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Inalienable Possession Constructions in Akan and Kiswahili

Josephine Dzahene-Quarshie


This paper examines the extent to which Akan and Kiswahili are comparable in aspects of grammatical representation of inalienable possession relationship. Both Akan and Kiswahili belong to the Niger-Congo language family; however they belong to different sub-groups. Kiswahili belongs to the Bantu sub-group and Akan the Kwa sub-group. In the literature, it has been established that diachronically, Akan manifests some Bantu traits in terms of attributive adjective sequence and noun class system (Welmers 1963; Osam 1993). By comparing data from the two languages, the paper establishes that there are some similarities and differences in the grammatical encoding of inalienability in their argument structure as in me tiyε me ya ‘my head aches (me)’ in Akan and; kichwa kinaniuma ‘head aches (me)’ in Kiswahili. The study also reveals that the boundaries of these privileged constructions referred to in the paper as affective are widening Kiswahili than in Akan. The study strengthens further the claim of a probable genetic link between Akan and Bantu.

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eISSN: 0023-1886