Prospectus defense: The Morpho-syntax and Semantics of Number Marking in Akan

Comfort Ahenkorah
Event time: 
Friday, September 29, 2023 - 12:15pm to 1:30pm
Event description: 

In this prospectus, we explore issues of number marking from the morphology-semantics interface perspective. Particularly, we present three linguistic phenomena that show why the Akan (a Kwa, Niger-Congo) number marking system requires further investigation, including issues concerning (non)-maximality, pseudo-incorporation, and pluractionality. For instance, in the verbal domain, we argue that the semantic distinction between a single event and multiple event readings is morphologically realized in Akan through verbal reduplication and non-reduplication. We also show that DPs marked by a-…nom and a… -foɔ in Akan morphologically distinguished between maximal and non-maximal readings, respectively.  

Morpho-syntactically, we argue that plural morphology is split between two heads, Num and the nominalizing head n, and these different heads also have distinct semantics implications. 

The morphology-semantics mapping that the Akan number system presents makes it theoretically interesting to an interface approach, and the correct account of these phenomena is important for our understanding of Akan grammar as well as of how number marking works in natural language more generally.