Proverbs and stylistic devices of Akwasi Ampofo Agyei’s Akan highlife lyrics

  • Kofi Agyekum
  • Joshua Amuah
  • Adwoa Arhine
Keywords: Language ideology, ethnomusicology, stylistic devices, proverbs


This paper examines the stylistic features and proverbs in ɔba nyansafo wɔbu no bɛ na wɔnka no asɛm, ‘A wise child is spoken to in proverbs’ a popular Ghanaian highlife song by the late Akwasi Ampofo Agyei. This is an area which is still grey in the study of highlife music. The paper basically adopted qualitative methodology through interviews and recordings. The paper combines the theories of language ideology and ethnomusicology, and looks at the indispensable, didactic and communicative functions of stylistic devices and proverbs in Akan highlife. These tropes as forms of indirection help the musicians to comment on very delicate issues. They depict the musician’s communicative competence in the Akan language, cultural beliefs, worldview and social structures. The paper further reflects on the relative absence of proverbs in current Ghanaian highlife. The stylistic devices and proverbs in the song are subjected to ethnomusicological, stylistic and pragmatic analysis.


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