South African Journal of African Languages

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Serial verb constructions in Òkó*

Ernest S Akerejola


The article explores the ways Òkó speakers construe experience as a flow of events through the verbal group in a clause. Some events which are construed in some languages as a nuclear process made up of a single event (that is a single verbal group) are expressed in Òkó through a series of verbs, usually referred to as ‘serial verb construction’ or ‘verbal group complex’ (see Matthiessen, 1995:62). This article describes serial verb construction as a useful resource, systematically organized in Òkó, for expressing different logical relations in the semantics of the verbal group. Òkó is spoken in Kogi State – the Middle Belt of Nigeria, West Africa – by a population of about 60,000 people. It belongs in the West-Benue group of the Niger-Congo family. At present, the language exists only in the spoken mode. This study is a step towards a detailed description and codification of Òkó, to facilitate oracy and literacy in the language.

S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang.,2008, 2

AJOL African Journals Online