Some effects of emphatic particles on Akan evidentials

Joana Portia Sakyi


Akan is one of the many languages which uses lexical verbs and verbal constructions to express evidentiality. In this paper, we discuss four verbs used as both evidential and non-evidential forms. Further, we discuss focusing strategies and the use of emphatic particles (EMPH) to support focused constituents. Our aim is to determine whether emphatic particles have any influence on evidential constructions containing them. It is observed that when the source of information – the entity from whom knowledge is emanating is focused, different degrees of attenuation/accentuation is demonstrated depending on the pragmatically derived information associated with the EMPH. Although in normal conversations these particles add emphasis to focused constituents they are associated with, we note in this study that when certain emphatic particles are used in constructions containing evidential verbs, they not only give emphasis but also they become pointers of face threatening mechanisms - (im)politeness depending on the interpersonal relationship existing between the interlocutors.  Analysis in this study forms part of a bigger study on modality and evidentiality in Akan, based on self-created corpus from Akan literature, radio discussions, observation and constructed examples from researcher’s native competence.

Palabras clave

Evidentiality in Akan; Attenuation in Akan; Emphatic particles in Akan

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