Sound alternations and communication effectiveness among certain Igbo-English speakers of Anambra State

V.C. Onumajuru, E. A. Eze


The paper examines sound alternations or interchange of sounds in some English words as realized by Igbo-English speakers of some communities in Anambra State. Discussing language acquisition in children, Chomsky (1965:200-201) observes that every normal child is genetically endowed with the language faculty which incorporates grammatical principles of Universal Grammar (UG). These innate universal principles have two functions namely: (a) enable children to acquire language quite successfully even though no special care is taken to teach them and no special attention is given to their progress and (b) constrain the application of every grammatical operation in every language. Despite the genetic endowment of humans with language faculty, the linguistic performance in English of some Igbo native speakers wobbles even after series of formal education. The major difficulty of these Igbo-English speakers is in the articulation of some sounds that are positionally interchanged in English words. Sometimes, the interchange causes communicative barriers as it produces a different meaning to the intended meaning of the speaker. This paper highlights the occurrence of the sound alternations in English words and discusses the resultant communicative barrier of the phenomenon, also referred to as interference. Various samples of words containing the alternated sounds are produced; each speaker’s actualizations of the words are placed side by side with his intended realizations of the same words. Evidence from the analyses of the word samples shows that the interlocutor is often misled and deceived when he/she relies completely on the actual realizations of the locutor.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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