Personal Attribute Nominals in Akan: A Constructionist Perspective

  • Clement Kwamena Insaidoo Appah University of Ghana
Keywords: Akan, Construction Morphology, constructional idiom, nominal compound, schema


This paper provides a constructionist account of Akan constructions of the form àhòɔ̀ déń ‘strength’ and àsòɔ̀ déń ‘disobedience’ which had been previously analysed as compounds. Through the analysis of previously cited examples in the relevant literature and additional examples collected purposively from written sources, it is shown that the constructions exhibit a constellation of formal and semantic/pragmatic properties that get masked in a straightforward compounding analysis. Also posited is a constructional idiom whose formal structure is motivated by a typical syntactic construction (predicate adjective construction) and a prefixation schema, through the process of template unification. Thus, some of the properties of this construction are motivated by already existing constructions, even though their properties may not be entirely predictable from those other constructions, confirming that language is a network. It is shown that the construction has limited productivity because of some stringent restrictions on possible constituents. Finally, a broad semantic classification of the constructions is provided and some properties of the major classes discussed.

Author Biography

Clement Kwamena Insaidoo Appah, University of Ghana
Senior Lecturer, Department of Linguistics

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502