Ghana Journal of Linguistics

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Optimal Inflections as Symmetry between Nominal and Verbal Reduplications in Akan

Charles Marfo, E. Kweku Osam


This paper discusses two issues in nominal and verbal reduplications in Akan, a language which is widely spoken in Ghana. These are the respective morphotactic structures of the two reduplications and the claim that an asymmetry obtains between nominal and verbal reduplications in the language. The issues are discussed in connection with a distinction in inflection for the nasal prefix /N-/ in nominal and verbal reduplications of Akan which, respectively, impute negation and plurality and how the individual inflections underscore and inform the morphotactic structures of the two reduplications. Analysis of issues will be done in the light of the Morphological Doubling Theory (Inkelas and Zoll 2005, Osam et al. 2013) and will further be captured within Optimality Theory (e.g. Prince & Smolensky 2004, McCarthy & Prince 1999). The discussions will particularly be narrowed down on the more interesting morphotactics of the verbal reduplication and its inflection for other verbal affixes (besides /N-/). Establishing the suggested asymmetry, we will also endeavour to show the general order of inflection in the verbal reduplication as opposed to what obtains in the nominal reduplication following structural well-formedness in both reduplicated forms.

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