Aspects Of Kaakye Grammar


This thesis examines some aspects of Kaakye grammar within the functionaltypological

framework. These aspects primarily concern noun class system and

animacy distinctions, relativization, complementation and serialization. Kaakye

is one of the least studied Guan (Kwa, Niger Congo) languages, spoken in the

northern part of the Volta Region of Ghana. The data collected for the study

was mainly based on natural discourse from native speakers in the Kaakye

speaking community. The corpus included spontaneous spoken text of various

genres, elicitation and data from written sources.

Adopting a singular-plural pairing notion, Kaakye nouns were

classified into six classes. The classification revealed a clearer semantic basis

for at least three of the noun classes. It also showed that the language is

sensitive to human/non human distinction on one hand and animate/inanimate

distinction on the other hand. Nouns agree with numerals and a few adjectives

with some restrictions within the noun phrase. The synchronic data analysed

for the study showed that Kaakye has maintained the Proto-Guan noun classes

(Snider 1988) in the development of its noun class system. Nonetheless, there

are two emerging noun class pairings and the loss of singular and plural

prefixes. Evidence is also provided to show that the noun class system is

undergoing decay.

Regarding relative clauses (RCs), it was shown that Kaakye RCs are

strictly post-nominal. Both the head noun and its referent within the RC are

obligatorily expressed. Unlike some Kwa languages, the head nouns

obligatorily take a definite determiner. Kaakye uses both the pronoun retention

and the gap strategy to indicate the canonical positions the head noun occupies in the RC. The study also demonstrates that all the NP positions are accessible

to relativization in Kaakye. Kaakye, however, contradicts two constraints of

the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy. Kaakye employs a relative marker kɛ́

to mark the beginning of the relative clause. Evidence is provided to suggest

that the relative marker is diachronically derived from the manner

demonstrative adverb kɛ́


‘like this/that’ through a grammaticalization


On complementation, it was revealed that Kaakye employs five distinct

complementizers and two complementation strategies: nominalized strategy

and relativized strategy, all of which serve as the object complements of

complement taking verbs (CTVs). The choice of these complementizers and

complementation strategies is, to a large extent, determined by the semantics of

the CTVs and to some extent by the tense, aspect, mood and negation effects of

the CTVs reflected in the matrix clause. The study identifies four semantic

types of CTVs in Kaakye: perception-cognitive-utterance (P-C-U) verbs,

manipulation verbs, modality verbs and evaluation verbs. Examining the coreferential

relation, tense, aspect, mood and negation between the CTVs and

the complement clauses, it is observed that Kaakye generally conforms to

Givón’s (2000) notion of event integration. A diachronic account of the source

of the complementizers shows that unlike most Kwa languages of West Africa,

none of its complementizers is derived from the verb ‘say’.

Finally, the discussion on Serial Verb Constructions (SVC) in Kaakye

showed that Kaakye SVC can have the same syntactic subject which may be

expressed once on the initial verbs or on every verb. The verbs in series may

either share the same object or each may have their own objects. The verbs may have different aspectual and transitivity values. The verbs in most cases

share the same tense, aspect and mood which are marked once on the initial

verb. Negation is marked only once on the initial verb. Kaakye, like its closelyrelated

and non-related neighbouring Kwa languages, shows a pathway to

grammaticalization through serial verb construction.

Subscribe to access this work and thousands more
Overall Rating


5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Kaakye, A (2021). Aspects Of Kaakye Grammar. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

Kaakye, Aspects "Aspects Of Kaakye Grammar" Afribary. Afribary, 08 Apr. 2021, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.


Kaakye, Aspects . "Aspects Of Kaakye Grammar". Afribary, Afribary, 08 Apr. 2021. Web. 24 Jul. 2024. < >.


Kaakye, Aspects . "Aspects Of Kaakye Grammar" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 24, 2024.