Phonological Processes in Ukwuani
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This paper investigates the phonological processes in Ukwuani, an Igboid language spoken in Delta State, Nigeria. Using the generative phonology theoretical framework, the study examines the changes which segments undergo that result in the surface representation of the underlying forms and the phonological rules that link the underlying to the surface forms. Data were collected from competent collaborators using a 718-word item compiled by Emenanjo and Ogbonna (unpublished) from which generalizations were made. The study reveals among others that, the processes of assimilation, contraction, glide formation, deletion and insertion occur. The processes of assimilation and contraction apply between vowels on either sides of a morpheme boundary. Identical vowels formed by the process of assimilation are contracted into one. Glide formation occurs within and across morpheme boundaries when the structural conditions are met. Within words, it applies to close vowels in an opening sequence, across morpheme boundaries; it applies when there is a close vowel at the end of a boundary, followed by a non-identical vowel. Vowel Insertion takes place to break off consonant clusters and to avoid consonant-final syllables in loan words so as to match the syllable structure patterns which do not allow a CCV or CVC. When two identical consonants occur in loan words, the first consonant is deleted during fast speech. The phonological rules are stated at the end of every process. The study thus, enriches the understanding on how segments interact that leads to the various realization of the segments. The findings are relevant because they inform the language learners how the underlying form can be diverged from the surface forms due to sound interaction. This is useful to further researchers who may want to draw from the findings, the necessary knowledge on Ukwuani phonological processes. It is hoped that such provision of original data would be a useful complementary material.
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