Optimal Inflections as Symmetry between Nominal and Verbal Reduplications in Akan              

  • Charles Marfo Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
  • Kweku Osam University of Ghana
Keywords: Reduplication; inflection; morphotactics; asymmetry; doubling; constraints; well-formedness


This paper discusses two issues in nominal and verbal reduplications in Akan, a language which is widely spoken in Ghana. These are the respective morphotactic structures of the two reduplications and the claim that an asymmetry obtains between nominal and verbal reduplications in the language. The issues are discussed in connection with a distinction in inflection for the nasal prefix /N-/ in nominal and verbal reduplications of Akan which, respectively, impute negation and plurality and how the individual inflections underscore and inform the morphotactic structures of the two reduplications. Analysis of issues will be done in the light of the Morphological Doubling Theory (Inkelas and Zoll 2005, Osam et al. 2013) and will further be captured within Optimality Theory (e.g. Prince & Smolensky 2004, McCarthy & Prince 1999). The discussions will particularly be narrowed down on the more interesting morphotactics of the verbal reduplication and its inflection for other verbal affixes (besides /N-/). Establishing the suggested asymmetry, we will also endeavour to show the general order of inflection in the verbal reduplication as opposed to what obtains in the nominal reduplication following structural well-formedness in both reduplicated forms.



Author Biographies

Charles Marfo, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Charles Ofosu Marfo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi. He is currently the Head of the Department and the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He is also the Vice-President of the KNUST branch of the University Teachers' Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the immediate past President of the Linguistics Association of Ghana (LAG).

Kweku Osam, University of Ghana

E. Kweku Osam is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana. His research interests include the functional-typological linguistics, structure of Akan and related languages and the typology of African languages.



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