H-deletion and H-insertion in Nigerian Englishes: their sociolinguistic and extralinguistic constraints and their enregisterment as the 'H-factor'
Adeolu, Elizabeth Olushola
Cowie, Claire; Hall-Lew, Lauren
Sociolinguistic studies in terms of variation and enregisterment abound for native speakers'
realisations of shibboleths like h-deletion and h-insertion (e.g., Mugglestone, 1995; Britain,
2002; Lopez, 2007; Ramisch, 2010; Hickey, 2014). However, there is a dearth of
sociolinguistic studies as it relates to 'non-native' varieties of English, more specifically
postcolonial L2 English varieties. This situation has ensured that the considerable
sociolinguistic, and extralinguistic, contexts of such varieties are ignored, and the constraints
and concepts around such shibboleths as h-deletion and h-insertion are assumed to apply
generally to all varieties of English which are treated as a single entity.
This study will explore the sociolinguistic constraints on h-deletion and h-insertion in three
major varieties of Nigerian English (Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo Englishes), one of the
understudied L2 Englishes. There is no comprehensive study into the relevant factors that
influence h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian Englishes. This study will be the first to
explore the range of sociolinguistic factors that can be applied to the study of h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian Englishes, and the extralinguistic factors that influence the phenomena,
including the enregisterment of these variables as what is known as the 'h-factor' in Nigeria.
In this study, I adopt a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to ensure that a true
representation is depicted of the factors that constrain h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian
Englishes and the implications of these factors. I provide analyses of h-deletion and h-insertion
in terms of sociolinguistic factors. I also undertake an enregisterment analysis of these
variables, which have been termed the 'h-factor' and are seen as exclusive to ' and also
indexing ' the identity of one of the major ethnolinguistic groups in Nigeria, the Yorubas
(Jowitt, 1991; Bamgbose, 1995; Udofot, 2011).
Furthermore, I examine what h-deletion and h-insertion mean for the place of Nigerian
Englishes as World Englishes. In this regard, I employ Schneider's (2003, 2007) Dynamic
Model of Postcolonial Englishes with some of the factors introduced in Buschfeld and
Kautzsch's (2017) model of Extra- and Intra-territorial Forces (EIF).
The study employs the International Corpus of English ' Nigeria (ICE-NG) to investigate these
variables across speakers from three major ethnic groups in Nigeria - the Hausas, the Yorubas
and the Igbos. The results show that of the three groups, Yoruba English speakers significantly
produced more h-deletion and h-insertion than Hausa and Igbo English speakers. Even though
the latter groups produced h-deletion and h-insertion, it was to a significantly lesser degree than
Yoruba English speakers.
Overall, variation is influenced by interspeaker and interethnic differences. Concerning the
observed variation, sociolinguistic constraints such as ethnicity, word type, gender, and number
of syllables influenced h-deletion and h-insertion. Extralinguistic factors which emerge from
the enregisterment analysis of h-deletion and h-insertion as what is known as the 'h-factor' in
Nigeria also had implications for h-deletion and h-insertion. Apart from the significant rate of
h-deletion and h-insertion by Yoruba speakers being a reason for the enregisterment of these
shibboleths to index Yoruba identity, it is hypothesised that extralinguistic factors, salient
differences in the use of English, visibility in the media, and Western education among the
groups, also contribute to the indexing of Yoruba identity by shibboleths that are not exclusive
to the group.
In terms of World Englishes models, Schneider's (2003, 2007) Dynamic Model provided more
insight into h-deletion and h-insertion in Nigerian Englishes. Based on this model, the study
determined that Nigerian English was between Phase 3 (nativisation phase) and Phase 4
(endonormative phase) of Schneider's (2003, 2007) Dynamic Model. It is shown that h-deletion and h-insertion are significant sub-ethnic markers of educated Nigerian Englishes and
theorised that this implies that there is as yet no pan-ethnic variety established in the speech of
educated Nigerian English speakers, who are prime examples of the English norm setters in
Nigeria and have been sampled in this study.
In the final analysis, this thesis challenges existing traditional constraints on h-deletion and h-insertion that have tended to treat varieties as a single entity. It also serves as an illustration of
how seemingly different approaches like sociolinguistics and World Englishes can be used to
provide more comprehensive insight into the study of h-insertion and h-deletion and related
studies in 'non-native' varieties of English.
Nigerian English; h-deletion; h-insertion; Yoruba; Yoruba identity; World Englishes model; postcolonial Englishes; pan-ethnic English
The University of Edinburgh
Type of publication|
Thesis or Dissertation; Doctoral; PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Edinburgh - University of Edinburgh
Added to C-A: 2022-01-31;09:41:10|
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