Vol 27 No 3 (2018): Nordic Journal of African Studies
Articles Linguistics

The Underlying Form of the Third Person Singular Short Subject Pronoun in Standard Yorùbá: A Structural Motivation from some Yorùbá Dialects

Boluwaji Oshodi
Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Nigeria
Nordic Journal of African Studies
Published February 4, 2019
  • 3psg short pronoun,
  • Standard Yorùbá,
  • Yorùbá dialects,
  • High tone syllable,
  • underlying form


One very controversial issue in standard Yorùbá language and some of its structurally diverse dialects concern the actual form of the third person singular short subject pronoun in the language. Earlier studies identified the morpheme ó with a high tone as the form of the pronoun. However, recent studies have queried this assertion claiming that ó is not the form but have equally failed to establish the precise form of the pronoun. This study examined the Yorùbá dialects spoken in Òṣogbo, Ìlọrin, Ọ̀yọ́, Àkùngbá and Ọ̀wọ̀ with focus on the form as well as occurrence of this pronoun in these dialects through a transformational generative approach. Findings revealed that a certain vowel [i] with a high tone which regularly occurs in subject position in some constructions in the five dialects examined appears to be the underlying form of the pronoun in standard Yorùbá. It doesn’t show up in the position in standard Yorùbá because of its underspecified nature in the language.