Peculiar Patterns of Juxtapositional Assimilations in Educated Nigerian Spoken English Variety

  • Ubong E. Josiah
  • Taiwo Soneye


Research into the specific phonological features that distinguish Educated Nigerian Spoken English (ENSE) within the purview of the New Englishes is still scarce. In particular, there is hardly any systematic, corpus-driven study on the juxtapositional assimilatory processes in Nigerian English to date, hence this current study. Its main objective is to examine the variety of English spoken by university students categorized as "Educated Nigerian English" (see Eka 1985, 2000; Odumuh 1987; Udofot 2004) and to identify patterns of juxtapositional assimilation that are peculiar to it. This is with a view to increasing the quantum of available data on this variety of English. The study is based on the corpus gathered from one hundred final-year university students from five Federal Government-owned universities in Nigeria. The respondents were drawn from nineteen linguistic groups including the three major Nigerian languages (Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo) and some "minor-group" and "medium-group" languages (see Egbokhare 2003). Such a selection is an attempt to make the data fairly representative of the different parts of Nigeria because of its densely multilingual nature. The study adopts both the taxonomic and generative approaches for its framework. The findings from the research reveal, among others, that 66% of the experimental group (EG) representing Nigerian respondents realized watch you /wɒtʃ juː/ as /wɔtʃ dʒu:/, eliding the palatal glide /j/, and replacing it with the palato-alveolar affricate /dʒ; and 59% of them articulated coach him /kəʊtʃ hɪm/ as /kotʃim/ with the [–h] deletion – expressions not found in the "Control", which is an exponent of the Standard British English (SBE). The work draws the conclusion that Educated Nigerian Standard English is largely endonormative and indicative of an emerging Nigerian English variety.
Josiah, U. E., & Soneye, T. (2011). Peculiar Patterns of Juxtapositional Assimilations in Educated Nigerian Spoken English Variety. Linguistik Online, 70(1).