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PDF The Word in West Africa

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If words are a measure of man, then nowhere are they given more value than when spoken by an elder, the repository of communal wisdom. An elder leads with words, as a bow guides an arrow, and for he who listens, according to the Igbo, it is as if he had consulted an oracle.

From Timbuktu to Trinidad: British Library launches dazzling West Africa show

And so they are, through the rich and resilient traditions of story-telling, myth-making, proverb-creating, praise-singing, so prevalent and exemplary in these cultures. Proverbs and stories are the horsemen, the escorts, the messengers of culture, traversing generations and the boundaries of time.

Opening of West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song - speech by Gus Casely-Hayford

Orature, whether dispersed by the Akan folk spirit of all knowledge of stories, Anansi , or transmitted musically by the traditional griots of West Africa, is dynamic. Culture , Language Daybo 15 April Untitled painting by Valente Malangatana Ngwenya.

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Painting by Cecil Skotnes. Full vowel qualities are given, largely dependent on the spelling. Word-final voiced obstruent plosive, fricative, and affricate sounds may be devoiced e. According to Jowitt, elision is less stigmatized than epenthesis amongst acrolectal speakers of Nigerian English. Where elision occurs, it is most likely to be the final consonant of the coda cluster, and shown in OED as a bracketed sound if the cluster reduction is variable.

It is similar to e. The likelihood of a more spelling-based pronunciation is assessed on an individual basis.

Word stress is quite different from that found in British or American Englishes. Stress is typically shifted to the right in words such as hygiene, challenge but to the left in extent and despite ; both phonetics and morphology influence stress placement. With no vowel reduction and seemingly more equal syllable durations, most West African Englishes appear to be more syllable-timed than stress-timed.

Gut directs readers to several additional sources on the interaction between tone and intonation for those speakers of tone languages.

Sources and Further Reading

Source language tones are one of several factors considered in determining the stressed syllable s of OED WAfE transcriptions, but lexical stress is more nuanced than tone alone and is assessed case-by-case based on all-round prominence. Asabea Anderson, J. Codifying Ghanaian English: problems and prospects.

Why West Africa's pidgins deserve full recognition as official languages

In: T. Hoffman and L. Siebers, eds. World Englishes — problems, properties and prospects.

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Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. Bobda, A. Cameroon English: phonology. In: R.

Mesthrie, ed. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. Gut, U. Nigerian English: phonology. West African English.