British Journal of English Linguistics (BJEL)

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On the Semantic Expansion of the Word “Change” among Yorùbá Speakers of English Bilinguals


The paper investigates the semantic evolution that has characterised the word ‘change’ in the Yorùbá-English speech community. It undertakes this descriptive effort through pragmatic and sociolinguistic perspectives that give credence to the impact of widespread usage and acceptability on the semantic elasticity of particular words. Moving from the pedestrian and original financial-related meaning of the money given back when a customer hands over more that the exact price of an item, it has now assumed broader and more socially significant interpretations that may only be comprehensible to a certain class of the Yorùbá-English bilinguals who occupy South Western Nigeria. These contextual meanings are socially inclined and are largely influenced by a certain leaning that borders on the ‘membership’ of an undefined social group that consists of semi-literates in that particular subset of the Nigerian sociolinguistic environment. The paper concludes that the uses of ‘change’ in the aforementioned contexts present a valid case of gradual semantic expansion in the widespread use of some words.

Citation: Bamigboye, O., Adeoye, J.A., Allison, I. O. (2023) On the Semantic Expansion of the Word “Change” among Yorùbá Speakers of English Bilinguals, British Journal of English Linguistics, Vol.11, Issue 1, pp.27-36

Keywords: Change, Yoruba, literates, semantic expansion, semi-literate

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