A study of hiatus as a concept shows that many languages of the world disprefer hiatus. While some completely avoid it, some devise strategies for resolving it where it is cited. Hiatus which is a phonological phenomenon whereby two different vowels occur in a juxtaposition withouty an intervening consonant has different repair strategies which include vowel assimilation, vowel elision, epenthesis and diphthong formation. Different languages use different strategies in resolving hiatus to suit the nature of their grammars.hile some use just one of the strategies, some use a few while others may use all of those strategies. Potential vowel hiatus in the Tiv language is resolved by a number of strategies just like other languages of the world This study dwells chiefly on establishing the occurence of hiatus in the Tiv language as well as identifying the hiatus resolution strategies as are applicable in the language. The hiatus resolution strategies in the language which are vowel assimilation, vowel elision and diphthong formation are identified via a number of words that make up the data obtained. The analysis of the data is couched in one of the most current models of phonology – Optimality Theory whose emergence has brought about enormous changes in the theoretical trend of phonological subfield and other areas of Linguistics generally.


Title Page
List of Tables
Tonemarking Convention and Abbreviations
Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction
1.1       Background of the study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Theoretical Framework
1.4       Research Objectives
1.5       Research Questions
1.6       Significance of the study
1.7       The Scope and Limitations of the Study

Chapter 2 - Literature Review
2.0       Preamble
2.1       Theoretical Review
2.2       Fundamental Principles of Optimality Theory
2.3       Hiatus: A Conceptual Explication
2.4       Empirical Studies
2.5       Summary

Chapter 3- Methodology
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Area of Study
3.3       Population of the Study
3.4       Instrumentation
3.5       Sampling Procedure
3.6       Method of Data Collection
3.7       Method of Data Analysis

Chapter 4- Data Presentation and Analysis
4.0       Background
4.1       Hiatus Resolution Strategies: An Overview
4.2       Data Analysis
4.3       Summary

Chapter 5 – Summary and Conclusion
5.0       Preamble
5.1       Summary of Findings
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations/Suggestions for further Research


1.1. Background of the Study
Hiatus, a phonological term referring to two different vowels in separate syllables without a consonant has been a subject of considerable theoretical and empirical discussion and has generally been observed that it is a disprefered configuration in many languages of the world. The Tiv language has a situation whereby certain words or expressions 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 needs to be resolved using a variety of strategies. From an extensive study of hiatus as shall be reviewed in the next chapter, it is a disprefered configuration in many languages. While some languages do prevent its occurrence, others seek a resolution of it where it occurs using different strategies which may include assimilation, elision, diphthong formation, epenthesis and vowel glide. Having discovered this phonological configuration which is disprefered by a number of languages in the world, which is technically referred to as hiatus, the researcher delves into the study of how it can be resolved using phonologically accepted strategies. As a native speaker of the Tiv language, the researcher takes up this virgin research area with a view to pinning down and explaining the relevant strategies for resolving hiatus in the language.

Also important to note is the fact that the phonological theory on which to couch this work is Optimality Theory. This is because the topic under research requires a theory that is universal in nature owing to the fact that constraints are universal (Clark, Yallop & Fletcher 2007:423). OT which is considered as part of Universal Grammar is found most fit to provide a platform on which this study would be anchored.

1.2. Statement of the Problem
According to Kager (1999:9), “constraint is a structural requirement that may either be satisfied or violated by an output form”. 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. Since this constraint is violated therefore, a hiatus is created, hence, the need for the identification of relevant strategies for the resolution of hiatus in the language. In many languages where hiatus is identified and resolution attempts are made, the strategies so employed are based on the different natures of those languages due to linguistic variations. Consequent upon this, this study seeks to provide an Optimality account of the relevant and peculiar strategies that can be used in resolving hiatus in Tiv language.

1.3. Research Objectives
The broad objective of this work is to do an in-depth study of the hiatus resolution strategies in the Tiv language within the framework of the Optimality Theory from a native speaker’s point of view. To achieve this end, the following are the specific objectives of this....

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 65 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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