Presented To

Department of English and Linguistics


This study has set out to find the influence of Yoruba Language on the sound system of spoken English Language among the indigenous Ilorin Yoruba undergraduate students. It was to find out the features that distinguish Ilorin Yoruba accent from the Received Pronunciation. The Recorded speech of fifty selected undergraduate students from three universities within Ilorin was used. Students who were native of Ilorin and who have spent at least two academic years in higher institution were sampled. Phonological approach was used using snowball sampling technique. It was discovered that phonological features of Nigerian English such as substitution, under-differentiation, spelling pronunciation, epenthesis and simplification, of consonant cluster were the common features found in the oral English of the samples. The English of the samples has been affected by their L1



10   Introduction

11  Statement of the Research Problem

12 Purpose of the Study

13  Justification

14   Scope of the Study

15   Methodology

16   Data Description



20   Introduction



Levels of Phonology

Phonological Theories

231        Phonemic Theory

232        Generative Phonology

233        Metrical Phonology

Dependency Phonology


Optimality Theory

English Phonemes

Pure Vowel Sounds

24   Diphthong Sounds

24   Consonant Sounds

25   Yoruba Pohonemes

251 Vowel Sounds

252 Consonant Sounds

26    Differences Between English And Yoruba Phonenes

Consonant Sounds

Vowel Sounds

Status of the Language Under Study

English Language

Yoruba Language

28   Nigerian English

29 Features of the Phonology of Nigerian English

291 Segmental Features

292 Suprasegmental Features

210 Interference


30 Introduction

Data Analysis

311        Substitution

312: Under Differentiation

313 Spelling Pronunciation

314       Epenthesis

315: Simplification of Consonant Cluster

32: Discussion

33 Summary of the Chapter


41 Summary

42   Findings

43 Conclusion

44   Recommendation


        Appendix 1




To correct the wrong pronunciation of English words in many Nigerian students, particularly among the Ilorin indigenous Yoruba students demands extra effort and great attention This is because, it is observed that this problem is  the result of the features found in their indigenous languages which are transferred to the sound system of the English language Their English phonetics reflects the structure of the sound system of their mother tongue (Osisanwo, 2009)   With respect to this, we shall discuss the term phonology

Phonology is the study of the sound system of a Language It is the study of the properties of the sound system of a given language It is the systematic study of how the speech sounds function and are organized in human languages Hyman (1975, P1) cited by Osisanwo (2009,P3) says that, the goal of phonology is to study the properties of the sound system which speakers must learn and internalize in order to use their language for the purpose of communication To Oyebade (1998, p2) ‘phonology is the scientific study of the arbitrary vocal symbol used in human speech and the pattern into which these symbols produce intelligent, meaningful utterances’ To summit up, Akmajian et al (2008, p109) said: ‘phonology is the subfield of linguistics that studies the structure and patterning of sound in human language’

Speakers of Nigerian English are still facing a lot of pronunciation problems as a result of their L1 influence on their spoken English (Alabi, 2007) So many works have been done on the segmental features of the phonology of Nigerian English such as Utin (2009) based on the Anang accent of English language Jowith (1991) studied the phonology of Nigeria English used Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages but this work will pay attention to Ilorin Yoruba accent of English


This work is set out to find the impact of Yoruba language particularly the Ilorin Yoruba dialect on the phonology of English language That is, it is to check the influence of the Ilorin Yoruba dialect on the sound system of English language at the segmental level In other worlds, this work will find out the English phonemes which are mispronounced by the Ilorin indigenous Yoruba students


The aim of this study is to find out the influence of Ilorin Yoruba dialect (a variety of Yoruba language) on the phonology of standard British English (RP) That is, the changes that may likely occur as a result of the contact of the Ilorin Yoruba dialect and English language In other words, this work is to search for the features that distinguish the phonology of Nigeria English variety from the Received Pronunciation These features shall be identified from the recorded speech collected and analyzed  We hope to provide solution to bridge the gap in the differences


A lot of research works have been done on phonological interference This work is to add to the efforts that have been made Our concentration is on this topic because much has not been done particularly on the phonological interference of Ilorin indigenous Yoruba dialect and English language Also the cosmopolitan nature of Ilorin Yoruba draws our interest This work shall help the Ilorin indigenous Yoruba students and other readers on their spoken English


Phonology can be handled from different angles Its segmental aspect can be treated, attention can be paid to only suprasegmental aspect and the two levels can be jointly discussed This research work shall direct its focus on the segmental phonology Due to time, financial constraints and for effective result we shall limit our study domain to three universities within Ilorin These are: university of Ado-Ekit (Ilorin chapter), Al- Hikman University and University of Ilorin Fifteen students shall be selected all together from these Universities


This word shall make use of recorded speech of fifty selected undergraduates from three universities in Ilorin These are; Ado- Ekit University (Ilorin chapter), Al- Hikman University and university of Ilorin Samples are selected using snowball sampling techniques as a result of the limited number of accessible students Only students that are native of Ilorin and have spent at least two academic sections in higher institution are sampled

A theoretical application shall be phonemic theory, a phonological approach will be explored to analyze the samples In this regard, elements such as substitution, under-differentiation, spelling pronunciation, epenthesis and simplification of consonant cluster that constitution the phonological features of Nigerian English will be deplored

Each of these elements will be applied across the data and any deviation from the RP will be under lined Tabular form shall be used for the comparison


Ilorin town is in the south western part of   Nigeria It lies along Lagos to Kaduna high way Kaduna (Oloru, 1998) In the past Ilorin town comprised different linguistic groups who spoke different language such as Fulfulde, Hausa, Nupe, and Yoruba as their first language But today, all these linguistic group speak Yoruba as their first language This  means Yoruba language because a dominant language in Ilorin town As a of this process of language shift, the Ilorin Yoruba dialect is different from other Yoruba dialect such as Ekiti, Ijebu Ondo, Oyo dialect etc (Jimoh, 1994)


Finally the sound system of English and Yoruba language shall be treated This will enable us to know the differences between the sound systems Also it will assist us to determine the causes of the influence of which may likely occur in the spoken English of indigenous Ilorin Yoruba students as pL2 learners Phonology of Nigerian English, phonetics and phonology shall be discussed in their next chapter

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