LINGUISTIC CHANGE AMONG GHANAIAN ENGLISH SPEAKERS: THE USE OF THE VELAR NASAL CONSONANT

Abstract

This paper presents an examination of linguistic change among students of the English Department of University of Ghana in their use of the velar nasal. Working with the Labovian paradigm of sociolinguistic investigations, this paper focuses on the use of the velar nasal /ŋ/ and any of its variants /ŋg/, /n/ or /ng/ in the readings of the students as influenced by social variables like sex, social status and ethnicity. The paper’s special interest in the use of the velar nasal among the Ghanaian students is premised on the fact that scholarly works on Ghanaian English suggest the nasal velar is hardly realized in Ghanaian English hence the familiarization of students to the sound will elicit linguistic change. The investigation is carried out by analyzing the recordings of readings of the students. This paper establishes three claims in its findings: females use higher frequency of standard forms than their male counterparts at all levels of attention because their attitude towards the use of the prestigious variant; though the higher class (Class 1) use the prestigious variant in casual speech, the lower class tend to respond to linguistic change faster and higher to show overt prestige especially when being observed; and ethnicity largely influence the use of a prestigious form as an ethnic group may engage in a linguistic change to a prestigious code to assert their superiority above their others

Keywords: Ghanaian English, Linguistic change, Social variables, Sociolinguistic


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 16-27 (Download PDF)

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