the impact of yoruba language on the spoken english of students (indigenes) of ilorin (township)

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the impact of yoruba language on the spoken english of students (indigenes) of ilorin (township)


This study has set out to find the influence of Yoruba Language on the sound system of spoken English Language among the indigenous Ilorin Yoruba undergraduate students. It was to find out the features that distinguish Ilorin Yoruba accent from the Received Pronunciation. The Recorded speech of fifty selected undergraduate students from three universities within Ilorin was used. Students who were native of Ilorin and who have spent at least two academic years in higher institution were sampled. Phonological approach was used using snowball sampling technique. It was discovered that phonological features of Nigerian English such as substitution, under-differentiation, spelling pronunciation, epenthesis and simplification, of consonant cluster were the common features found in the oral English of the samples. The English of the samples has been affected by their L1.



Table of contents


1.0 Introduction

Statement of the Research Problem

Purpose of the Study


1.4 Scope of the Study

1.5 Methodology

1.6 Data Description



2.0 Introduction



Levels of Phonology

Phonological Theories

2.3.1 Phonemic Theory

2.3.2 Generative Phonology

2.3.3 Metrical Phonology

Dependency Phonology


Optimality Theory

English Phonemes

Pure Vowel Sounds

2.4 Diphthong Sounds

2.4 Consonant Sounds

2.5 Yoruba Pohonemes

2.5.1 Vowel Sounds

2.5.2 Consonant Sounds

2.6 Differences Between English And Yoruba Phonenes

Consonant Sounds

Vowel Sounds

Status of the Language Under Study

English Language

Yoruba Language

2.8 Nigerian English

2.9 Features of the Phonology of Nigerian English

2.9.1 Segmental Features

2.9.2 Suprasegmental Features

2.10 Interference


3.0 Introduction

Data Analysis

3.1.1 Substitution

3.1.2: Under – Differentiation

3.1.3 Spelling Pronunciation

3.1.4. Epenthesis

3.1.5: Simplification of Consonant Cluster

3.2: Discussion

3.3 Summary of the Chapter


4.1 Summary

4.2 Findings

4.3. Conclusion

4.4 Recommendation


Appendix 1




To correct the wrong pronunciation of English words in many Nigerian students, particularly among the Ilorin indigenous Yoruba students demands extra effort and great attention. This is because, it is observed that this problem is the result of the features found in their indigenous languages which are transferred to the sound system of the English language. Their English phonetics reflects the structure of the sound system of their mother tongue (Osisanwo, 2009). With respect to this, we shall discuss the term phonology.

Phonology is the study of the sound system of a Language. It is the study of the properties of the sound system of a given language. It is the systematic study of how the speech sounds function and are organized in human languages. Hyman (1975, P1) cited by Osisanwo (2009,P3) says that, the goal of phonology is to study the properties of the sound system which speakers must learn and internalize in order to use their language for the purpose of communication. To Oyebade (1998, p2) ‘phonology is the scientific study of the arbitrary vocal symbol used in human speech and the pattern into which these symbols produce intelligent, meaningful utterances’. To summit up, Akmajian et al (2008, p109) said: ‘phonology is the subfield of linguistics that studies the structure and patterning of sound in human language’.

Speakers of Nigerian English are still facing a lot of pronunciation problems as a result of their L1 influence on their spoken English (Alabi, 2007). So many works have been done on the segmental features of the phonology of Nigerian English such as Utin (2009) based on the Anang accent of English language. Jowith (1991) studied the phonology of Nigeria English used Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages but this work will pay attention to Ilorin Yoruba accent of English.


This work is set out to find the impact of Yoruba language particularly the Ilorin Yoruba dialect on the phonology of English language. That is, it is to check the influence of the Ilorin Yoruba dialect on the sound system of English language at the segmental level. In other worlds, this work will find out the English phonemes which are mispronounced by the Ilorin indigenous Yoruba students.


The aim of this study is to find out the influence of Ilorin Yoruba dialect (a variety of Yoruba language) on the phonology of standard British English (RP). That is, the changes that may likely occur as a result of the contact of the Ilorin Yoruba dialect and English language. In other words, this work is to search for the features that distinguish the phonology of Nigeria English variety from the Received Pronunciation. These features shall be identified from the recorded speech collected and analyzed. We hope to provide solution to bridge the gap in the differences.


A lot of research works have been done on phonological interference. This work is to add to the efforts that have been made. Our concentration is on this topic because much has not been done particularly on the phonological interference of Ilorin indigenous Yoruba dialect and English language. Also the cosmopolitan nature of Ilorin Yoruba draws our interest. This work shall help the Ilorin indigenous Yoruba students and other readers on their spoken English.


Phonology can be handled from different angles. Its segmental aspect can be treated, attention can be paid to only suprasegmental aspect and the two levels can be jointly discussed. This research work shall direct its focus on the segmental phonology. Due to time, financial constraints and for effective result we shall limit our study domain to three universities within Ilorin. These are: university of Ado-Ekit (Ilorin chapter), Al- Hikman University and University of Ilorin. Fifteen students shall be selected all together from these Universities.


This word shall make use of recorded speech of fifty selected undergraduates from three universities in Ilorin. These are; Ado- Ekit University (Ilorin chapter), Al- Hikman University and university of Ilorin. Samples are selected using snowball sampling techniques as a result of the limited number of accessible students. Only students that are native of Ilorin and have spent at least two academic sections in higher institution are sampled.

A theoretical application shall be phonemic theory, a phonological approach will be explored to analyze the samples. spoken english In this regard, elements such as substitution, under-differentiation, spelling pronunciation, epenthesis and simplification of consonant cluster that constitution the phonological features of Nigerian English will be deplored.spoken english

Each of these elements will be applied across the data and any deviation from the RP will be under lined. Tabular form shall be used for the comparison.spoken english


Ilorin town is in the south western part of Nigeria. It lies along Lagos to Kaduna high way Kaduna (Oloru, 1998). spoken english In the past Ilorin town comprised different linguistic groups who spoke different language such as Fulfulde, Hausa, Nupe, and Yoruba as their first language.spoken english But today, all these linguistic group speak Yoruba as their first language. This means Yoruba language because a dominant language in Ilorin town.spoken  english As a of this process of language shift, the Ilorin Yoruba dialect is different from other Yoruba dialect such as Ekiti, Ijebu Ondo, Oyo dialect etc (Jimoh, 1994) spoken english


Finally the sound system of English and Yoruba language shall be treated. spoken englishThis will enable us to know the differences between the sound systems.spoken english Also it will assist us to determine the causes of the influence of which may likely occur in the spoken English of indigenous Ilorin Yoruba students as pL2 learners.spoken  english Phonology of Nigerian English, phonetics and phonology shall be discussed in their next chapter.spoken  english.

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