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English Syllabic Consonants and Quantity Factor in Educated Yoruba Nigerian English

A Akinjobi


This study aimed at investigating the duration and quantity in the realization of the unstressed syllables that have syllabic consonants as peaks in Educated Yoruba English (EYE), a sub-variety of Nigerian English. Three hundred Yoruba speakers of English with not lower than Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) were used as samples for the investigation. The data, gathered by making the subjects read some prepared texts, were subjected to perpetual (auditory) and instrumental analyses. The perpetual analysis derived a generalization based on occurrence counting of sounds produced where syllabic consonants were expected. These were then converted to simple percentages, the highest percentage of each instance taken as norm. To corroborate the findings from perpetual analysis, the vowel sounds substituted for or inserted before the supposed syllabic consonants of two of the words produced by ten of the subjects were measured instrumentally with a PC based speech analysis system, Speech Filing System (SFS) developed at University College, London. The results confirm that syllabic consonants are hardly used as peaks of syllables by Educated Yoruba English speakers as it is the norm in Standard English. Rather, strong vowels are often inserted between the preceding consonant and the supposed syllabic consonant and in few instances substituted for them.