1.0 General Background
Kórò is a name of the main language, Ija is the name of the town that the speakers of Kórò live. The speakers are known as Kórò-Ija, sometime they are called Ìjá-Kórò. Majority of the speakers of this language resided at Ija, southern part of Abuja (FCT). The Ìjá-Kórò people are about 900,000 in population (This is from the head count of the year 2000 census population).
Kórò as a language has three dialect, Ìjá-Kórò, Kórò-Shako and Kórò-Kaffin. Kórò-Shako and Kórò-Kaffin are spoken in Niger State, at small town called Shako and Kaffin respectively. But their dialects are not so different from each other, both speakers (Shako and Kaffin) can speaks Ìjá-Kórò. But Ìjá-Kórò speakers cannot speaks Kórò-Shako and Kórò-Kaffin because, they are far from them.
Ìjá-Kórò people exist with two neighboring tribes Ija Gwari and Bwari. Therefore, Ìjá-Kórò speakers are multilingual, i.e. they speaks Hausa, Gwari and Ìjá-Kórò.
1.1 Historical Background
Ìjá-Kórò migrated from Zùbà as a result of fertile land for farming. Zùbà is the largest town, where so many farmers has occupied the land, so Kórò people move to Ija in 1814. They settled at Ìjá-Kórò and starts farming till date.
1.2 Socio-Cultural Profile
The Ìjá-Kórò people like many other tribes have their own unique cultural lifestyle. The Ìjá-Kórò people have some unique way of life that are discussed below:
1.2.1 Dressing Mode
Before the invention of the whites, in time past the Ìjá-Kórò people wears leaves and animal skin, but after the invention of the whites, Ìjá-Kórò people started wearing cloth, meanwhile they are found of native and their major mode of dressing now is native both the men and the women.
Before the invention of the whites Ìjá-Kórò people were idol worshippers, but after the invention of the white Christianity and Islamic religion became the religion of the Ìjá-Kórò’s but Islamic religion is the dominant religion of the Ìjá-Kórò people.
1.2.3 Marriage System
In Ìjá-Kórò in time past just like in some other cultures too, parent chooses wife for their son. But now in this jet age, the story as change. The man chooses the woman of his choice, after the agreement between the man and the woman to marry each other, the parent of man will prepare echi (rice) and big kolanut to give to the bride’s parent which they will accept. After that the mother of the man will come back at night with the bride price to give to the bride’s parent and to take the bride home to her husband’s house.
In Ìjá-Kórò, marriages are done between families, in which the man in family A marry the woman in family B and also the man in family B will marry from family A, its just like an exchange marriage system. Ìjá-Kórò people do not have a particular age they get married it all depends on the financial capability of the man and the maturity of the woman.
1.2.4 Naming Ceremony
In Ìjá-Kórò, like many other places in the world. When a child is born the naming ceremony commences on the seventh day.
Their naming ceremony is usually a fun filled one or interesting one, the unique thing about their naming ceremony is that the grand father and the grandmother of the father of the new baby will prepare the food and bush meat for the ceremony, and send some of it to the house of the grandfather and grandmother to the mother of the new baby. The naming ceremony is usually a cultured one, very lively and filled with merriment.
1.2.5 Burial Ceremony
Another unique feature of the cultural profile of the Ìjá-Kórò that must not be left unmentioned is the way burial arrangement are carried out. There is celebration for Ìjá-Kórò man or woman that dies between the age of 50 years and above, because they believed they have gone to rest with their God. Therefore, there will be eating and drinking for 7 days at the front of the deceased house, and beating of drums and celebration for good 4 to 5 days, all this happens after the deceased has been buried. However, if a person dies in the evening the burial will commence the next day, it is after the burial that there is continuous dancing for 4 to 5 days.
Meanwhile, if the deceased is below the age of 50 years, there will be no celebration because the person is not of age.
Ìjá-Kórò people celebrates the common or usual festival of Ileya and Christmas yearly. But they also have their own peculiar festival which is called ekoo in their native language, which is done in recognition of the dead, this festival is celebrated every ten years or decade in order to remember their dead especially the emment people in their land that has gone to meet their ancestors.
Moreover, they also celebrates another festival called oduti in their language, this festival is done yearly after their harvest from farm. This festival is done as a result of their harvest to thank God for the blessings.
1.7.7 Traditional Administration
Before the advent of the whites, Ìjá-Kórò like any other communities has a method of administration. Ozah is the village head and every family has a representative in the governing council of the town. The youth leader bridges the gap between the Ozah (village head) and the youth in the community. It makes communication easy for them.
If there is problem the people in the family we report to the head of the family and if the problem continue, the family head must report the matters to the Ozah (the head of the village).
1.2.8 Economic Activities
The major occupation of Ìjá-Kórò people is farming, they have though, other minor occupation like hunting, trading for woman and farming also for men and women. Farming still proves to be their major occupation. They farm yam, banana, elchi and ejah.
1.2.9 Geographical Location
Ìjá-Kórò is located in the southern part of Abuja at Bwari District of Gurara Local Government Area. Ìjá-Kórò belong to the Niger Congo family along Niger road, from Niger state, it is just a few kilometers to Abuja.
1.3 Scope and Organization of the Study
This long essay aims at studying aspects of Ìjá-Kórò phonology. It will cover the general introduction of the study, the sound inventory of the language, the phonological process and tonal features attested in the language. This research work is divided into five chapters.
Chapter one is the general background of the people, the statues of the language and the historical background of the people. Also, in chapter one, the socio-cultural profile of the people and the genetic classification of the language are examined. The chapter also gives a brief discussion of the theoretical framework to be used in the work and explains the mode data collection and analysis.
Chapter two discusses the formal system of the language as well as the tonal syllable and the consonants and vowels in Ìjá-Kórò language are mention as well.
In chapter three, attention is focused on the phonological process attested in the language. And chapter four addresses the tonal processes with their distributional patterns.
Chapter five summarizes the work, gives some recommendations and concludes the study.
1.4 Data Collection
The data for the research work was collected through the help of language helper (informant method) with the use of the “Ibadan list of 400 basic items” (400 word list). It also used the frame technique. This is a template that shows different structural positions which a word can occur in. This goes beyond looking at words in isolation. It was used to get the relevant information that cannot be got by means of lexical items only.
The information concerning the informants in this research is given below:
Name: Mr. Ibrahim Gata
Address: Block 35, Bridge Lodge Sobi Barracks Ilorin, Kwara State.
Language Spoken: Ìjá-Kórò, Hausa, Gwari and English
Years lived in Ìjá-Kórò: 22 years
1.5 Genetic Classification
Genetic classification of a language could be inform of a tree diagram showing the origin of language and how it is genetically related to other languages. Ìjá-Kórò belongs to west platoid, under the Benue Congo group of Niger Congo language family.