Some Aspects of the Ilchamus Phonology
This work of research aims at studying the Ilchamus Phonology. Ilchamus people are among the minority groups in Kenya and therefore it has over the years been viewed as one of the clans of either Samburu or Maasai communities. It is for this reason that not much work has been done in the language. There is really very little done in the study of Ilchamus phonology. The study therefore explores the language of Ilchamus and generates her vowel and consonants inventories and this will open a way for deeper studies into the language. The language being a grey area we hold a few that studying the phonology of the language would be ideal. The study‟s objective include: a detailed describe the vowel and consonant phonemes in the Ilchamus language. The study also intends to find out the phonological processes involving the Ilchamus vowels and finally this work has the obligation to find out the phonological processes involving the Ilchamus Consonants. The methodology used as a tool of data collection for this research was introspection and naturalistic observation. Introspection majorly relies on the researcher‟s knowledge of intuition. The research employed the naturalistic observation where data was gathered from local barazas presided over by council of elders and the area chiefs from Kiserian and Ilng‟arua locations. Church sermons were also of significance help since data was also collected here. It is worth noting that permission was obtained from the relevant autihities before recording was done. The data collected was from the native speakers of the Ilchamus language and before analysis the data was crosschecked by four native who are believed to have the mastery of the sound system of the language. This data was handled within the confines of the Natural Generative Phonology so as to analyse the various phonological processes that exists in the language. In Chapters Two and Three we generated the Ilchamus vowel and consonant inventories respectively. We also used the distinctive features to show the features of each of these segments. The occurrences of both vowels and consonants have been illustrated. This then prepares us for a discussion on the phonological processes in the subsequent chapter. Chapter Four is handy with the analysis of the phonological processes involving vowels as well as the phonological processes involving consonants. Some of the processes that we discussed include vowel, consonant and syllable deletion, vowel harmony, prenasalization, velarization and glide formation with specifics to the formation of the palatal glides. This work has laboured to show the relationship between this processes and how they in some xii instances cut across so as to apply on both vowels and consonants. Various rules to account for various phonological processes in the language of study have been generated. Lastly, this research found out that the phonology of the Ilchamus language is quite a wide field though little attention has been given in the recent past. It was evident that most of the sounds are similar to those of Maa except the existence of the distinction between a a clear /l/ and a dark /l/. In Ilchamus both dark and clear /l/ sound exists whereas in Maa there is only clear /l/. The other sound variation was that Ilchamus language has no voiceless post-alveolar fricative as opposed to Maa language. This research too established that vowels can influence vowel changes in a sound segment and consonants can too influence the change in other consonants.
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