H-deletion and H-insertion in Nigerian Englishes: their sociolinguistic and extralinguistic constraints and their enregisterment as the ‘H-factor’
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date2/20/4/12
Adeolu, Elizabeth Olushola
Sociolinguistic studies in terms of variation and enregisterment abound for native speakers’ realisations of shibboleths like h-deletion and h-insertion (e.g., Mugglestone, 1995; Britain, 2002; Lopez, 2007; Ramisch, 2010; Hickey, 2014). However, there is a dearth of sociolinguistic studies as it relates to ‘non-native’ varieties of English, more specifically postcolonial L2 English varieties. This situation has ensured that the considerable sociolinguistic, and extralinguistic, contexts of such varieties are ignored, and the constraints and concepts around such shibboleths as h-deletion and h-insertion are assumed to apply generally to all varieties of English which are treated as a single entity. This study will explore the sociolinguistic constraints on h-deletion and h-insertion in three major varieties of Nigerian English (Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo Englishes), one of the understudied L2 Englishes. There is no comprehensive study into the relevant factors that influence h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian Englishes. This study will be the first to explore the range of sociolinguistic factors that can be applied to the study of h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian Englishes, and the extralinguistic factors that influence the phenomena, including the enregisterment of these variables as what is known as the ‘h-factor’ in Nigeria. In this study, I adopt a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to ensure that a true representation is depicted of the factors that constrain h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian Englishes and the implications of these factors. I provide analyses of h-deletion and h-insertion in terms of sociolinguistic factors. I also undertake an enregisterment analysis of these variables, which have been termed the ‘h-factor’ and are seen as exclusive to – and also indexing – the identity of one of the major ethnolinguistic groups in Nigeria, the Yorubas (Jowitt, 1991; Bamgbose, 1995; Udofot, 2011). Furthermore, I examine what h-deletion and h-insertion mean for the place of Nigerian Englishes as World Englishes. In this regard, I employ Schneider’s (2003, 2007) Dynamic Model of Postcolonial Englishes with some of the factors introduced in Buschfeld and Kautzsch’s (2017) model of Extra- and Intra-territorial Forces (EIF). The study employs the International Corpus of English – Nigeria (ICE-NG) to investigate these variables across speakers from three major ethnic groups in Nigeria - the Hausas, the Yorubas and the Igbos. The results show that of the three groups, Yoruba English speakers significantly produced more h-deletion and h-insertion than Hausa and Igbo English speakers. Even though the latter groups produced h-deletion and h-insertion, it was to a significantly lesser degree than Yoruba English speakers. Overall, variation is influenced by interspeaker and interethnic differences. Concerning the observed variation, sociolinguistic constraints such as ethnicity, word type, gender, and number of syllables influenced h-deletion and h-insertion. Extralinguistic factors which emerge from the enregisterment analysis of h-deletion and h-insertion as what is known as the ‘h-factor’ in Nigeria also had implications for h-deletion and h-insertion. Apart from the significant rate of h-deletion and h-insertion by Yoruba speakers being a reason for the enregisterment of these shibboleths to index Yoruba identity, it is hypothesised that extralinguistic factors, salient differences in the use of English, visibility in the media, and Western education among the groups, also contribute to the indexing of Yoruba identity by shibboleths that are not exclusive to the group. In terms of World Englishes models, Schneider’s (2003, 2007) Dynamic Model provided more insight into h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian Englishes. Based on this model, the study determined that Nigerian English was between Phase 3 (nativisation phase) and Phase 4 (endonormative phase) of Schneider’s (2003, 2007) Dynamic Model. It is shown that h-deletion and h-insertion are significant sub-ethnic markers of educated Nigerian Englishes and theorised that this implies that there is as yet no pan-ethnic variety established in the speech of educated Nigerian English speakers, who are prime examples of the English norm setters in Nigeria and have been sampled in this study. In the final analysis, this thesis challenges existing traditional constraints on h-deletion and h-insertion that have tended to treat varieties as a single entity. It also serves as an illustration of how seemingly different approaches like sociolinguistics and World Englishes can be used to provide more comprehensive insight into the study of h-insertion and h-deletion and related studies in ‘non-native’ varieties of English.
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