Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Kambon, Ọ. (2017). Akan Ananse Stories, Yorùbá Ìjàpá Tales, and the Dikenga Theory: Worldview and Structure. Contemporary Journal of African Studies. 4(2). 

ABSTRACT: Is it possible to use endogenous African philosophical and theoretical frameworks to analyze indigenous African phenomena? Why should one even try? In this article, it is argued that such analyses are not only possible, but imperative. It is further argued that just such frameworks can add insight to our understanding of the structure of Akan Ananse and Yorùbá Ìjàpá stories and the shared African worldview from which they arise. According to Fu-Kiau, “nothing exists that does not follow the steps of the cyclical Kongo cosmogram” (Fu-Kiau "Ntangu-Tandu-Kolo: The Bantu-Kongo Concept of Time"). This bold hypothesis is tested in this study by applying Dikènga, the cosmogram of the Bakôngo, to an oral literary analysis of the structure of Akan and Yorùbá stories. This application is what we term the “Dikènga theory of literary analysis.” We find that this approach can help shift from concepts of “storylines” and “timelines” to reveal the patterned and cyclical nature of material and immaterial phenomena and to deepen our understanding of these stories as manifestations of a shared African worldview.

Kambon, Ọ. (2017). A Stylistic Analysis of Jími Ṣólańkẹ́'s Ọ̀̀nà Là in 'The Path' and the Multiple Star System Theory of Mutual Illumination and Interaction. Legon Journal of the Humanities. 28.

ABSTRACT: The concept of mutual illumination between texts, genres, arts and disciplines has been used in scholarly work for decades (Weisstein, 1973, 1993). Nevertheless, much of this literature lacks a firm anchor with regard to the literal source of the analogy “mutual illumination.” We argue that by observing natural phenomena that actually mutually illuminate, influence and otherwise affect each other, greater insight into how texts interact in similar ways can be achieved. Thus, drawing insights from astrophysics, with specific reference to multiple star systems, a conceptual framework is derived in which analogous relations are proposed and interrogated. This framework couches the discussion in a stylistic analysis of our primary text, Jími Ṣólańkẹ́’s Ọ̀nà Là, which is analyzed both on its own and also with reference to other texts which are interconnected, interrelated and which serve to “mutually illuminate” each other. We find that when considered in light of other related texts, the analysis of Ọ̀nà Là becomes much richer and, in the process, the understanding of the other texts is also enriched. Stylistic tools used in the analysis include various types of intertextual and intratextual parallelism, repetition, and silence.

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Kambon, Ọ. and Duah, R. (2017). Non-African Linguists Be Like "This is a new way to quote!" Ghana Journal of Linguistics.

ABSTRACT: While conventional wisdom tells us that Asante Twi complementizer sɛ is derived from se ‘say’ (Lord 1993, Osam 1996, Osam 1994, Amfo 2010), it is at least worth considering that understanding it as connected to homophone and homonym  ‘be like, resemble’ as posited by Lord (1993: 151) would, indeed, be like the so-called Black English way of quoting. The complementizer  is typically glossed as ‘that.’ However, a corpus-based analysis of Asante Twi’s perhaps not-so-distant cousin, Black English, may point us to a more accurate alternative gloss, ‘(be) like’. It has been found that “‘be like’ is now so widely used it accounted for 20 percent of similar uses of the verb ‘be’ among a group of young AAE speakers in North Carolina” (Peterson 2015). Asante Twi may help us understand the variable context in which aspectual/habitual be is found and also the varied context in which like is found, both of which linguists have found to be “notoriously difficult” to understand against the backdrop of European-descended varieties of English (Hofwegen and Farrington 2015). Further, we argue that Asante Twi  is glossed as ‘that’, not from language-internal evidence, but because of recourse to glossing into “Standard English” rather than Anti-American African English (aka Black English) which, in actuality, may be a better way of elucidating connections between African languages of the diaspora and the continent. Indeed, the connection between Anti-American African like and Asante Twi  may be a case of a common African (diasporan and continental) solution to a common linguistic problem.

