Reflexives and Intensifiers in Dagbani and Gurenɛ

  • Samuel Alhassan Issah University of Education
  • Avea E. Nsoh University of Education
  • Samuel Awinkene Atintono Accra College of Education
Keywords: Mabia, Dagbani, Gurenε, intensifiers, reflexives, distribution, alternatives, anaphoric


This paper discusses the morphology and distribution of reflexive pronouns and self-intensifiers in two Mabia (Gur) languages of Ghana, Gurenε and Dagbani. We show that reflexive pronouns in both languages are bimorphemic, comprising of a personal pronoun and the reflexivizer -miŋa and -maŋa ‘self’, for Gurenε and Dagbani respectively. We again, show that self-intensifiers and reflexives are morphologically distinct as the former has additional morpheme -maŋ and -m/ for Dagbani and Gurenε respectively, which we analyse as being responsible for the emphatic readings of self-intensifiers. We also demonstrate that reflexives are invariably in the same clause with their antecedents. We however, contend that unlike Dagbani, the third person emphatic eŋa ‘she/he’ and its weak counterpart a ‘she/he’ are mutually exclusive in Gurenε, explaining why personalnames are incompatible with the former. Finally, we demonstrate that adnominal and inclusive intensifiers seem to have similar distribution, suggesting that the Gurenε and Dagbani data do not justify the postulation of three subtypes of intensifiers.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2343-6530