Clement Kwamina Insaidoo Appah

Noun-adjective compounds in Akan

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Compounds of nouns and attributive adjectives have received considerable attention in various studies, with two principal issues engaging the attention of researchers. The first one is the nature of the modification relation between the constituents of the compounds. The second issue, which borders on the nature of the morphology-syntax interface, is how to distinguish between noun-adjective compounds and corresponding nounadjective phrases. This paper provides a descriptive account of the properties of Akan (Niger-Congo, Kwa) Noun-Adjective compounds. It shows that the constituents of the compounds tend to be simplex bases and that there is no restriction on the semantic types of nouns and adjectives that may occur in the compounds. There must, however, be a plausible relation between the constituents. The interpretation of the compound is shown not to be completely straightforward, because the adjectives may not retain their core adjectival semantics in the compound or there may be additional meaning components that do not emanate from the constituents, or even because the compound may have to be interpreted metaphorically. Finally, given the considerable formal and semantic similarities between nounadjective compounds and noun-adjective phrases, I show how Akan nounadjective compounds may be differentiated from Akan noun-adjective phrases.


  • Akan
  • Construction Morphology
  • Headedness
  • Noun-Adjective Compound
  • Noun-Adjective Phrase


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