The thesis entitled “A Morphological Analysis of Loan Words among Yoruba Speakers of English in Kaduna Metropolis” is a documentation and analysis of some English, Hausa and Arabic loan words in Yoruba language. The study is propelled by the following observations: that a large part of the vocabulary of the Yoruba Language are loan words from other languages particularly the English, Hausa and Arabic languages due to language contact in a heterogeneous society, that these loan words are basically as a result of the need for new designations and identity and that these loan words have been domesticated and are generally used by the Yoruba speakers according to their profession, religion and even their level of literacy in Kaduna metropolis. The work therefore, finds out the extent to which language contact through Urbanisation has influenced loaning of words and how some words have been integrated into the vocabulary of the speakers and hence give some forms of identity. The source of data for the research is primary source which involves the participant observation method and tape recording of utterance. The researcher discovered that there are very many English, Hausa and Arabic loan words in the Yoruba language and that in the course of integrating these loan words, they (the loan words) experienced adjustment in line with the morphophonemic rules of the Yoruba Language. This study will help to understand the learning problems of students of English Language, teach Yoruba speakers of English better and how the issue of inter language and hence inter lingual errors or even errors arising from interference can be tackled.



Title page .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. i

Declaration .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ii

Certification .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. iii

Dedication .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. iv

Acknowledgments .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. v

Abstract .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. vi

Table of Contents .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. vii



Background to the Study ..............1

1.2 Aim of the Study .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 3

Statement of the Research Problem..........3

Research Questions..............4

Justification for the Study............4

Scope and Delimitations ..............5


2.0 Review of Related Literature

2.1 Introduction .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 5

Effects of Urbanisation..............6

Causes of Urbanisation..............12

The Process of Urbanisation............13

Language Contact and Linguistic Change........15

The Concept of Linguistic Borrowing..........17

Challenging the Term “Borrowing”..........20

2.7.1 Direct Borrowing .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 23

2.7.2 Indirect Borrowing .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 23

Universality of Word Borrowing..........24

Other Ways of Vocabulary Enrichment in Language....26

Reasons for Linguistic Borrowing..........29

History and Development of Borrowing of Words......35

Borrowing / Loaning Strategies ............37

Theoretical Framework..............38

2.14 Summary .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 44


3.0 Methodology

3.1 Preamble .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 45

3.2 Research Procedure .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 45

3.3 Survey Method .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 45

3.4 Sampling Procedure .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 46

3.5 Subjects .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 46

3.6 Collection of Data .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 46

3.7 Recording .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 47

3.8 Method of Data Analysis .. .. .. .. .. .. 48


4.0 Data Analysis

4.1 Introduction .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 49

4.2 English Words Adopted by Yoruba Speakers .. .. .. 49

English Words Related to Education/School......49

English Words Related to Technology........50

English Words Related to the Home..........51

English Words Related to Clothes/Clothing......52

English Words Related to Colours..........52

Other English Loan Lexical Items..........53

English Words Related to the Days of the Week......55

English Words Related to Festivals/Celebrations......56

English Words Related to Food/Fruits........56

English Words Related to Health/medicine......57

English Names Related to Kinship Terms........57

Hausa and Arabic Loan Words Adopted by

Yoruba Speakers in Kaduna Metropolis.. .. .. .. .. 58

Words Relating to Hausa Proper Names Adopted

by Yoruba Speakers.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 58

Arabic Words Relating to Religion and Belief System....61

Hausa Words Relating to Food Adopted by Yoruba Speakers..62

Names of the Seven Days of the Week Borrowing/Loaned by Yoruba Speakers from Hausa Language ....63

General Survey of List of Other Words of Hausa Origin Borrowed

by Yoruba Speakers .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 64

Implications of Yoruba Language Borrowing Words from English,

Hausa and Arabic Languages .. .. .. .. .. .. 65

A Survey and Analysis of Data to test the Intelligibility of some of the Words in the South-West ......66

Analysis of Recorded Utterances..........67

Borrowed/Loaned Words Recorded on Kaduna Polytechnic and its Academic Activities......67

Recorded Utterances at Home on the Presentation of Gift Items ..69

Utterances Recorded in a School Environment......70

Speech Utterances Recorded at Home on Computer Knowledge ..73

Speech Utterances Recorded in an Office on Nigeria’s Election ..74

4.9 Findings .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 75


5.0 Summary and Conclusion

5.1 Summary .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 78

5.2 Findings .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 79

5.3 Recommendations .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 82

5.4 Need for Further Study .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 83

5.5 Conclusion   .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 83

BIBLIOGRAPHY .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 85

APPENDIX .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 89



Many children born in Nigerian urban areas are exposed to two to more languages because of the heterogeneous nature of the cities/towns. One of such languages is the language of the environment; the other may be their mother tongue L1, English language which is the official language of the country and bits of Arabic language which is the language of Islam. That is if Islam is one of the predominant religions in the metropolis.

