De-evolution of Urban Markedness in Nigerian English Accent(s
While variation in Nigerian English (NigE) accents has been linked to speakers’ ethnicity and education, the effects of corresponding factors such as urbanity and age await assessment. Towards defining their areal implications, this paper investigates the predictive dimensions of age and urban membership in lectal differentiation within the NigE systems. Based on variationist paradigm, patterns of contrast between typically non-contrastive vowels in the system are assessed for speakers living in major municipals. Results support the preservation of fusion between GOOSE and FOOT by younger generation, whereas both age groups are unanimous in the achievement of contrast between FLEECE and KIT, USE and GOOSE, and TRAP and lettER. The patterns thus suggest a budding feature distinction and an urban-driven convergence. More importantly, the near evenness in vocalic trajectories, despite differences in the speakers’ age and cities, confirms the levelling force of Nigeria’s metrolingual climates in dialect emergence.