Monophthongisation and Vowel Lengthening in Educated Ibibio English

Dr. Nkereke M. Essien


The major preoccupation of this paper is to study monophthongisation and vowel lengthening in Educated Ibibio English with a view to explaining the lengthening of vowels in final open stressed syllables. Educated Ibibio English (here after EIE) is an ethnic variety of Nigerian English spoken by literate home-grown Ibibio people in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Monophthongisation is a phonological process whereby one of two vowel elements of a diphthong, usually the second (offset) element, is deleted, leaving the stranded stressed (onset) to be lengthened, if found in final open, stressed syllable. Related works on EIE segments indicate that some Standard British English (SBE) closing diphthongs /?u/ and /ei/ tend to monophthongise to /e/ and /o/, respectively. The study employs the Moraic Theory of Hyman and Hayes which main argument is that the syllable contains neither onset or a rhyme. Rather, every syllable contains one or more Mora. Also, a Speech Filling System (SFS/WASP) Computerized Speech Laboratory was used to interpret Fo curve structure and acoustic duration in order to corroborate findings from perceptual analysis. The study establishes the fact that the monophthongised diphthongs were lengthened becuaseof the need to preserve the weight of the deleted /u/ and /i/ in SBE /ei/ and /??/ diphthongs and also to reflect components of the failing fundamental frequency (Fo) contour of English fnal open syllable.

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