Appah, C. K. I., Duah, R. A., & Kambon, Ọ. (2017). Akan noun–verb nominal compounds: The exocentric synthetic view. Language Sciences, 1-15.

ABSTRACT: A synthetic compound is regarded as an endocentric construction in which a deverbal nominal head inherits the internal argument of the underlying verb. The Akan noun-verb nominal compound is analysed as a synthetic noun-noun compound with a deverbal right-hand constituent. This is based on a pattern of downstep observed on the first syllable of the second constituent, triggered by a putative floating low tone of a deleted nominal(izing) prefix. This approach, which makes the compound endocentric, is needed to account for the nominal syntactic category of the compound, given that the left-hand nominal constituent is not the head. In this paper, we discuss and reject this endocentric analysis, showing that the argument for the nominal status of the right-hand constituent based on tonal melody alone is weak because some constructs which meet the structural requirement fail to exhibit the specified tonal melody. We argue, however, that we can maintain the synthetic compound analysis without committing to defend the view that the right-hand constituent is nominalized. This is the exocentric synthetic compound view. We present a constructionist account in which the syntactic category is a holistic constructional property of the compound, which is inherited from a meta schema for Akan compounding. We also present a preliminary constructionist account of the tonal melody of the compound.

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Kambon, Ọ. (2017). Intellectual Warfare, Theory and Practice: Gates, Thornton, white World Terror Domination and the War on Afrocentricity. Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies. 10(3).

ABSTRACT: This article provides an analysis of an attempt to conceal white culpability in the enslavement of Afrikan people, in service of white world terror domination organized by Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr. and John Thornton. Thus, the white terrorist/anti-Afrikan/anti-Black integrationist imperative is examined in Gates’ “Wonders of the African World” (1999) and Thornton’s Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World (1998), and in earlier historical appropriations and subversions implemented by white terrorists of various types, with or without the assistance of their anti-Afrikan/anti-Black collaborators. 

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Kambon, Ọ. and Dzahene-Quarshie, J. (2017). TwiSwahili or KiswaTwili: A Study of Parallel Proverbs in Akan (Twi) and Kiswahili. Ghana Journal of Linguistics

ABSTRACT: In Akan and Kiswahili, there are several proverbs that express the same underlying idea, oftentimes in the exact same or similar ways. There are several possible reasons why these parallel proverbs exist. In one line of thinking, the similarities may be due to contact phenomena facilitating shared cultural and/or historical experiences. Another perspective may be due to the demonstrably genetic relationship between Akan and Kiswahili languages as languages of the Niger-Congo phylum. In this study, however, we will examine these proverbs in parallel or near-parallel and demonstrate that regardless of the facts of the two aforementioned lines of inquiry, they attest to a shared African worldview and can be analyzed in terms of measured proximity and similarity.

Amfo, Nana Aba Appiah, Tọ́pẹ́ Ọmọniyì, Nii Teiko Teigo, Ọbádélé Kambon, and Kofi Korankye Saah. (2017). Therapeutic Communication Coursebook

Kambon, Ọ., Osam, E. K., & Amfo, N. A. (2015). A Case for Revisiting Definitions of Serial Verb Constructions – Evidence from Akan Serial Verb Nominalization. Studies in African Linguistics, 44(2).

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ABSTRACT: In this study, we undertook an experiment in which native speakers of Akan were given serial verbs both with and without oblique non-verbal elements (such as relator nouns, direct objects, postpositions, etc.) and asked them to construct Serial Verb Construction Nominals (SVCNs) from them. We found that, by and large, when not given said non-verbal elements, speakers were not able to construct nominal forms. In another task, we gave speakers nominal forms and asked them to deconstruct them to the constituent serial verbs from which they were derived. Time and again, speakers gave, not only the serial verbs, but also the non-verbal elements even though they were not asked to do so. Gestalt meanings were also given by speakers when asked the meanings of individual elements. Thus, the semantic integration and lexicalization that takes place in full lexicalized-integrated serial verb constructions extends, not only to serial verbs, but also to these non-verbal elements which, to native speakers, seem to form just as important a part of the SVC as the verbal elements. Thus, we argue that definitions of SVCs, henceforth, should not prejudice the serial verbs to the detriment of other equally important parts of the construction.

