A Phonological Study of English Fricatives As Used Among The Yoruba Speakers Of English Language
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This research work is a cursory observation of how the English Fricatives are used among the Yoruba speakers of English Language.
At the phonemic level of interference, English Language for instance has the voiceless fricatives /θ/ which is absent in the Yoruba Language. For this sound, the Yoruba Speakers of English substitute the voiceless alveolar fricative /t/. Thus, the English word “theme” and “thought” are realized as /tim/ and /tot/ respectively.
This research work shall be looking at only the Yoruba people of the southern part, of the country, especially, the Yoruba people within the terrain of Oyo State.
In this research work, emphasis shall be laid on the wrong pronunciation of sounds, especially those sounds that are as a result of factors, that arc likely to be responsible for the wrong or right pronunciation of the fricative sounds.
Chapter One of this research work focused on the general introduction while Chapter Two is based on the Literature Review which concentrates on works of other Linguists. Chapter Three explains the methodology of the research work while Chapter Four critically looked into the analysis of the data collection and presentations, and also the major problems of the Nigerian Speakers of the English Language. Chapter Five summarized the research work and recommendation was made in helping to solve the problems associated with some lapses in the Received pronunciation of English fricatives.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Experts in all fields hold on to one belief or the other. To sociolinguists, language can never be divorced from the society. Therefore society is of more importance to their study. To scientists, facts can never be ignored in the process of observation; this of course forms the basis of their theorizing. To historians, sourcing information by which ever means to establish historical facts must be strictly adhered to. So also a phonetician believes in the proper study of the properties of individual sounds that make up a language. An aspect of this forms the basis of this research work.
This research work aims at analyzing the English fricatives as used among the Yoruba speakers of English language.
· This research work is limited to only the Yoruba people, who dwell in the southern part of the country, Nigeria particularly within the terrain of Oyo state.
The research work is analytical in nature, and this is due to the fact that data shall be closely examined, in order to arrive at the major determinants of the wrong or the right realization of the fricative sounds as used among our respondents. That is, each respondent data shall fully be analyzed and if there is need for comparing of data, it shall be exhaustively done.
1.2 AIM OF THE STUDY
The aim of research work is to carry out a task in order to establish which of the factor(s) is or are responsible for the wrong or right realization of the English fricative sounds;
This research work aims at enlightening the readers that some of the already existing factors might be proved wrong based on the practical analysis that will be carried out from the responses of the respondents.
For the purpose of this research, the Received Pronunciation (R.P) will be used as the standard pronunciation model for the explanation of the deviation noticed in the variants of the sound segments under the study. This is chosen due to its prestigious position as a dialect that is taught in the public schools and its relevance to our field. Eventually, the study will serve as a check on the performance of English sound segments.
Whatever discovery is made in this connection will aid a further study on the teaching of the phonological segments to students at all level of learning in Nigeria.
1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Every academic research work is carried out within a specific scope to make researchers have focus in their work. This research would look at English fricative used among the Yoruba speaker of English language; thus, the research would be focusing on the speaker who are literate and how the English fricative are being used. Literacy is the ability to read and write, thus, this research tends to look at that in secondary school and in the higher institution as the literate Yoruba speakers of English.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this research work is to appreciate the Yoruba speakers of English Language bearing in mind the fact that some English fricative sounds are not present in the Yoruba consonant chart.
Consequently, a good understanding of this research work requires a mental dissociation from the knowledge letters and a concentration on sounds as they are produced rather than how they are spelt. It has been observed over time that second language learners often allow their knowledge of letters to interfere with the learning of English sounds/fricatives. Example, at the phonemic level of interference, English Language for instance, has the voiceless fricatives/θ/ which is absent in the Yoruba language. For this sound the Yoruba speakers of English substitute the voiceless alveolar fricative /t/.
Thus, the English word think /θiηk/ is realized as /tink/. At the end of this research work, Yoruba learners should therefore concentrate on how sounds are pronounced rather than how they are spelt.
1.5 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Quite a number of scholars had made contributions regarding the factor responsible for the difficulties in the realization of some fricative sounds such as lv, z, θ, d, 3,/. This out rightly is the centre core of this research work.
The difficult sounds as listed above are sometime correctly articulated in words by some Yoruba users of the English fricatives, while others or a few use them wrongly. These therefore, form the tasks which this research work seeks to provide answer(s) to. In lieu of this, the research work shall seek various and the possible reason for these noticeable problems among second language speakers of English.
1.6 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The theoretical framework for this research is phonology. Phonology is said to be the study of some sounds system of a particular language. It can equally be said to be the study of human sounds with due regard to their patterning and function in a particular language.
Phonology is a level or pattern of linguistic arrangement of significant sounds into a meaningful production of significant sound for their phonetics.
The basic unit of phonology is called phoneme which is defined as the sound system of a language that can keep utterance apart. There are some principal rules used to establish the phonemes of any Yoruba language.
· Contrast through minimal pairs
· Complementary Distribution
· Phonetic similarity.
Finally, phonemes are realized and achieved differently. As a phonetician there is an account for different realizations.
1.7 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothetical statements shall be tested at the end of this research.
H1: Yoruba learners of English pronounce some sounds according to their understanding.
H2: Some Yoruba users of the English fricative do not recognize minimal pair
H3: Most voiced fricative sounds are usually difficult to articulate by Yoruba speakers of English.
H4: Voiceless fricatives are easily articulated by the Yoruba speaker of the English Language.
H5: Consonant cluster usually serves as barriers to most Yoruba speakers of the Fricatives.
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