Tag Archives: Twi Speakers of English

The Influence of Akan Vowel Harmony on Pronunciation of Native Akan Speakers of English (Published)

Vowel harmony is a major phonological phenomenon in the phonological system of Akan. The vowel harmony rule in Akan is governed by the [ATR] parameter. It is a phonological process of regressive assimilation in Akan. It occurs when [-ATR] vowels are followed by [+ATR] vowels. [+ATR] vowels tend to assimilate [-ATR] vowels on the left, that is, [+ATR] feature spreads leftward to all the preceding [-ATR] vowels in a word. This paper examines the impact of this phonological phenomenon in Akan on the spoken English of native Akan speakers. We formed sentences with 20 English words in which relatively low vowels are followed by relatively high vowels. The 20 native Asante Twi speakers of English from the College of Languages Education, University of Education, Winneba were purposively sampled to read the sentences. The sentences were recorded and impressionistically transcribed and analysed. The results showed that the respondents transferred the Akan vowel harmony rule into their pronunciation of the English words administered.

Keywords: Akan Vowel Harmony, Pronunciation, Twi Speakers of English