Aspects of phonological constraints on the English of Igala students in selected schools in Kogi State, Nigeria


  • James Iorliam Udaa
  • Jibrin Alewo Aliyu


Background: Igala-English speakers produce sounds in their communicative English that are not identical with standard English to the extent that this sometimes leads to communication breakdown. Despite this, scanty literature exists on the areas in the spoken English of Igala-English users where the influence of the Igala language occurs.

Objectives: This study sought to identify the different ways in which mother tongue affects the spoken English of Igala speakers; it investigates specific English speech sounds Igala speakers find difficult to articulate; and suggests possible ways of minimizing such phonological constraints.

Methodology: In order to determine the likely areas in spoken English that are problematic to the subjects during communicative event, oral tests, textbooks, and online textual materials were used. Primary data were obtained from oral tests conducted among twenty (20) students from Holy Rosary College and Secondary Commercial College, both in Idah, Kogi State. Two classes were selected in each of these schools: SS1 and SS3, since the former marks the entry point into senior secondary and the latter marks the exit from senior secondary when a higher level of competence would have been attained. Results: It was found that the Igala language lacks certain English sounds in its phonemic inventory; hence, the phonological constraints (or mother tongue influence) on the spoken English among Igala students.

Unique contribution: Unlike previous studies which paid more attention to comparative analyses, specific sound segments that pose challenges for the Igala-English speakers were identified and pedagogical approaches to overcoming them were suggested.

Conclusion: The causes of the problems of mother tongue influence among Igala-English learners are due to the differences in phonemic systems of Igala and English.  




How to Cite

Udaa , J. I. ., & Aliyu, J. A. . (2019). Aspects of phonological constraints on the English of Igala students in selected schools in Kogi State, Nigeria. Ianna Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies , 1(1), 1-23. Retrieved from