Vocalic Sounds Articulation by Selected Nigerian Television Newscasters: A Nigerian RP?

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Vocalic Sounds Articulation by Selected Nigerian Television Newscasters: A Nigerian RP?
CLAREP Journal of English and Linguistics (C-JEL)

Author: Omotosho Moses Melefa
Institution: University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Email: moses.melefa@unn.edu.ng/toshorere@gmail.com


This article accounts for the articulation of vocalic sounds in the speech of selected Nigerian television newscasters. The work discusses how Nigerian newscasters who present network news to Nigerians and the international community articulate vocalic sounds. It argues that their articulation of vowels represents an acrolectal variety of spoken Nigerian English which Jowitt (2015) refers to as “Nigerian RP,” an endonormative model for spoken Nigerian English. Since previous studies on the vocalic system of Nigerian English were done over a decade or two decades ago, there is need for a follow-up empirical study which tracks possible developments in the variety. This article, therefore, tries to track possible developments in articulation of vocalic sounds by Nigerian newscasters within the period 2014–2017, and accounts for the various influences that shape their articulations. The paper, which adopted the acrolectal component of Ugorji’s (2010) trio lects classification, uses downloaded news broadcasts and interview sessions of thirty (30) purposively selected Nigerian television newscasters from YouTube (and tape-recorded where necessary). The data was analysed perceptually, acoustically and statistically. Tokens of occurrence of sound articulations were counted and presented in tables using simple percentage. The data shows that the realisations of monophthongs by 100% of the newscasters largely correspond to RP. The closing diphthongs, /eɪ/, /aɪ/, /aʊ/, /ɔɪ/, were phonemically realised by 98% of the newscasters in the manner of RP. The diphthong, /ʊə/, was reduced to a monophthong by 45% of the selected newscasters, while /əʊ/ was realised as /oʊ/, the American equivalent of the segment, by most of the newscasters. Triphthongs, /aɪə/ and /aʊə/ were realised by 55% of the sampled newscasters in quiet and power respectively.


Vocalic, acrolectal, speech styles, dialectal articulation, Nigerian newscasters, television, Nigerian RP

Pages: 97-118
ISSN: 2698-654-X
ISBN: 978-3-96203-100-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-96203-244-9 (PDF)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.56907/gszzjz7d