Akan grammatical relations revisited


  • Kofi Busia Abrefa epartment of Ghanaian Languages and Linguistics, University of Cape Coast
  • Juliet Oppong-Asare Ansah epartment of Language and Communication Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.




Grammatical relations, thematic relation, case, switched positions, Lexical Functional Grammar


Morphological case languages do not necessarily depend on word order to determine their grammatical relations. However, structural case languages depend largely on word order to determine the various grammatical relations. For most configurational languages, the agent/experiencer usually precedes the patient/theme in a simple clause (in the active voice). In the passive voice, the patient/theme occupies the subject position while the agent becomes an object of a preposition (oblique) or omitted as evident in English. Akan, a Kwa language of the Niger-Congo family, being a nominative-accusative language, allows the agent/experiencer to precede the patient/theme in the active construction. In the passive- like construction, however, unlike a language like English, an impersonal pronounoccupies the subject position while the patient or theme remains at the object position. This implies that agents/experiencers do not occur at the oblique position in Akan; neither dopatients/ themes occur at the subject position. Certain verbs (symmetrical verbs), however, may allow the experiencer and the theme arguments to switch positions in the active construction without affecting the meaning of the sentence in the language. This paper seeks to highlight these marked grammatical relations in Akan within the framework of Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG).


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How to Cite

Abrefa, K. B. ., & Ansah, J. O.-A. . (2021). Akan grammatical relations revisited. Drumspeak: International Journal of Research in the Humanities, 5(3), 106–132. https://doi.org/10.47963/drumspeak.v5i3.842