LEXICAL AMBIGUITY IN YORUBA: ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS

PUBLISHED: June 2018

Author: OLUSANMI BABARINDE

Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Abstract

The paper examines the manifestation of lexical ambiguity as evidenced in homonyms in Yoruba though it could equally manifest in polysemy. The paper notices that in spite of the lexical function and or phonemicity of tones in meaning specificity in the Yoruba language, homonymous words requires some mental processing and contextual placement for the selection of the approximate form. The paper observes that the prediction of the sense enumeration lexicon (SEL) approach, namely that all ambiguous words are processed similarly, is in direct contrast to the position of reordered approach, which the paper adopts, as shown by the present results, that differential processing depending on the type of ambiguity as seen in pa and ro which represent a class of verbs that exhibit strict subcategorisation. Homonyms are one of the sources of miscommunication and incomprehension among L2 readers. This phenomenon often results in phonological and lexical ambiguities as well as delays in lexical decision by L2 readers, especially in exploring the contextual clues in using the words. These processes of mental processing and selection retard language comprehension and use by L2 learners.

 

Key Words: homonymy; L2 learners; lexical ambiguity; phonology; semantics; Yoruba

Download Pdf