Kambon, Ọ. (2015). Theory of Endogenous and Exogenous Motivation in L2 Migration. Per Linguam, 31(2).


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ABSTRACT: Implied in theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is the notion that language learning is analogous to obtaining or acquiring a possession – thus the use of the term ‘acquisition.’ While this interpretation has gone relatively unchallenged in the literature, this article introduces a new analogy whereby language learning is seen as analogous to a process of permanent or semi-permanent migration towards a new socio-linguistic L2 space. As such, a theory of endogenous and exogenous motivation is delineated, entailing a dynamic interplay between internal (primarily psychological) and external (primarily sociological) push-pull factors. Endogenous and exogenous push-pull factors, together with various other personal factors, contribute to learner decisions to migrate towards, move away from or remain inert with regard to the target language. Further, motivation is framed in the larger theoretical context of causation.


2016 Provost Publications Award
(Early Career)

This Award is presented to Dr. Obadele Kambon (Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana) as the winner of the 2016 Provost Publications Award (Early Career). The award is based on your Paper titled: "Theory of Endogenous and Exogenous Motivation in L2 Migration" which was published in Per linguam, 31(2) 2015. Your article has been noted to be a great input in the area of language teaching and learning and this work will be used by many researchers and foreign language teachers.

Also, your work is deemed as provocative, perceptive and a well researched paper that has unmistakable relevance for the teaching and learning of foreign languages and target languages.

Your write-up is an original contribution which challenges current theories that account for second language acquisition.
Dr. Obadele Kambon, for your outstanding contribution to knowledge and scholarship and for breaking new grounds, the College of Humanities is proud to award you the 2016 Provost Publications Award (Early Career).

Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah

Brindle, J., Dakubu, M. E. K., & Kambon, Ọ. (2015). Kiliji, An Unrecorded Spiritual Language of Eastern Ghana. Journal of West African Languages, 42(1).

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ABSTRACT: In this paper we discuss a language called Kiliji by its speakers, which has not previously (to the best of our knowledge) been noted in the literature, at least in Ghana. It is the ritual language of a women’s spiritual group known popularly as Okule or more correctly as Oko Alija. The spiritual system is practiced among women in several communities in Guang and Ghana-Togo Mountain areas of the Ghana-Togo border area, including in several Nawuri-speaking villages as well as farther east in Adele and Achode. It is presumably practiced in Togo as well but we have no information on that. As we will show, the language and the spiritual practices it is connected with are clearly of Yorùbá origin, and therefore most likely arrived in the area from the Ifẹ̀ (Togo) Yorùbá speaking communities. Kiliji is argued to be the westernmost recorded instantiation in Africa of a Yorùbá variety used in performing rituals related to the deity Chankpana.

Kambon, Ọ. (2015). Legacies and the Impact of Trans-Atlantic Enslavement on the Diaspora. Journal of Pan African Studies, 8(7), 23-44.

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ABSTRACT: When we discuss the legacies and impact of trans-Atlantic enslavement on the Diaspora, we must consider several issues. Among these is the tendency of the word “legacy” to have a positive connotation for many – where the enslavement of African people may fail with regard to this criterion. More importantly, in this paper I would like to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that in many places, such as the United States, slavery has never been abolished by law, merely renamed. As such, it becomes difficult to discuss a legacy or aftermath of something that is still in progress. Therefore, we will take the United States as a case study of slavery changing names/forms yet remaining essentially the same in spirit and nature if not worse in terms of impact on African people.


