Weight Sensitive Factor in the English Syllabic Consonants of Educated Edo (Nigerian) English as Reflection of Non-Native English
Languages of publication
Nigerian English (NE) has been observed to have a major area of deviation from Standard English (SE) especially in its spoken form. In SE also, it is an established phonological phenomenon that a vowel in an unstressed syllable position get totally elided at word boundaries, or is replaced by syllabic consonants. Earlier studies on Edo English phonology, a sub-variety of NE have been on word stress and variable stress. Studies on English syllabic consonants have been rare. Therefore, this study sets to affirm Educated Edo English (EEE) speakers’ level of conformity to this established phenomenon in SE. Two Standard English speakers were used as Native Baseline while three hundred final year university undergraduates were purposively sampled from South West Nigeria. Each of the respondents was made to produce 20 English prepared items on the subject matter into a Speech Filing System (SFS), version 1.41. This was subjected to auditory and instrumental analysis. Auditory analysis revealed that EEE speakers’ could not alternate stressed and unstressed syllables of the English words with syllabic consonants appropriately as findings revealed 4.2% overall performance for EEE speakers, with males performance at 2% and females 2.2%. Native baselines' alternation established 100% performance as a result of their native intuition. The perceptual and instrumental analyses revealed that EEE speakers rendered the syllables with syllabic consonants as peaks, showing quantity weight due to the inability to alternate between stressed and unstressed syllables of words with syllabic peaks. Perceived instances for EEE speakers are ˈkɔmfɔtei[bul̩]/ ‘comfortable’ impeachable/ɪmˈpiːtʃei[bul] /responsible/rɪˈspɒnsi[bul̩]/. Results confirm the non- conformity of EEE speakers in the use of syllabic consonants, which is a major phonological phenomenon in SE pronunciation. This further re-confirms the weight sensitive nature of Nigerian English speakers, showing an outer cycle form of English.
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