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The Akan verb kɔ

Dorothee Beermann (2012)

To cite this page see footnote [1]

The verb

A mini grammar squib

The verbs and occur as independent verbs, meaning come and go respectively. Sometimes however they are used to convey functional information of aspectual nature, or information tied to deixis. There is a third use of which occurs when it preceeds a noun denoting a location. In this case seems to express directionality. In the following we will only discuss , leaving the discussion of for another occasion. This squib was based on the TC Akan corpus from December 2012. At that point the database hosted 41 Akan sentences containing . By now the public TypeCraft Akan corpus, which is an improved version of the older open-end corpus, contains 174 instances of .

either is an independent verb, or a verbal prefix.

Kɔ as an independent verb

Let us first look at sentence (1) and (2) which exemplify the use of as a main verb meaning go.


The first sentence is a negated imperative while the second shows as the main verb.

(1)
nkɔ
“Don't go.”
n`kɔ´
n
NEGIMPgo
Vitr


In (2) the verb is glossed as a past tense verb following standard annotation practice. It has been argued that Akan has an Aspect based verbal inflection system (see for example [2]

(2)
me nua no kɔɔ efie ho enora
“my sibling went to the house yesterday”
me
me
1SG
PNposs
nua
nua
siblingSBJ
N
no
no
DEF
DET
kɔɔ
ɔ
goPAST
Vtr
efie
efie
houseOBJ
N
ho
ho
thereOBJ
Nrel
enora
enora
yesterday
ADVtemp


In (3) is the V3 in a 'Clause Chaining' verb serialisation

(3)
Ato fi fie fa ne sɛnkuo kɔ kurom
“Ato leaves the house, takes his sɛnkuo and goes to town”
Ato
ato
AtoSBJ
Np
fi
fi
leave
V1
fie
fie
houseOBJ
N
fa
fa
take
V2
ne
ne
POSS3SG
PN
sɛnkuo
sɛnkuo
OBJ
N
go
V3
kurom
kurom
townOBJ
N


Sentence (4) illustrates an 'Integrated' serialisation.

(4)
hwansena no akɔ si papa no atifi.
“the fly has gone to sit on top of the man's head”
hwansena
hwansena
3SGSBJ
N
no
no
DEF
DET
akɔ
a
PRFgo
V1
si
si
descend
V2
papa
papa
man3SGOBJ
N
no
no
DEF
DET
atifi
atifi
headtop
Nrel


combines with a manner of movement verb "si" descend. There seems to be a certain similarity to a satellite marking pattern, using Talmy's terminology [1975]. However, neither of the verbs expressing the descending motion is the head per se, but both verbs are serialised. So far we have seen as an independent verb, but when part of a serialisation may also appear as a verbal prefix, expressing the onset of an event. When occuring in this capacity, it is annotated as INGR, standing for ingressive. Its function then is that of an aspectual verb or an aspectual marker.

(5) to (8) shows as an aspectual verb/prefix


(5)
Mmrahyεbεdwani he de nkondwa akɔma asɔre he.
“The member for parliment has donated chairs to the church.”
Mmrahyεbεdwani
mmrahyεbεdwani
lawmakecouncilNMLZ
N
he
he
DEF
DET
de
de
use
V
nkondwa
nkondwa
PLchair
N
akɔma
ama
PFVINGRgive
V
asɔre
asɔre
church
N
he
he
DEF
ART
(6)
Bɛɛkɔhwe aburaa no.
“They are going to drain the stream.”
bɛɛkɔhwe
ɛhwe
theySBJPROGgodrain
V
aburaa
aburaa
streamOBJ
N
no
no
the
DET
(7)
Monkɔ nkɔkyeakyea.
“Go and greet them.”
Monkɔ
mon
2PLSBJOPTgo
V
nkɔkyeakyea
nkyeakyea
OPTINGRgreetgreet
V
(8)
Boakye rekɔgye aba abεdi.
“Boakye is going to collect it, come back and eat it.”
Boakye
boakye
B.SBJ
N
rekɔgye
regye
PROGINGRcollect
V
aba
aba
CONScome
V
abεdi
adi
CONSINGReat
V



References

  1. Dorothee Beermann. 2012. The Akan verb . TypeCraft Grammar squib. http://www.typecraft.org. Accessed [DATE].
  2. OSAM, E. Kweku. 2003. An Introduction to the Verbal and Multi-verbal System of Akan. In Dorothee Beermann and Lars Hellan (eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Multi-verb Constructions. Trondheim Summer School 2003. Available from: http://www.ling.hf.ntnu.no/tross/TROSS03-toc.html