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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica

Journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics

Ed. by van Nahl, Astrid

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A proposed order of historical emergence of Esan speech varieties

Ikoyo-Eweto Evarista Ofure
Published Online: 2016-11-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2016-0008


Significant studies on the sound systems of Edoid languages have been conducted, but studies of the internal relations that may exist within them are rare. Linguistic and nonlinguistic correlates of Northern Edoid features have been identified, thereby laying out broad phonetic and phonological indices for identifying this group of languages. Esan is classified as North Central Edoid. The goal of this study is to address the need to further define internal linguistic relations within the languages which constitute this linguistic group. Specifically, this study seeks to identify an order of historical emergence of identified Esan speech varieties.

The study is lexicon based. Data were gathered from one adult native speaker from each of the twelve identified Esan speech varieties making a total of twelve informants. The Ibadan word list of 400 basic items served as an instrument. Available data were transcribed in phonetic tradition and subjected to sound identification procedures. A comparative analysis of the sound systems which emerged for each identified Esan speech variety, separated them into eight groups in the following order: Udo-Ugboha-Ubiaza; Ebhoato-Igueben-Ilushi; Uromi; Ekpoma; Ohordua; Ogwa; Irrua; Ugbegun. The first group of Esan speech varieties exhibit speech sound characteristics that indicate that it is an earlier form of the language. Ubiaza exhibited further linguistic indices to suggest that it predates its counterpart Esan varieties.

Although this study is not aimed at reconstructing Esan, its findings serve as input to such a goal as well as to dialect studies of the language. It provided an avenue for the documentation of Esan speech forms. The outcome of this study contributes to further similar linguistic studies on Esan and other Edoid Languages.


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-11-17

Published in Print: 2016-11-01

Citation Information: Dialectologia et Geolinguistica, Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 145–156, ISSN (Online) 1867-0903, ISSN (Print) 0942-4040, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2016-0008.

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