Kambon, Ọ. (Under Review). The Cognitive Implications of Akan Serial Verb Constructions: Lexicalization, Nominalization and Categorization. 

ABSTRACT: For a system of linguistic categorisation to be valid, independent linguistic evidence or behaviour should exist internal to the language in question which differentiates one category from another. Thus, nominalisation of Akan Serial Verb Constructions (SVCs) could potentially function as a dependent variable to validate or invalidate an existing categorisation of SVCs based on degrees of lexicalisation (the independent variable in this context). Once validated, such a typology may provide a window into what users of the language tacitly know about their language on a cognitive level with regard to how their language is organised and how serial verbs of differing degrees of lexicalisation are expected to behave with regard to nominalisation.

Kambon, Ọ, Duah, R. A., Appah, C. K. I. (Under Review). Serial verb nominalization in Akan: the question of intervening elements. Proceedings of ACAL 47.

ABSTRACT: In this paper, we hope to disambiguate the nature of look-alike intervening elements that appear between verbs in Serial Verb Constructions (SVCs) and Serial Verb Construction Nominalizations (SVCNs). To do so, we will first show that these intervening elements share the same phonological form. We will then show that although the intervening elements look the same on the surface, they can be differentiated by appealing to semantics and the construction from which the SVCN is derived. In doing so, we find that some of the intervening elements should, indeed, be regarded as TAMP markers, while others are nominalizing markers (NMLZ). In conclusion, we identify abstract schemata/templates that account for, and predict the positioning of, intervening elements found in Akan SVCNs.

Kambon, Ọ. (Under Review). Afrikan Combat Forms Hidden in Plain Sight: Engolo/Capoeira, Knocking-and-Kicking and Asafo Flag Dancing. Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

ABSTRACT: Engolo/Capoeira (Angola/Brazil), Knocking-and-Kicking  (North America), and Asafo Flag dancing (Ghana) exhibit the aesthetics of dance with varying degrees of combat-oriented movements. It has been presented among authors and practitioners alike that the dance aspect came about due to the repressive environments of enslavement/colonialism and the need to disguise some of these combat arts and sciences to trick oppressors (Assunção, 2004; Talmon-Chvaicer, 2008). I will demonstrate, however, that the association of dance and combat are part of a shared practical Pan-Afrikan  imperative found throughout the Afrikan world that privileges movement over inertness. I will also demonstrate that, even in the dance manifestation, fundamental movements of these arts and sciences may still retain practical combat application. Nevertheless, documented repression in certain instances – primarily in the past – may have led to a greater emphasis on the dance aspect to the detriment of open combative application – primarily in the present. As such, today, why would the dance aspect seem to continue to be emphasized over overtly combative/militaristic expressions when Afrikans of the continent and the diaspora have either forcibly removed prior modalities of repression or at the very least forced them to transform? I analyze this conundrum with regard to contemporary expressions of Engolo/Capoeira, Knocking-and-Kicking, and Asafo Flag Dancing by means of a comparison between natural vs. unnatural responses to oppression.

Duah, R. A. and Kambon, Ọ. (Under Review). On the Structure of Analytic Causatives in Akan. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia.

ABSTRACT: Much of the literature on serial verbs to date has focused on a binary approach to defining Serial Verb Constructions (SVCs). However, in cases where there is a degree of questionability regarding the nature of a construction, it may be useful to view the constructions in question and describe unique characteristics in linguistic behavior before attempting to subsume the construction inside or outside of the SVC box. In this paper, we examine the structure of Akan analytic causatives which have been generally identified as biclausal or non-SVC. We show that such an analysis of the analytic causative suffices only as an approximation in accounting for the various properties displayed by the construction. We argue that the best way to deal with these structures is by looking at SVCs as clusters of features and identifying the contexts in which each do or do not exhibit features traditionally attributed to SVCs. In this type of approach, we intentionally avoid the necessary and sufficient conditions approach of the classical theory of categorization. Instead, we will address the prototypicality of each type of construction based on what is typically assumed for SVCs and show where and when each of these types of constructions converge with those assumptions and where they diverge.

