Expressing Property Concepts in Leteh (Larteh)

  • Mercy Akrofi Ansah Research Fellow Institute of African Studies University of Ghana, Legon
Keywords: Leteh, noun modifiers, adjectives, noun reduplicatives, relative clause


Languages have diverse strategies for expressing property concepts. This paper discusses various ways by which property concepts are communicated in Leteh (Kwa: Niger-Congo). In Leteh, property concepts are indicated by the use of a small class of adjectives, made up of thirteen monomorphemic members. The thirteen members represent semantic classes of dimension, age, color and value. In addition to the small class of adjectives, some nouns and verbs in various forms are also used to describe property concepts which denote physical and human attributes. Nouns which are used to designate property concepts may be put under three groups: nominal adjectives, noun modifiers, and noun reduplicatives.  There is a special class of intransitive verbs which may be used to describe property concepts. It has been observed that these intransitive verbs are synonymous to some members of the adjective class. Furthermore, there is a set of verbs which make use of the ‘have’ verb: bò followed by an abstract noun to signify human propensity. Finally, relative clauses are employed as modifiers where the relativizer né introduces the property concept. Data for the study is from a Leteh corpus built by the author. The study contributes to the ongoing debate on the typology of adjective classes.

Author Biography

Mercy Akrofi Ansah, Research Fellow Institute of African Studies University of Ghana, Legon

Mercy Akrofi Ansah (PhD Manchester) is a Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. Her research interests include typology, minority language studies, language contact, literacy.


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