
The Bura had their traditional religion before Islam came around 1920 and Christianity later came in the 1920’s. Today these three religions can all be found among the Bura. The traditional religion is called Hyel or Hyel- taku, but Naptu is a personal god who takes cares of individual. The gods are represented by various objects such as water, stones, mountains or forests. Most sacrifices to gods are made on Saturday, so it is a special day, the chief priest is called Mythmaker Haptu
Christianity was introduced through the missionaries The proportion of Christians is small compared to the entire population.
Despite the presence of churches in many towns and villages, lslam is still the predominant religion among the Bura. A rough estimate of the religious percentages is as follows: - Muslims 78% Christians 20% and Traditional 20%. Many Christians are nominal and many are not free from immorality.
The main occupation of the bura people is farming. Minority of the people are subsidized farmers, though commercial farming is also practiced. The major crops are maize, guinea corn, groundnut and rice.
1.2.6 Burial Rites
Bura people celebrate death, when an old person dies, he or she is buried on the second day when everyone has gathered in the evening. The corpse of a chief is buried seated, but other people re laid flat on the floor of the cavity. There is traditional dancing for seven days after the burial and if the deceased was an important person, it lasts for 14days.
On one of the mourning days the Fulnchambwi dance is done. The male dancers jump from the ground to the roof of the hut of the deceased and back again until the roof is destroyed. After this the date is fixed for the last mourning or sadaka, which is held about six (6) months later, but usually during the dry season.
1.3 Genetic Classification
This essence of a genetic classification of a language is to trace the origin of the language and show it relationship with the other language.