Peer-Reviewed Books and Book Chapters

Abdellatif, M. and Kambon, Ọ. (Accepted for Publication). Recalling a Common Struggle for Pan-Africanism: Nkrumah’s and Nasser’s Policies on the Congo Crisis (1960-1966). IAS 50th Anniversary Conference Publication.

ABSTRACT: While the historiography of Africa’s decolonization has had several versions, only a few versions show commitment to the methodological imperatives demanded by the study of history in general (Philips, 2005). During the decolonization, all historians, Africanist or not, have taken to this field of study with different view of points. While some historians followed the concept of “Colonisabilité” as Malek Bennabi indicated, others proposed new methods in the writing of African history such as Molefi Kete Asante who rejected the theory of “Eurocentricity” and introduced the theory of “Afrocentricity” (Asante, 2012; Bennabi & Benamara, 2003). In the early years of the 1960s, African history witnessed one of the strongest crises which broke out during the liquidation of colonialism. The Congo Crisis in particular represented an enormous confrontation between several powers. Firstly, The Congo Crisis was related to cold war interests. Secondly, as it represented a mixture of conflict and convergence of interests between colonial and Neo-colonial powers. Finally, this period presented a great challenge from colonial powers against the African nationalist power that fought, together with Lumumba, for the decolonization of Africa and for African Unity (Birmingham, 1995).

Kambon, Ọ., & Adjei, G. K. (2017). Singing Truth to Power and the Disempowered: The Case of Lucky Mensah and his Song, “Nkratoɔ”. In A. Olukotun & S. Omotoso (Eds.), Political Communication in Africa. Berlin: Springer., pp. 133-158.

ABSTRACT: Political communication in Africa increasingly manifests characteristics of a dialogue rather than a monologue especially in light of the proliferation of new media and innovative means of dissemination (including the internet and concomitant mobile apps). As such, this paper focuses on language use in Lucky Mensah’s song Nkratoɔ, which gained popularity in 2010, as an example of the emerging voice of the ostensibly voiceless in Africa’s nascent democracies and the freedom of speech engendered in such dynamic political and cultural milieus. Further, we will discuss the sociocultural and political meanings of the lyrics of Nkratoɔ as well as the overall significance of the song in the Ghanaian context. Our analysis will primarily focus on the use of proverbs, idioms, analogies, allusion and insinuation as tools of political communication directed to the overarching power structure while simultaneously addressing the ordinary citizenry. In giving voice to the concerns of everyday citizens, Lucky Mensah transforms himself into a veritable ɔkyeame ‘spokesperson/intermediary’–a fixture of traditional Ghanaian governance structures and the intermediary between the indigenous ruler and the ruled. As such, his de facto position parallels his call on the imaginary “Uncle Tawia” to tell his very real brother–the President of Ghana, John Evans Atta-Mills–that things are not going well for the common citizen. The song by all standards is a commentary and a biting criticism of the socioeconomic state of the country attributed to the governance (or perceived lack thereof) by the current political party (the National Democratic Congress a.k.a. NDC) and, as evinced by its popularity, reflected the sentiments of various constituencies in the country. The paper concludes by emphasizing that popular music has functioned and continues to function largely as a forum for commentating on the ills and frustrations of society, for uniting the citizenry and even undermining the power and prestige of the ruling government by singing truth to power and the disempowered in Africa.

Kambon, Ọ., & De Valera N.Y.M Botchway. (In progress). The Ancient Afrikan Origins of Pan-Afrikanism. 

