A Survey of exocentric compounds in three Kwa Languages: Akan, Ewe and Ga


  • Clement Kwamina Insaidoo Appah Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana




Akan, Bahuvrihi, Ewe, Exocentric compounds, Ga, Synthetic, Typology


This paper explores the range of exocentric compounds in three Kwa languages – Akan, Ewe and Ga – in the context of the typology of exocentric compounds proposed in Bauer (2008a, 2010), which posited five types of exocentric compounds – bahuvrihi,exocentric synthetic, exocentricco-compounds, transpositionalexocentricand metaphorical compounds. Appah (2016b, 2017a)has shown that three of the five types are found in Akan. They are bahuvrihi,exocentric syntheticand transpositional exocentriccompounds. The equivalent of Bauer’s metaphorical compounds is subsumed under bahuvrihi compounds. The absence of exocentric co-compounds seems to be an areal feature, given the observation that co-compounds are rare in Africa (Wälchli 2005). The paper shows that of the three types found in Akan, Ewe and Ga vary in the extent to which they exhibit them. Ewe and Ga have property and location bahuvrihi compounds, but the status of the possessor type is not certain. Ewe has agentive exocentric synthetic compounds, but not the action and patient types, whilst Ga has none. Again, Ga does not have transpositional exocentric compounds, unlike Ewe. Finally, it is observed that the output category of all the compounds is noun, no matter the syntactic category of the constituents. This too might be an areal feature.


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a survey of exocentric compounds in three kwa languages: akan, ewe, and ga




How to Cite

Appah, C. K. I. (2019). A Survey of exocentric compounds in three Kwa Languages: Akan, Ewe and Ga. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 8(2), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.4314/gjl.v8i2.208