Negation as a Peculiar Grammatical Feature of Yorùbá Incantations
The use of incantation (ọfọ̀) is very popular in Yorùbá culture. It is considered to be an essential ingredient in the practice of Yorùbá traditional medicine as its use is believed to have magical powers that can be employed to solve human problems. Grammatically, Yorùbá incantations are transformationally derived sentences. This paper examines the grammatical transformations used in the derivation of Yoruba incantations. It sourced data from three selected Yorùbá incantation books - Àyájọ́ Ìjìnlẹ̀ Ohùn Ifẹ̀ (Fabunmi, 1972), Ìjìnlẹ̀ Ọfọ̀, Ògèdè àti Àásán (Rájí, 1991), and Ewì Àwíṣẹ Atóyèbí (2012) – and employs the Principles and Parameters approach Government- Binding theory to analyse them. Findings show that negation is the most prominent grammatical feature used in the derivation of Yorùbá incantations. The negation marker kì í has the most frequent occurrence while kọ́ rarely occurs in the incantations.