Akan Teleteaching Course

Unit 10.6: Notes on grammar 1

Focus

Akan na focus

A. How constituents of a sentence are marked for focus
  • positionally (shift to the front of the sentence)
  • morphologically (addition of focus marker na, always Low tone)
  • tonally (the first Low of the predicate becomes High)
  • sentence-finally if the sentence ends on a verb, with or without an object suffix (in Asante only: suffixation of a final open front vowel and/or of a High tone, in some tenses only)
Relative and temporal adverbial clauses show similar tonal and morphological characteristics of dependent predicates as the focus construction. Details of the tonal changes are shown in Notes on Pronunciation of this Unit.

-> Relative and temporal clauses
Kof baae. "Kofi came."
Kof na baae sometimes heard as [Kof naa baa]. "It was Kofi who came."
y Kof na baae [… naa baa]. "It was Kofi who came."
ny Kof na baae [… naa baa]. "It was not Kofi who came."
Note: If a human subject is focused, as in these examples, the person prefix of the verb is replaced by the neutral prefix -.
Mfr no kyena. "I shall call him tomorrow." 
kyena na mfr no. "Tomorrow I shall call him."
nnora mefr wo nanso woamma. "Yesterday I called you but you did not come."
nnora na mefr wo nanso woamma. "It was yesterday that I called you but you did not come."
Mefr Ado. "I called Addo."
Ado na mefr. "It was Addo whom I called."
Ado na mefr no. "Addo was the one I called (not both of you)."

-> Exercise 1

B. Serial verb construction: in situ vs. displaced na-focus -> optional research part

 

C. Scope of focus in extended serial verb constructions 

Oy tuo fr ne kotokuo mu to b Kof kum no
He-took pistol got-out-from his pocket inside threw hit Kofi killed him
"He took the pistol from his pocket and killed Kofi."
Kof na oy tuo fr ne kotokuo mu to b no kum no.
"It was Kofi whom he took the pistol from his pocket and shot."
Etuo na oyi fr ne kotokuo mu to b Kof kum no.
"It was the pistol that he took from his pocket and shot Kofi with."
Kof na oy tuo fr ne kotokuo mu to b ne ba kum no.
1. "It was Kofi whose son he … shot."; 2. "It was Kofi who … shot his son."

-> Notes on grammar 2

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