Phonological Outcomes of Yoruba and English Contact on Urhobo
Keywords:Contact Linguistics, Multilingualism, Phonological change, Loanwords, Language change
The multi-lingual nature of Nigeria has made it typical that speakers of two or more languages have to interact with each other, and this natural phenomenon results in various degrees of linguistic, cultural and social influences which are dependent on the dominance of the languages in contact. This study looks at one of the linguistic outcomes that results in such contact situation amongst Yoruba, English and Urhobo in Urhobo speech communities of Delta State. Since phonological change is almost a universal characteristic of speakers which may have far reaching influences when words are borrowed in the morphology as well as the syntax of languages, this study delimits its scope to examining specifically the phonological outcomes of English and Yoruba on Urhobo using some selected loanwords. Data is elicited from conversations with six language consultants. Also, selected participants are prompted to produce established loanwords to evaluate how they are adapted into the structure of Urhobo. Findings suggest that phonological features like epenthesis, tone polarisation, some phonotactic constraints, phonological substitution, free variation and deletion are observed as these loanwords from English are adapted to suit the phonological structure of Urhobo. Finally, the study examines the possible implications of these adaptations for language change.
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