Phonology in the basilect the fate of final consonants in Liberian Interior English


  • John Victor Singler


Liberian Interior English, Mande, creole, substrate, phonology


Pidginized Liberian Interior English (LIE) has English as its lexifier language and Mande languages as its substrate. Broadly speaking, this means that LIE takes its lexicon from English and its phonology from Mande. However, the structure of English words clashes with Mande syllable structure conditions, particularly with regard to word-final consonants. To resolve this conflict, LIE has in some cases restructured the English words and in others created phonological rules to make underlying English forms more Mande-like on the surface. These rules include paragoge (for verbs only), resyllabification, and deletion. In the present study, a variable-rule analysis of LIE performance data identifies the crucial linguistic and social factors that bear upon rule choice, thereby making possible a linguistic assessment of regularities in the rules' distribution.