Interlanguage as Linguistic System: Prosodic Evidence from Ìgbò Learners and Users of Yorùbá Tones

Volume 17
Issue 2
Boluwaji Oshodi
The issue of what constitutes the linguistic system that is, the grammatical status of the kind of grammar produced by second language learners has remained a subject of controversy in SLA studies. This type of grammar usually a deviant form of the target language known as interlanguage has been considered by some SLA scholars to be a form of grammar based on its regularity and consistency in terms of the rules involved in its derivation. This study examined the interlanguage grammar of twenty adult Ìgbò native speakers who were L2 learners of Yorùbá with focus on tone marking. Findings revealed that the Ìgbò learners of Yorùbá made use of deviant tones when compared with adult Yorùbá native speakers’ pattern of tone marking. However, there was a kind of regularity and consistency in what is regarded as deviations in the form produced by the Ìgbò subjects. This regularity and consistency confirms that, the occurrence of tones in the interlanguage grammar of Ìgbò L2 Yorùbá are also rule governed like any native language which makes it a form of grammar in its own right. This obviously supports the claim that interlanguage could be a form of grammar in some instances which emanated from the combination of linguistic and innate factors.

Keywords: linguistic system, SLA, Interlanguage, Yorùbá, Ìgbò, Tones