Serial Verb Nominalization in Akan: Okunini Ọbádélé Kambon

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Serial Verb Nominalization in Akan: Dr. Ọbádélé Kambon

PhD Thesis

[PDF] 307 Pages


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.

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