A Variationist Study and Mutual Intelligibility Testing of Yoruba and Variants of Ìgbómìnà Dialects in Kwara State, Nigeria

Adetola Elizabeth Atolagbe


This work is a variationist study of Standard Yoruba and variants of Ìgbómìnà dialect spoken in Kwara state. The objectives of this study are to (i) examine the differences between Standard Yoruba and variants in Ìgbómìnà dialect; (ii) investigate variation in Ìgbómìnà dialect at the phonological and lexical levels; (iii). look into the dialectal differences in the Ìgbómìnà dialect;(iv). to examine the factors that are responsible for variations in Ìgbómìnà dialect; (v). to determine the level of mutual intelligibility among the Ìgbómìnà varieties; A variationist theory of empirical linguistics was adopted, and a comparative method of analysis was used. The Ibadan 400-word list was used for the collection of lexicons from two competent native speakers, from the selected towns making a total of sixteen (16) respondents from Ìfélódùn, Ìsin and Ìrépòdùn LGAs. Two respondents from each local government area were interviewed, making a total number of sixteen (16) respondents. The study revealed that: (i) Ìgbómìnà and Standard Yorùbá share a higher percentage of lexical items;(ii). Ìsin and Ìrépòdùn varieties are quite similar in phonemes and lexicons. ; (iii) while the Ìfélódùn variety differs from Ìsin and Ìrépòdùn; and (iv) a geographical distribution of Ìgbómìnà communities and language contact are the factors responsible for the variation in Ìgbómìnà dialect. The study concludes that Ìgbómìnà exhibits variation, the variations however are not significant to disrupt mutual comprehension. One of the contributions of this paper to knowledge is the postulation of a model that whenever there is a movement of a community at the centre to the periphery, there is bound to be changes in their cultural values, social disposition to language use, which will eventually lead to variants of the language being spoken at the centre.


Variationist, Sociolinguistics, Mutual Intelligibility, Variation theory, Comparative approach, Ìgbómìnà

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