Vowel deletion in Urhobo culture and tradition: implications for Urhobo language teaching and learning
Williamson (1984:1) states that the spoken language is more basic, more important and more natural than the written language; it has priority over the written language and should be a guide to the written language. Languages do have disparities between these two forms – the spoken and written aspects of language. For example, there are nuances of spoken forms that are usually not acceptable in the written form. Being acquainted with these nuances places the language leaner at an advantaged position to communicate effectively using the oral form of the language. One of such nuances of oral communication in Urhobo is ‘vowel deletion’. This paper is a morpho-phonological description of vowel deletion in Urhobo spoken Language. It aims at providing relevant information which would facilitate or enhance effective teaching and learning of oral communication in Urhobo language. The data used for the study are drawn from authentic materials gathered from native speakers’ oral discourse of some Urhobo vocations and proverbs. For some grammatical reasons vowels can occur in sequence. It was discovered, however that morpho-phonologically, V1 often gets deleted where vowels occur in sequence in Urhobo language.
Keywords: Vowel deletion; morpho-phonology; oral communication; spoken language; authentic materials