Agreement and syncretism in Esahie

  • Obed Nii Broohm University of Verona, Italy
  • Stefan Rabanus University of Verona, Italy
Keywords: Esahie, agreement, syncretism, inflectional morphology, paradigm


This paper investigates the infl ectional system of the nominal domain in Esahie (Central-Tano, Kwa, Niger-Congo) by focusing on agreement and syncretism. It off ers a comprehensive description of these infl ectional phenomena in an attempt to test and account for the strength of the infl ectional system of an otherwise under-described language. It shows among other things that morpho-syntactic features including number, person, animacy, and case, all enter the Esahie agreement system in various contexts. Adopting Corbett’s (2006) criteria for canonicity of agreement, this work demonstrates that, in Esahie, DP-internal agreement is more canonical than anaphora agreement. A general paucity of infl ection marking is argued to account for the several instances of syncretism in Esahie. Furthermore, this work demonstrates that syncretism is pervasive in the pronominal system of Esahie. Collected largely through elicitation from native speakers, the Esahie data discussed in this work provides empirical support for the irreducibility hypothesis proposed by Stump (2016). Hence, on the theoretical level, this work argues for adopting a paradigm-based approach to infl ectional morphology over a morpheme-based approach to infl ectional morphology.

Author Biographies

Obed Nii Broohm, University of Verona, Italy

Doctoral Researcher
Department of Culture and Civilization

Stefan Rabanus, University of Verona, Italy

Associate Professor of Linguistics,
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures


Journal Identifiers

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