Kaduna metropolis used by the researcher as the scope is a cosmopolitan city and hence heterogeneous in nature. This influences language use among the speakers in the metropolis due to the contact of different languages. A child born in this environment is exposed to a minimum of two other languages aside his mother tongue. They include Hausa (language of the environment) and English language (official language of the nation and medium of instruction) and Arabic used for worship among the Muslim faithful.

Language contact occurs in a variety of phenomena which include language convergence, and re-lexification, other products include: pidgin, creoles, code-switching, code-mixing etc. Banjo, (1983), Madaki, (1983), Pariola (1983) in Olaoye (1991), also state that, when languages come into contact, a variety of phenomena take place which are bilingualism, borrowing, re- lexification, code-switching, code-mixing and perhaps language death. This

research focuses more on word borrowing/loaning as a phenomenon of language contact.

Code switching as defined by Myers-Scotton, & Ury, (1977) is the practice of moving between the variations of languages in different contexts. Scotton (1988) uses level of social significance to distinguish between code switching and borrowing. Scotton seems to suggest that, the use of a borrowed item is code switching until enough speakers use it and the item is accepted by native speakers into their dictionary.

Due to the nature of this town (Kaduna), it was observed that a large number of Yoruba speakers neither speak nor understand the standard Yoruba dialect. The vocabulary of such speakers is greatly affected by the encroachment and heavy borrowing/loaning of English and Hausa words as these are the predominant languages spoken in the city due to the different languages coming into contact. Fragments of Arabic words are also inherent in the vocabulary of such speakers.

Therefore, this has motivated the researcher to look at the borrowed/ loaned words that have been integrated into the vocabulary of these speakers, the morphological adjustments made to the loaned words and more importantly, the linguistic effects of language borrowing/ loaning on Yoruba speakers of English in Kaduna metropolis.


This study analyses the morphological adjustments of the loaned lexical items by collecting data from (English, Hausa and Arabic languages) that have been integrated into the vocabulary of Yoruba speakers and the effects of language borrowing/loaning on Yoruba speakers of English language in Kaduna metropolis.

The study therefore,

i. analyses the morphological adjustment of the loaned items.

ii. identifies some English, Hausa and words that have been integrated into the vocabulary Yoruba bilinguals.

iii. finds out how intelligible the borrowed/loaned lexical items are to Yoruba speakers in the South-West and

iv. looks at the linguistic effects of language borrowing/loaning on Yoruba speakers of English in Kaduna metropolis.


The coming in contact of two or more languages makes the borrowing/ loaning of some concepts inevitable as this is done to expand the communicative capacity of one language and adversely cause the death/decay of another language. Speakers also loan words to fill some social vacuum of acceptability and integration into a society. The loaned words are often nativized into the speakers’ vocabulary and as a result, the speaker produces a hybrid or a distinct form of a language. It is on this premise that this research shows that a distinct form of Yoruba therefore,

exists in Kaduna as a result of borrowing which itself results from contact between the Yoruba spoken here and other languages.


The questions the researcher tried to answer are:

i. What are the processes of morphological adjustments made to the loaned items?

ii. How are these loaned words from English, Hausa and Arabic integrated into the vocabulary of the speakers?

iii. How intelligible are these borrowed/loaned lexical items to Yoruba speakers of English in the South-West?

iv. What are the linguistic effects of language borrowing/loaning on Yoruba speakers of English in Kaduna metropolis?


According to Garba (1979) no language in any society which has come in contact with any other society or societies is entirely pure. All such languages have adopted some loan words from other languages. This means that for Yoruba to have come in contact with English and other languages through urbanisation shows that speaking of standard Yoruba by these bilinguals will be difficult. Instead, the urban or hybrid variety will be heard in the speeches of these bilinguals.

The researcher therefore dwells more on the morphological analysis of loan words on Yoruba speakers of English language, finds out how the

borrowed/loaned words have been integrated in the vocabulary of its speakers and the linguistic effects the borrowed/ loaned items have on the speakers. The morphophonemic rules of English and Yoruba languages have been used for the analysis of the data.


The study is a morphological analysis of loan words on Yoruba speakers; and it is limited to educated Yoruba bilinguals in Kaduna metropolis. It does not cover other aspects of language choice, language attitude and language shift. For instance, the population sample is fairly representative and a fairly large corpus of data was gathered.





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