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A study of hiatus as concept shows that many languages of the world disprefer hiatus while some completely avoid it. Some device strategies for resolving it is cited. Hiatus is a phonological phenomenon where two different vowels occur in a juxtaposition without an intervening consonant has different repair strategies which include vowel assimilation and vowel deletion. Different languages use different strategies in resolving hiatus to suit the nature of their grammars while some use just one of the strategies, some use a few while others may use all of these strategies. Potential vowel hiatus in the Igbo language is resolved by a number of strategies just like other languages of the world. This study establishes the occurrence of hiatus in the Igbo language as well as identifying the hiatus resolution strategies as are applicable in the language. The hiatus resolution strategies in the language includes:-vowel assimilation and vowel deletion are identified a number of words that make up the data obtained. The analysis of the data is the keyed in one of the most current models of phonology-Optimality Theory (OT) whose emergence has brought about various changes in the theoretical trend of phonological subfield and other areas of linguistics. In conclusion, this work is summarize by establishing that Igbo language is hiatus prohibiting language and uses a number of strategies to resolving the disprefered configuration.


Title Page
Table of contents

Chapter one – Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Research Questions
1.4       Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.5       Purpose of the Study
1.6       Significance of the Study

Chapter two - Literature Review
2.0       Introduction
2.1       Theoretical Studies
2.2       Empirical Studies
2.3       Summary of Literature Review

Chapter Three –Methodology
3.0       Introduction
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Area of Study
3.3       Population of the Study
3.4       Method of Data collection
3.5       Instrumentation
3.6       Administration of Instrument
3.7       Theoretical Frame Work
3.8       Method of Data Analysis

Chapter Four- Data Presentation and Analysis
4.1       Introduction
4.2       Presentation of Data
4.3       Analysis

Chapter Five – Summary and Conclusion
5.1       Introduction
5.2       Summary and Conclusion
5.3       Summary of Findings and Discussion
5.4  Recommendation/ suggestion for further Research


1.1       Background to the Study
Phonology is the study of the system of speech sounds in a language. The systematic study of this speech sound in language brought in renewed scholars— Smolensky, Prince Allen, McCarthy, Kagar and others who researched upon various strategies used in languages in dealing with speech sound. The discovery of hiatus in language led to the study of hiatus resolution strategies in various languages of the word. This research work deals with the various strategies used in resolving hiatus in the Igbo language. The phonological theory used in this work is Optimality Theory (OT). Due to the fact that the topic under research requires a theory that is universal in nature owing to the fact that constraints are universal.

According to Casali (1996) Hiatus is a way of breaking vowel clusters. It is a sequence of adjacent vowels belonging to separate syllables. Allen (1987) also notes hiatus as the hetrosyllabic adjacent of two syllabic nuclei.

Furthermore, hiatus is a phonological term referring to the lack of a consonant separating two vowels in a separate syllables which has been a subject of considerable theoretical and empirical discussion and it has generally been observed that hiatus is not an acceptable configuration in many languages of the world including the Igbo language. The Igbo language has a situation whereby certain words or expression contain syllables that are adjacent to each other and which have vowels that are not separated by a consonant. This constitutes the violation of a structural requirement which need to be resolved using a variety of strategies. Some languages do prevent it is occurrence while others seek it’s resolution where it occurs using strategies which may include assimilation, elision, epenthesis and vowel glides. This study therefore investigates these strategies, thus with a view to pine down and explaining these relevant strategies for resolving hiatus in the Igbo language.

1.2        Statement of the Problem
Constraints are structural requirements that may either be satisfied or violated by an output (kager 2009). This means that a form may satisfy a constraint if it fully meets the requirements of that structure, whereas if a form does not meet this requirement, it is said to have violated it. Hiatus is therefore created at the violation of a structural requirement that there must be an intervening consonant between two adjacent vowels. In the Igbo language, hiatus is barred by elision and assimilation using Optimality Theory (OT).

1.3        Purpose of the Study
The aim of this work is to study hiatus resolution strategies in Igbo language within the framework of the optimality theory (OT). To achieve this, the following are the specific objectives:-

(1)    Identifying the occurrence of Hiatus in the Igbo language.

(2)    Presentation of an overview of hiatus resolution strategies in the Igbo language.

(3)  demonstrating the extent to which the OT model can be applied for the resolution of the hiatus in the Igbo language.

1.4      Research Questions
Following the purpose of the study, the under listed research questions are drawn for investigation.

(1)   In what ways can we determine the existence of hiatus in the Igbo language.

(2)   To what phonological strategies can be used for resolving hiatus in the Igbo language.

(3)   To what is extent can optimality theory be used to account for the resolution of hiatus in the Igbo language.

1.5 Significance of the Study
Numerous groups of people are expected to benefit from this work. The target beneficiaries are listed below:

(1)  This work will be of a great asset to researchers in linguistics department for further study of hiatus resolution strategies......

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