International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 278

Full Length Research Paper

Mophophonological changes of borrowed words from English to Lubukusu dialect of Western Kenya

Watera Muambu Evans
  • Watera Muambu Evans
  • Busoga University, 2816-Bungoma, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 18 December 2012
  •  Accepted: 19 September 2013
  •  Published: 30 April 2014


This study set out to investigate how Lubukusu borrows words from English and yet the two differ widely in terms of phonemic inventories. Borrowing of words form English to Lubukusu required assimilation processes to enable the transfer of characteristics of one language into the other. The study identified and described the morphophonological change that the loan words from English go through to fit into Lubukusu speech system and established morphophonological rules that account for the changes. The study adopted the theory Natural Generative phonology (NGP) which was propagated by Hopper (1976) as the theoretical framework. Sampling procedure was used to arrive at the fields most affected and sample population. Eighty speakers of Lubukusu from Bumula Division, Bungoma district were interviewed, ten respondents from each field of Education, Police, Health, Mechanics, commerce, Building and Construction, Religion and domestic. An interview schedule was used in data collection. The loan words were also recorded on a magnetic tape during articulation for the sake of analysis to get a clear picture of their morphophonological structure. The Loan words were transcribed for Morphophonological analysis. It was evident that there were lot of consonantal changes like consonant insertion, consonant deletion and consonant substitution among others. There were also vowel changes that were observed such as vowel deletion, vowel substitution and vowel insertion. No single loan word was found to maintain its original morphophonological structure when it moved from English to Lubukusu in both singular and Plural form. The study contributes to linguistic scholarship in the area of Lubukusu Morphophonemics. The knowledge acquired could be utilized by institutions of higher learning and translation centres. It was recommended that more studies like the current study should be conducted in the rest of the remaining dialects of Luhyia to give a clear picture of how Luhyia borrows words from English and also the suprasegmental level should be considered.
Keywords: Lubukusu, English, higher learning and translation, languages, communication.