Investigating the Phonological Processes Involved When Yoruba Personal Names Are Anglicized

  •  Eunice Fajobi    
  •  Bolatito Akomolafe    


Personal names, in African context, are not arbitrary. They are like signposts that convey a wide range of invaluable information about the bearers. Also, they are like a ‘social DNA’ that discloses the identity, family background, family history, family vocation and family deity of the bearer (Onadipe, 2012). Sadly however, studies, which are mostly sociolinguistic in perspective, abound to show that some of these given personal names are being anglicized among the younger generation of bearers (Soneye, 2008; Faleye & Adegoju, 2012; Raheem, 2013; Filani & Melefa, 2014). From the standpoint of socio-phonology and using Knobelauch’s (2008) Phonological Awareness as our theoretical framework, this paper investigates the phonological changes that Yoruba personal names undergo when they are anglicized; and their implication for the endangerment of Yoruba language. Perceptual and acoustic analyses of the data sourced from the written and verbalized (as well as recorded) anglicized names of 50 informants from a Nigerian University show “stress-shift” as the major prosodic strategy used by speakers to anglicize Yoruba personal names. Other phonological processes identified include re-syllabification, contraction, elision and substitution; but bearers are not overtly aware of these processes. Findings reveal further that though the “new names” are structurally more English than Yoruba, they are nevertheless pronounced with Yoruba tone by some bearers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1925-4768
  • Issn(Onlne): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
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