A phonological analysis of the constraints on the syllable structures of Olunyala
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This is a phonological study on the structure of the syllable. The main objective of this study is the analyses of the syllable structures of Olunyala, a dialect of the Luyia language spoken in Western Kenya. The study had the following three objectives: the first one was to investigate the natural categories of the syllable types in terms of initial, medial and final word positions. The second objective was to investigate if there were any sounds in Olunyala that could not combine to form particular syllable types. The third objective was to investigate the sequential constraints in the formation of Olunyala syllable structures. The study used CV Phonology and Generative Phonology in order to achieve the set objectives. Purposive sampling was used to get the data required for the study. Data collection procedures involved sampling only nouns and verbs because these were the word categories that the researcher needed for the investigation of the syllable. Qualitative methods were used to analyze the data. The qualitative design made it possible for the data to be categorized into nouns and verbs for analysis. Although this was not a comparative study on dialectology, the findings will enable objective generalizations of Olunyala to other Bantu dialects and generally other world languages and thus making a contribution to phonological theory. The results of the study can also be useful to scholars of dialectology and standardization of Luyia dialects because the results will provide a point of reference for Olunyala (K). From the analysis of the data, it was found out that Olunyala has only three syllable structures and that not all of them occur in all word positions. It was also found out that Olunyala has 31 consonant sounds, only 10 of which do not have an internally complex onset. It was also observed that not all the sounds in the language carry equal status. A comparative study on the phonemic inventory of Olunyala and those of other Luyia dialects is recommended to enable an objective comparison of, not only Luyia, but other Bantu languages.