Vol 28 No 1 (2019): Nordic Journal of African Studies
Articles Linguistics

Focus constructions in Nkami

Rogers Krobea Asante
University of Education, Winneba, Ghana
Published June 20, 2019
  • focus clause constructions,
  • enclosing focus markers,
  • resumptive pronouns,
  • ex-situ focus,
  • Kwa languages


This article extracts from synchronic data to systematically discuss focus clause constructions (FCCs) of Nkami, an endangered Kwa language of Ghana. It deals with issues that are of general interest in focus, syntax, typology, animacy and grammaticalization. It shows that Nkami exhibits both in-situ and ex-situ FCCs but, like most West African languages (cf. Boadi 1974, Fiedler et al. 2006/2010, Ameka 2010), there is an asymmetry between subject and non-subject focus. Almost all lexical words/phrases including adjectives can be preposed for focus in Nkami. Nkami joins Akan as being the only two Kwa languages described that obligatorily co-reference animate object NPs in ex-situ focus. Unlike most Kwa languages, predicates in focus are always overtly marked by focus markers (FMs). The paper varies from the conve ntion by some Kwa linguists (cf. Boadi 1974, Saah 1988, Ameka 2010, Ofori 2011, Duah 2015) by recognizing a morpheme, which is similar in distribution/function to what is so-called ‘Determiner’ as a FM.


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