The cultural adaptation of quantity judgment tasks in Ghanaian English and Akan
The phenomenon of mass and countability is multifaceted and has been controversially discussed in many disciplines. For linguistics, differences in the morphosyntactic marking of the distinction cross-linguistically, and its cross-cultural ontological-semantic conceptualization are particularly interesting. However, most studies into mass and countability have focused on (American) English, and, to some extent European and Asian languages. African languages and contexts have as yet been neglected by researchinto countability, and the methodological tools employed to study it do not account for the ambient cultural contexts. This paper presents the results of a quantity judgment task designed according to Barner and Snedeker’s (2005) experiment for American English speakers, conducted in Ghanaian English and Akan. The Ghanaian experiments reveal important concerns regarding the stimuli and their applicability, especially to Akan culture. Thus, inspired by other studies into the semantics of Akan, a new set of stimuli is suggested in order to investigate mass and countability contrastively in Ghanaian English and Akan. In this vein, they emphasize the insufficiency of translations with regard to (psycho)linguistic experiments and the importance of proper cultural adaptation.
© Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, 2013
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