ABSTRACT: Pan-Africanism is often regarded as a modern phenomenon and a direct response or reaction to colonialism and enslavement. However, because Pan-Africanism can be understood as the unification of Africa and African people across various dimensions including politics, socio-economics, military etc., we argue that the concept, theory and practice of the unification of African people along these lines is a demonstrably ancient African imperative. Through this lens we further argue that instances of Pan-Africanism in practice can be observed in all ancient and modern African empires, which unified various smaller African kingdoms and peoples into larger empires. Most notably, this imperative can be seen in Ancient Kmt Kmt ‘Land of Black people’ which, through smз tзwy ‘unification of the two lands,’ geo-politically, militarily, economically, spiritually and socially unified šmˁw ‘Upper Kmt’ and Tз-mḥw ‘Lower Kmt’ and the Kmt ‘Black People/Citizens of Kmt’ located therein. From this point of departure, the historical record shows that, with the founding of the state, the primary original foreign policy directive of the early rulers of the Old Kingdom of Kmt ‘Land of Black people’ was to integrate more Black people and incorporate more land from their ultimate place of origin in the South into the empire. In doing so the peculiar ethnic identities of these “Kemetized” people were effectively subsumed under a larger identity predicated on physical appearance (phenotype of Blackness), shared common ancestry (genotype as manifested in phenotype) and allegiance (as manifested in shared worldview, common cultural/spiritual practice, dedication to political authority). This Pan-African policy of African/Black integration and expansion remained in place–at least to some degree–even through the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom and into the period of a shift in foreign policy to also incorporate Eurasians (whose allegiance proved to be rather to their own genetic survival and not that of Africans/Blacks). This shift in foreign policy was a turning point signaling the eventual downfall of the empire. The analysis presented in this paper is significant in that it removes the discussion of Pan-Africanism from its current status where it remains “suspended in air” as a yet-to-be-attained ideal to its proper ancient historical place from which lessons may be drawn. In doing so, numerous rich and instructive examples can be followed wherein Pan-Africanism was successfully (or unsuccessfully) implemented through diplomatic and/or military means that can serve as a guide in contemporary times for modern Pan-Africanism.

Peer-Reviewed Edited Journal Issues

Kambon, Ọ. (2016). Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 5(1), 1-81. doi:

Kambon, Ọ. (2017). Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 6(1).

Peer-Reviewed Encyclopedic Articles

Kambon, Ọ. (2015). African Languages, Acquisition of. (M. J. Shujaa & K. J. Shujaa Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Hardcover ISBN: 9781452258218.

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ABSTRACT: The acquisition of African languages may refer to past or contemporary learning of African languages either unconsciously through native speaker acquisition (L1) or with conscious intentionality as a second language (L2). The acquisition of African languages is relevant to African cultural heritage in North America by virtue of the fact that language is the primary vehicle by which culture is transmitted intergenerationally. Therefore, the acquisition of African languages serves as a powerful exemplar of African cultural continuity in the North American context. This entry discusses the acquisition of African languages from the past to more recent times to gain a broader understanding of the interrelated processes and manifestations of African cultural retention and continuity.

Kambon, Ọ. (2015). Africanisms in Contemporary English.  (M. J. Shujaa & K. J. Shujaa Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Hardcover ISBN: 9781452258218

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ABSTRACT: Africanisms in contemporary English (CE) may refer to direct modern borrowings or loans from African languages or intergenerational inheritances from past borrowings. Culturo-linguistic contact is at the root of Africanisms in contemporary English and may occur in areas including, but not limited to, syntax, morphology, phonology, phonetics, and pragmatics. This entry will focus on Africanisms in contemporary English, with particular focus on Ebonics, both as inheritances from the past as well as more recent imports, to gain a broader understanding of the interrelated processes and manifestations of African cultural retention and continuity within the North American context. In what follows, examples from African languages and CE are provided to show parallels between the two.


Kambon, Ọ. (2012). Serial Verb Nominalization in Akan. (PhD), University of Ghana, Legon.

Linguistics Dissertation: Serial Verb Nominalization in Akan.  

