A Study of English Phonology of Yoruba Speakers of English as a Second Language: A Re-examination of some Linguistic Problem Areas.

Dairo, Anthony Lekan (1985)


Over the years linguists have discovered some sounds that constitute problems for Yoruba speakers of English as a second language and such sounds have been found to be responsible for the deviations in their English speech performances. The contrastive linguists who have worked so far on Yoruba-English comparison have limited their efforts to the standard forms of the two languages. The present study is a further contribution to the work of earlier contrastive linguists but it has gone a bit beyond in its polylectal approach to the phonological problems of Yoruba speakers and users of English as a second language. This study considers three different dialects of Yoruba in its comparison of Yoruba and English and it tries to explain the various substitutions made by Yoruba speakers for the sounds which are either absent in their own language or which generally constitute problems for them. The three dialects considered in this study are the Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti dialects. In the course of the study it was discovered that the substitutions made by Yoruba speakers vary according to their dialect backgrounds and that some of the sounds absent in the ‘standard’ form of Yoruba are not necessarily absent in all its dialects. It is therefore necessary for linguists to always consider second language learners’ dialect backgrounds for an exhaustive study of their phonological problems. This type of polylectal study would cater for an in-depth description of what actually happens when second language learners learn and use the target language.