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Title

SOCIAL AND LINGUISTIC CORRELATES OF R-LIAISON IN EDUCATED YORUBA ENGLISH

Authors

Rotimi O. Oladipupo, Centre for Foundation Education, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria.

Published

© Ife Studies in English Language Vol. 11(1) 2014, pp. 1-13

Language

English

Keywords

R-liaison, Educated Yoruba English, Nigerian English, Social Variables, Linking /r/


Abstract:

R-liaison, a process whereby /r/ is inserted in-between two adjacent vowels at word boundary for euphonic purpose, is claimed to rarely feature in Nigerian English (NigE henceforth). This paper, however, attempts to track the social and linguistic distribution of this feature of speech in educated Yoruba English (EYE henceforth), a sub-variety of NigE. Labov’s variability concept which emphasises the possibility of structured variability in language was adopted. The data for the study were sourced from 120 educated Yoruba subjects, with a minimum of two to three years post-secondary education, evenly stratified into social variables of age (young: 16-35 and adult: 36+), gender (male and female) and socio-economic status (low and high). They all produced, into digital recording devices, eight utterance items and a short passage which contained various instances of r-liaison at word boundary. The perceptually transcribed data were analysed statistically. An appropriate use of r-liaison was allotted one mark and the total score for all participants was converted to a percentage. The scores were subjected to student's ttest at 0.05 significant level to test for significance between each social category. The finding confirmed the claim that r-liaison is rare in NigE, as the incidence of r-liaison found in the EYE data was abysmally low. The feature, however, correlates with the adults’ speech (t (118) = 2.270; p = 0.025). The few instances of linking /r/ found in EYE occurred, largely, in-between grammatical items, especially in phrases where the feature has somewhat been lexicalised due to long years of use. These findings, therefore, demonstrate that although r-liaison is not a predominant feature of speech in NigE, it exhibits social and linguistic patterning in EYE.

 

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