A Variationist Approach to Nigerian English Phonology

Olaniyi Oladimeji


Since the Phonology of Nigerian English has been described variously by different researchers this paper sought toexplained the features of Nigerian English from the perspectives of the sociolinguistic variables of age, sex,occupation, education, exposure and motivation. The study examined the factors that underscore the social andethnic variables exhibited by Educated Nigerians in their attempt to use the English language efficiently at thephonological level. The theoretical framework for this study wasthe adapted synthesis of ascribed and acquiredsociolinguistic variables according toLabov (1966) and Preston (1989). The data for the study were elicited fromover a hundred speakers of English selected along the lines of the different variables earlier mentioned. Their voiceswere recorded and their renditions were phonemically transcribed in the A.C. Gimson’s model of transcription andacoustically analyzed using the Pratt software. The findings in the study suggest among others that adult speakers ofEnglish in Nigeria perform better in approximation to Standard British English. It also reveals that the vocalic systemin Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo languages shares slightly,lengthening of English vowel quality as demonstrated by oursubjects.Some Nigerian Female speakers of English tend to devoice voiced consonants in their speeches. On thewhole, we concluded that all the sociolinguistic variables best explain the differences and the features in the qualityof speech sounds observed among Nigerian speakers of English.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v6n3p42

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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