The Syntax of Reciprocal Constructions in Akan

  • Kofi K Saah University of Ghana
Keywords: reciprocals, reciprocity, reflexives, anaphor(s), reduplication, quantifier


According to König and Gast (2008:2), “[R]eciprocity is not only of interest for linguists. Since this phenomenon lies at the root of social organization, it has fascinated philosophers, social scientists and biologists for many decades and even centuries.” In this paper, I examine the kind(s) of construction(s) that are available to Akan speakers for the expression of reciprocal situations. The paper shows that reciprocal relations are expressed in Akan transitive constructions involving the use of: i) a reduplicated verb and a plural anaphor which is possessive pronoun plus ho “self”/ “body” construction (the same as what is used for reflexives), ii) an unduplicated verb and reduplicated anaphor, iii) a reduplicated verb and a reduplicated anaphor, and iv) a reduplicated verb and a plural anaphor plus the reduplicated quantifier nkorkor (Fa.)/ baako baako (Ak. & As.).

Author Biography

Kofi K Saah, University of Ghana

Kofi Korankye Saah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana. His teaching and research have been focused on the syntax of Akan, language acquisition, sentence processing, and language use and attitudes.


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