On Tone and Morphophonology of the Akan Reduplication Construction

Emmanuel Nicholas Abakah


Reduplication in Akan has received some discussion in the literature but all the studies have concentrated on some aspects of segmental processes that operate on the base to generate the output. In this paper, we study the morphological, segmental and tonal processes related to reduplicative construction in Akan. We demonstrate that on the basis of tonal perturbations which bases and reduplicative templates undergo, and the output tone melody of the reduplicated form vis-à-vis the tone melody of the base, we are able to tell the base from the reduplicant in the Akan reduplicative structure. We argue in the central portions of this paper that the reduplicant in Akan could be either prefixed or suffixed to the base and, in the course of further reduplication construction, it could be sited within the two constituent tokens of the original reduplicative output which serves as an unmarked base for further reduplication. This piece of information counterexemplifies the assertion in the existing literature that in the Akan reduplication construction, the reduplicant is invariably prefixed to the base. In this paper, we study reduplication of verbs, adjectives, nouns, and lexical reduplication and demonstrate that words belonging to the same class behave tonally the same.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5750/bjll.v1i0.808