Subject and object in Akan

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This document describe the subject and object in the Akan language.

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Subject and object in Akan

  1. 1. LNGS 411: SYNTAX OF GHANAIAN LANGUAGE (AKAN) 10335205 MINTAH GODSON AGYEMANG DR CLEMENT K.I. APPAH 9/30/2013 SUBJECT AND OBJECT IN AKAN
  2. 2. 10335205 QUESTION Is it legitimate to talk about subject and object in Akan? According to Osam, Emmanuel Kweku(1996), it is legitimate to talk about subject and object in Akan. He gave two coding features and one behavioural one, the (S) and the (A) argument can be identified as subject and the (P) as object. The subject and object in Akan is supported by pronominal forms associated with these relations.The difference between the subject and object based word order is reinforced by the pronominal system, he states that a pre-verbal Third Person Singular Pronoun prefix correlates with the subject while a post-verbal independent pronoun correlates with the object relation. An NP which is a subject in a clause chaining will occur on the first verb only but this is not a feature of an object and the preverbal pronominal prefix used in transitive clauses is the same as that used in the subject in intransitive clauses. According to Him, if a sentence has only one NP, that NP is coded as the subject. A sentence with two arguments verbs, one is identified as the subject NP and the second one is the Direct Object. He described pre-verbal NPs as subject because they can be replaced by pronominal forms in transitive and intransitive clauses but added that this does not apply to Direct Object. In the Zero Anaphora of Subject in Clause Chaining, Osam states that the subject control deletion under identity of a coreferential object NP but not the object. So the antecedent object pronouns must be overtly coded. With Direct Objecthood in ditransitive constructions, word order and pronominal are used to decide whether an NP is a Direct Object or not, also the Agent transfer an object (the Theme) to the semantic Loc andthis transfer is from the direct object to the subject. Various tests are used to validate that the Loc NP is the direct object: the position test states that a direct object(NP) occurs immediately after the verb and can be replaced with a particular pronoun form (pronominal test), direct objects can be relativized and focus markedbut Theme NPscannot (with the exception of the Theme NPs of ‘ teach’, ‘show’ and ‘ask’)and pronominalisation proves that only the Loc NPs can be pronominalized but it is impossible to pronominalise the Theme NP. In conclusion, he establishes that Loc NPsare prototypical direct objects. LNGS 411 10335205 Page 1
  3. 3. 10335205 According to Osam, the Loc NPs in all the Akan di-transitives is referred to as the Primary Direct Object which would be in the same category as the direct object of two argument clause and the Theme NPs of ‘show’, ‘teach’ and ‘ask’ as Secondary Direct Object because they have some features of the Primary Direct Object.Later, Asymmetrical Object was used to refer to the theme NPs. As far as Direct Objects in serialization is concern, he states that certain semantic roles in some languages which are coded as oblique NPs are coded as direct object in Akan through serialization. IfNPs become the arguments of the verb de, direct object can be assigned to them.Furthermore, Loc NPs are introduced by serialization which the first verb will indicate whatever action was carried out and the second verb will introduce the Loc entity. Also, they qualify to be direct object in terms of proximity to the verb test.Loc NPs are direct objects because they can be relativized and focus marked. Associative NPs qualify to be considered as a direct object and this is supported by relativisation and focus marking tests. They occur in immediate postverbal position. Instrument NPs are also classified as direct object becaus they are introduced into a sentence through verb serialization and they occur in immediate postverbal position. LNGS 411 10335205 Page 2

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