A morphophonological analysis of Oluwanga loanwords: an optimality theory account.
Odinga, Jeniffer Naika
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Loanword adaptations are driven by constraints that are part of the grammar of the native language. Despite this, fewer studies have investigated this phenomenon with respect to indigenous dialects of unrelated languages in Kenya. This study therefore intends to undertake a constraint-based morpho-phonological analysis of loanwords during Oluwanga/Luo contact. In this regard, the study will seek to identify and describe the sound adaptations in Oluwanga loanwords from Luo, establish and analyse the phonological processes at play in Oluwanga loanwords, investigate the phonotactics of Oluwanga that constrain borrowing from Luo, describe the morphological adaptations and morphotactics of Oluwanga that constrain borrowing and lastly establish the extent of Optimality Theory’s adequacy in explaining the morphological and phonological adaptations in Oluwanga loanwords. Optimality Theory as proposed by Prince and Smolensky (1993 and 2004) together with the Generalized Alignment Theory by McCarthy and Prince (1993a), will be used in this study. A descriptive linguistic field research design will be used to describe the morphological and phonological adaptation processes. Spoken data will be elicited through group discussion of pictures and unstructured interviews from 36 purposively sampled adults (eighteen males and eighteen females) who are native speakers of Oluwanga. This will be supplemented with participant observation and introspection. The study intends to use four research instruments: a tape recorder to record discussions and interviews, the pictures, field notes and unstructured interview schedule. It is hoped that this study will contribute to the existing literature on borrowing with respect to indigenous languages within the framework of Optimality theory.