A Morphophonological Adaptation of English Loanwords to Ng’aturukana
Nkieny, Tioko Celestine
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This study is a morphophonological investigation of English loanwords adaptation in Ng’aturukana of northwestern Kenya. English and Ng’aturukana are two distinct languages that present dissimilarities at the phonemic, syllabic and structural levels. For this reason, the study set out to, first, identify English nouns in the selected semantic fields in Ng’aturukana, secondly, investigate whether English loanwords in Ng’aturukana acquire distinct genders and inflect for number within the constraints of Ng’aturukana and thirdly, describe the morphophonological changes undergone by the borrowed English nouns when incorporated into Ng’aturukana system. The study employed Optimality Theory (OT) whose main claim is that any language grammar can independently handle any form of borrowed lexemes through the faithfulness and markedness constraints. The primary data was collected in four semantic fields of education, trade, health and technology using semi-structured interviews, observation and researcher’s intuition. Secondary data was gathered from documents and the latest Ng’aturukana biblical translations. Some of the key findings of this study are; one, Ng’aturukana has borrowed native English words into its system for items/objects that are non-native to the Turkana world and two, Ng’aturukana marks grammatical gender in all the loanwords. Three, the borrowed English loanwords are morpho-phonologically adapted to fit to be Ng’aturukana through satisfaction of constraints in Ng’aturukana. The study is expected to contribute to the understanding of Ng’aturukana morphophonemics, especially on grammatical gender and number, hence, any Ng’aturukana language learners and researchers can benefit from it. The study can also be useful in comparative loanwords adaptation studies within the Nilotic and different languages families cross-linguistically.