By Miaomiao Zhang
This page is about the aspect marker CONS in SVC of Akan. The examples are collected from TC database and articles by Boadi  and Osam .
Introduction: INF or CONS?
In Boadi’s article, he claims that the affix à indicates the INF verb form. But other linguists consider this affix as an aspect marker- CONS, because it can only occur after the PROG and FUT which request a certain agreement, namely, “concord”. Whether it belongs to infinitive form or consecutive aspect, is still a controversial question. But one undeniable fact is that the affix à together with the preceding FUT or PROG marker builds certain patterns, which express different meanings. Besides, the differences between FUT-FUT pattern and FUT/PROG-CONS pattern as well as PAST-PAST pattern and FUT/PROG-CONS pattern become obvious after comparing them with the limited examples: First, when FUT-FUT pattern occurs, there are two different subjects in one sentence, while by FUT/PROG-CONS pattern there is only one subject shared by two or more serial verbs. Second, in PAST-PAST pattern, the two verbs share the same tense or polarity, while in FUT/PROG-CONS pattern, they share tense or aspect. Such observations are only based on the limited data of Akan, so more evidence needs to be provided to test them.
Data from TC database
From the TC database Akan Future Aspect, we can see that when there are two subjects in a SVC sentence with future aspect, two FUT markers will appear after respectively the first subject and the second subject, which we called the FUT-FUT pattern. In this pattern, the serial verbs obey the agreement of future tense, see examples as follows:
εbεyε animguaseε sε wobεsεe awareε.
“It will be humiliating to commit adultery.”
Purpose FUT-CONS pattern
In other cases, when there is only one subject in the SVC sentence, the FUT-CONS pattern and PROG-CONS pattern occur. That is to say, the serial verbs in such patterns share the same subject. We also found that the CONS can occur in both purpose clause and clauses expressing consecutive actions.
Consecutive FUT-CONS pattern
Mansa bεpɔn ne ho afi adepam mu afe yi.
“Mansah will finish and come out of dressmaking this year.”
Kofi bεtɔ dware aku no anoa awe.
“Kofi will buy a sheep, kill it,boil it and eat it.”
yaa bɛ tɔ brodeɛ anoa adi ada
“Yaa will buy plantain, cook it, eat it, and sleep.”
Purpose PROG-CONS pattern
ɔɔkɔ fa safoa abie bono no
“He is going to take the key to open the door.”
Boakye rekɔgye aba abεdi.
“Boakye is going to collect it, come back and eat it.”
Yεεkɔgye yaba yabεdi.
“We are going to collect it, come back and eat it.”
From the data, we can see that the CONS marker in the FUT-CONS pattern can express both purpose and consecutive meaning, while in the PROG-CONS pattern it can only express the purpose meaning.
PAST-PAST vs FUT/PROG-CONS
Although the PAST-PAST or PAST NEG-PAST NEG pattern can also express the purpose, they are different from FUT-CONS pattern, because the verbs in the former pattern share the agreement on tense or polarity, while the verbs in the latter pattern only share the agreement on tense or aspect.
Ama tɔɔ ankaa tɔnne.
“Ama bought oranges and sold them.”
CONS in conjoined structure
Osam has also mentioned the consecutive in his article (2003). He claimed that the consecutive is “secondary to the progressive aspect and the future tense in the context of serial constructions, and sometimes even in conjoined structures”. But he only gave two examples in the SVC context, but not in conjoined structures. As the example below shows, the FUT-CONS pattern occurs in a conjoined structure.
Sε yεpɔn adwuma a, yεbεnantew akɔ fie.
“When we close from work we will walk home.”
Conclusion with tables
Through the investigation of the 14 phrases from TC database, we made three tables to a generalize the property of CONS marker and its environment in Akan SVC; then, from the first table, we can see that the FUT-CONS pattern is the most used one; further, it is clear that only the FUT-CONS pattern can express the consecutive meaning according to the data; finally, different from the PAST-PAST pattern in which the serial verbs share the negative polarity, the serial verbs in FUT/PROG-CONS pattern don't have the negative agreement.
|Frequency of different patterns
||NUMBER OF EXAMPLES
"Meanings indicated by FUT-CONS and PROG-CONS"
"The Agreements between serial verbs in PAST-PAST and FUT/PROG-CONS patterns"
- ↑ Boadi, L.A. (2008).Tense, aspect and Akan. In Ameka, F.K. and M.E. Kropp Dakubu (eds) Aspect and Modality in Kwa Languages. Benjamins.
- ↑ Osam, E.K (2003) An introduction to thr Verbal and Multi-Verbal System of Akan. In Beermann, D.A. and Lars Hellan (ed) Proceedings of the Trondheim Summer School on Multi-Verb Constructions.