Phonological Outcomes of Yoruba and English Contact on Urhobo

  • Nkechi Ukaegbu University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Bestman Odeh University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Ifeanyi Nwosu University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Keywords: Contact Linguistics, Phonological change, Loan words, Language change, Urhobo (Nigeria)


The multi-lingual nature of Nigeria has made it typical that speakers of two or more languages have to interact with each other, and this natural phenomenon results in various degrees of linguistic, cultural, and social influences which are dependent on the dominance of the languages in contact. This study looks at one of the linguistic outcomes that result in such contact situations amongst Yoruba, English, and Urhobo in the Urhobo speech communities of Delta State. It also examines the possible implications of these adaptations for language change. Since phonological change is a universal characteristic of languages that may have far-reaching influences, when words are borrowed in the morphology as well as the syntax of languages, this study delimits its scope to examining specifically the phonological outcomes of English and Yoruba on Urhobo using some selected loan words. Data is elicited from interviewing six language consultants, who were also made to produce established loan words to evaluate how they are adapted into the structure of Urhobo. Findings show that phonological features like insertion (prosthesis and paragoge), syllable structure change, phonological substitution, free variation, and deletion are observed as these English loan words are adapted to suit the phonological structure of Urhobo. In contrast, the loan words from Yoruba are assimilated with little change into Urhobo.

Author Biographies

Nkechi Ukaegbu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Ukaegbu, Nkechi Mgbodichinma is a Lecturer and PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics, Igbo and Other Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She has published a number of works in JOLAN and other University Journals in Nigeria. She currently holds a membership status in Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN), Acoustics Society of Nigeria (ASON), Association of Phoneticians and Phonologists in Nigeria (APPN), Nigerian Ecolinguistics Association (NEA) and a student membership in Linguistics Society of America (LSA). Her research interests include Phonetics (Acoustics) / Phonology, Language Documentation, Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics.

Bestman Odeh, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Odeh, E. Bestman is a Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics, Igbo and Other Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His areas of specialization is Morphology and Syntax. He has published some articles which include Lexical Ambiguity in Urhobo, Pluralisation Strategies in Urhobo and An Anthropological Approach to Urhobo Anthroponyms. Bestman is a member of Igbo Scholar Forum and JOLAN in Nigeria.

Ifeanyi Nwosu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Nwosu, Ifeanyi John is a Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics, Igbo and Other Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.  He holds B. A and M.A degrees in Linguistics from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. He is currently a PhD candidate at the same University. He specializes in Morphology, Syntax and Semantics. He has published in journals like: JLTR, JOLAN, IDEAL and has attended many conferences. Ifeanyi is a member of the Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN).


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2026-6596