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Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Variations of [ɾ] in Dagbani female names

Abdul-Razak Inusah, Evershed Kwasi Amuzu, George Akanlig Pare

Abstract


The article examines the sociolinguistic variations of the alveolar tap [ɾ] in Dagbani female names, a Gur language spoken in the northern part of Ghana. It focuses on how the language is losing the pronunciation of the alveolar lateral /l/ in some female names through sound substitution. The sound [ɾ] does not occur in word-initial position in Dagbani, but it is currently prominent in the pronunciation of some Dagbani female names. The article shows that the pronunciation of the alveolar tap [ɾ] in Dagbani speech communities provides the complexity of linguistic variation and language change. It also reveals that while the alveolar lateral /l/ variety is the prestigious form in Dagbani, the alveolar tap [ɾ] variety is spreading due to the Arabic education in the area. The article supports the Labovian paradigm and presents quantitative analysis of the data. The article suggests that the alveolar tap [ɾ] is frequent in the speech of the younger generation, while the alveolar lateral /l/ is frequent in the speech of the older generation.



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