Honors: Most Outstanding PhD Thesis in the Humanities.

Supervisor: Professor E. Kweku Osam

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DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4208.5602

ABSTRACT: This thesis focuses on nominalization of serial verb constructions (SVCs) in the Akan language. The study develops a relevant typology of serial verb nominalization on the basis of semantic integration and lexicalization using a prototype theory (PT) framework. The three degrees of semantic integration for serial verbs in Akan are Full Lexicalized-Integrated Serial Verb Constructions (FL-ISVCs), Partial Lexicalized-Integrated Serial Verb Constructions (PL-ISVCs) and Clause Chaining Serial Constructions (CCs or CSCs). Each type of SVC is analyzed on the basis of how it is nominalized, the degree to which nominalization occurs and whether nominalization can occur at all. Various corpuses were consulted in three major literary dialects of Akan: Asante Twi, Fante and Akuapem Twi. Further, native speakers of each of these dialects were consulted to ascertain the goodness of various attested serial verb nominals (SVNs) in Akan. 

Because Full Lexicalized-Integrated Serial Verb Constructions behave as lexicalized idioms, four criteria of idiomaticity are applied to them including collocability, familiarity, flexibility and compositionality (Barkema 1996). The results from the study show that over 98% of all FL-ISVCs identified have nominal counterparts while less than 3% of all PL-ISVCs identified have nominal counterparts. CSCs seem to nominalize haphazardly as frozen sentences, proverbs, idioms and figures of speech which primarily function as denotata and designata. While there was some degree of interdialectal variability with regard to individual SVNs, the pattern of nominalization behavior on the basis of degrees of semantic integration and lexicalization remained consistent across dialects.

Kambon, Ọ. (2005). Recurrent Sound Correspondences of Akan and Yoruba and their Significance for Proto-Benue-Kwa (East Volta-Congo) C1 Reconstruction. (Masters Thesis), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

African Languages and Literature Thesis: Recurrent Sound Correspondences of Akan and Yoruba and their Significance for Proto-Benue-Kwa (East Volta-Congo) C1 Reconstruction. 

Supervisor: Professor Antonia Yétúndé Fọlárìn Schleicher

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DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2307.5280

ABSTRACT: This thesis will address the implications of lexical cognates and regular sound correspondences in the basic vocabulary of Akan (Twi) and Yoruba.  Reconstruction, a central focus of comparative linguistics, is based upon determining regular sound correspondences between two languages that are already presumed to be related. By applying the comparative method and implicational laws of sound change to data derived from the first and second Swadesh Lists, the phonological inventory of the proto-language, Proto-Benue-Kwa (East Volta-Congo), from which Akan (Twi) and Yoruba are descended, will be juxtaposed with current reconstructions, primarily as pertaining to the initial consonant (C1). These recurrent phonological correspondences will serve to bring us closer to a true reconstruction of Proto-Benue-Kwa (East Volta-Congo) in essentially the same way as “Proto-Germanic-Latin-Greek-Sanskrit” served the pioneers of linguistic reconstruction as a pilot Proto-Indo-European. This thesis will add to the discourse of comparative and historical linguistics in the African milieu by testing current reconstructions and engaging current methodological and theoretical debates in African linguistics. This thesis culminates in the establishment of the Proto-Benue-Kwa Push Chain and the establishment of a clear phonetic environment for Proto-Benue-Kwa labial-velars vis-à-vis the labialized velars. The primary contribution to knowledge is in a refinement of current proposals of the phonological inventory as pertains to the C1 of the common pre-dialectal mother tongue (Proto-Benue-Kwa) from which both Akan (Twi) and Yoruba are descended based on analyzed data.

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bádélé Kambon, PhD is an unapologetic Afrikan. He is also a Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana.


bádélé Kambon, PhD
PO Box LG 1149
Institute of African Studies
University of Ghana, Legon, Accra
Greater Accra Region, Ghana, West Africa



+233 249195150
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