The pragmatics of ‘Mouth’ metaphors in Akan


  • Kofi Agyekum Professor Department of Linguistics University of Ghana Legon, Accra, Ghana



cognitive semantics, semantic change, pragmatics, metaphor, body-part language


The paper addresses the semantic shifts, extensions and metaphorical use of ano ‘mouth’ in Akan (a Ghanaian language). It focuses attention on the semantic patterns and pragmatic nature of the metaphor and its usage in a variety of contextual features. In Akan, the body part expressions and bodily functions have extended meanings that still have some relationship with the original words. The body parts thus act as the productive lexical items for the semantic and metaphoric derivation. I will consider the body part ano from its physical and cognitive representations. The paper also looks at the positive and negative domains of ano, ‘mouth’ expressions. The data are taken from Akan literature books, the Akan Bible and recorded materials from radio discussions. The paper illustrates that there is a strong relation between a people’s conceptual, environmental and cultural experiences and their linguistic systems.

Author Biography

Kofi Agyekum, Professor Department of Linguistics University of Ghana Legon, Accra, Ghana

Kofi Agyekum (PhD University of Ghana) is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ghana and currently Head of the Department of Linguistics. His current research interests include ethnography of communication, pragmatics, discourse analysis, conversational analysis, sociolinguistics, stylistics, terminology, cognitive semantics, translation, lexicology, lexicography, oral and written literature.  


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How to Cite

Agyekum, K. (2013). The pragmatics of ‘Mouth’ metaphors in Akan. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 2(1), 1–17.