Ibibio language is mainly spoken in the Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria and its environs by about 5 million speakers (Essien 2000: 5). The Western Itam variety of Ibibio which is the focus in this investigation has 14 phonemic consonants and 9 phonemic vowels, considering only the single units. This investigation aimed to establish the assimilatory processes employed by Ibibio children of 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 years when trying to attain the adult target or forms. The investigator tested her subjects on 12 phonetic vowels and 21 phonetic consonants. She used 50 subjects for her work (25 males and 25 females), using an imitation method of data collection. Her study reveals the following assimilatory processes in Ibibio children's speech: homorganic nasal assimilation (of both vowels and consonants), nasalisation (of both vowels and consonants), voicing, labialisation, etc. Among the assimilatory processes in the subjects' speech, the most predominant among the vowels is the homorganic nasal assimilation, while voicing is the most common among the consonants. Different age groups prefer using different voiced sounds as substitutes to their voiceless counterparts. The results serve as the standard for the study of language disorders in children in general and in Ibibio children in particular.
Selected Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: Shifting the Center of Africanism in Language Politics and Economic Globalization
edited by Olaoba F. Arasanyin and Michael A. Pemberton
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