A Cross-linguistic Study of Body Part Expressions in Classical and Contemporary Afrikan Languages

Akan, Yorùbá, Kiswahili and mdw nTr





body part expressions, fundamental alienation, fundamental interrelation matrix, continuum


This study aims to discuss body part expressions in Akan (a Ghanaian language), Yorùbá (a Nigerian language), Kiswahili (a Tanzanian language) and  r n Kmt ‘lit. the language of the Black Nation’. The paper addresses the common worldview whereby the concept and its articulation maintain a close connection to the literal real-world referent (the body part in question). The data is taken from collections of previously attested oral and written texts. The study demonstrates that there is a shared worldview continuum from ancient to contemporary Afrikan languages as manifested in body part expressions and that degree of proximity and similarity can be charted along a fundamental interrelation/fundamental alienation continuum.

Author Biographies

Ọbádélé Bakari Kambon, University of Ghana


Lwanga Songsore, University of Ghana - Institute of African Studies

Institute of African Studies

Research Assistant


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How to Cite

Kambon, O. B., & Songsore, L. (2021). A Cross-linguistic Study of Body Part Expressions in Classical and Contemporary Afrikan Languages: Akan, Yorùbá, Kiswahili and mdw nTr. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 10(1), 150–176. https://doi.org/10.4314/gjl.v10i1.334

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