The Morphopragmatics of the Diminutive Morpheme (-Ba /-Wa ) in Akan

Lexis: E-Journal in English Lexicology, Issue 6: “Diminutives and Augmentatives in the Languages of the World”, pp. 85-103.

19 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2011 Last revised: 15 Jan 2015

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The present paper is concerned with the diminutive morpheme -wa/-ba in Akan. It examines the form, the origin and the various meanings associated with diminutive forms in the language. We attribute the origin of the diminutive to the lexical word for ‘child/offspring’, ba, basing our argument on language internal evidence as well as cross-linguistic generalizations. The identified meanings of the Akan diminutive are as follows: small, young/offspring, feminine, member, insignificant/nonserious, affection/admiration and contempt/disdain. Having identified the basic meaning of the diminutive as ‘small’, Jurafsky’s (1996) Radial Category theory provides us with a basis to adequately account for the various meanings; drawing a link, through metaphors and inferences, between the diachronic and the synchronic meanings.

Keywords: Akan, diminutive, inference, metaphor, morphopragmatics, radial category

Suggested Citation

Appah, Clement Kwamina Insaidoo and Amfo, Nana Aba Appiah, The Morphopragmatics of the Diminutive Morpheme (-Ba /-Wa ) in Akan (2011). Lexis: E-Journal in English Lexicology, Issue 6: “Diminutives and Augmentatives in the Languages of the World”, pp. 85-103.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1800177

Clement Kwamina Insaidoo Appah (Contact Author)

University of Ghana ( email )

Department of Linguistics
P.O. Box LG61
Accra
Ghana
+233247474745 (Phone)
247474745 (Fax)

Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

University of Ghana ( email )

PO Box 25
Legon, Accra LG
Ghana

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
79
Abstract Views
837
rank
309,685
PlumX Metrics