Akan Teleteaching Course

Unit 11.3: Notes on grammar 1

Andative and venitive verbs

1. Andative and venitive verb forms

Andative and venitive verb forms may be formed from any simple verb. Their use is obligatory when the verb denotes an action involving a change of location.

Andative and venitive verb stems are derived from simple verbs stems by prefixing the low tone derivative morphemes -k- (andative) or -b- (venitive). Andative -k- is derived from the verb k 'go', venitive -b- is derived from the verb ba 'come'.

Andative verbs indicate movement away from the speaker or from the viewpoint location adopted by the speaker: 
Ktena ase! "(Go) sit down!" Movement away from speaker
kt paanoo w h. "S/he buys bread there." Movement away from speaker('s adopted viewpoint)

Venitive verbs indicate movement towards the speaker or towards the viewpoint location adopted by the speaker:
Btena ase! "(Come) sit down!" Movement towards the speaker who (e.g.) is already sitting
bt paanoo w ha. "S/he buys bread here." Movement towards speaker('s adopted viewpoint location)

Terminology and bibliography

Andative and venitive share a common property: both forms serve to locate the target of a process or action relative to a deictic center (the speaker or the speaker's adopted viewpoint). If the target is seen as distinct from the deictic center, the andative is being used, if it coincides with it, it is the venitive which is being used. Various terms have been proposed in order to capture this commonality and thus to designate the verbal category of which Andative and Venitive are polar exponents.


Dolphyne (1988: 184-190) offers a complete overview over what she calls the 'ingressive' forms in three Akan dialects. The term itself is subject to misunderstanding as it tends to be used with a rather different meaning in classical aspectology.

Gressive deixis

Boadi (unpublished paper) uses this unusual but otherwise appropriate term to define the function of the andative and venitive prefixes.

Directionals, directionality

This term, used by Saah (unpublished paper), also highlights an important common aspect of the andative and the venitive. We shall use it occasionally below in order to refer to the category of which both andative and venitive are members.

A category of spatial deixis is not uncommonly associated with the verb paradigm in the languages of the world. Other terms which are being used to describe it include 'Itive' (Serzisko) for Andative 'Ventive/Allative' (Jungraithmayr in Zima, 1998: 87).

'Equilocal' and 'Altrilocal' have also been proposed, the first for the 'Venitive', and the second for the 'Andative'. These terms correspond with the definition given above.

2. Tone and tense-aspect of andative and venitive verbs 

The venitive form b- is distinguished from the future prefix b- by its tone. The tone of the future prefix is always High. 

The andative/venitive forms, although normally Low, may be changed to High as a result of the application of link tone rules. Several examples of this are found in the Ananse story in this Unit.

The tonal tense-aspect markers of the directionally marked verb stems follow essentially the same rules based on syllable-count as the simple stems. Whereas t (without directional prefix) 'buy' follows the tonal paradigm of monosyllabic stems, kt 'go-buy' and bt 'come-buy' follow the tonal paradigm of Low-High dissyllabic stems. This can easily be observed in comparing the simple and the derived forms of the Past tense:
t ataade. S/he bought a dress.
te. S/he bought (it).
kt ataade. S/he (went and) bought a dress.
bte. S/he (came and) bought (it).

The andative and venitive verb forms may be used in all TAM (tense, aspect and mood) forms, except in the future. The correct tonal melody for each aspect corresponds exactly to the melody of polysyllabic verb stems and can be gleaned from the last three lines on the Verb chart. The patterns of the andative/venitive stems derived from monosyllabic simplex stems are reproduced here for convenience:
habitual  affirmative  kt paanoo.  bt paanoo.
negative  nkt paanoo.  mmt paanoo.
progressive  affirmative  rekt paanoo.  rebt paanoo. 
negative (= neg. hab.)  nkt paanoo.  mmt paanoo. 
past  affirmative  kt paanoo.  bt paanoo. 
end form  kte.  bte. 
negative  ankt paanoo.  ammt paanoo. 
perfect  affirmative  akt paanoo.  abt paanoo. 
negative  nkt paanoo. ammt paanoo. 
end form  nkte.  ammte. 
imperative  affirmative  Kt paanoo!  Bt paanoo! 
negative  Nkt paanoo!  Mmt paanoo! 
optative  affirmative  nkt paanoo. mmt paanoo. 
negative  nnkt paanoo.  mmmt paanoo.
Table 1: Andative and ventive forms

3.Serial verbs - Andative and venitive

In serial verb constructions, several subsequent verbs may take the andative or the venitive form. This results in a sort of directional agreement which may characterize two or more verbs of a series:
S nsuo nt a, yk afuom ky adwuma.
"If water does-not-fall (= If it does not rain), we-go on-the-field go-do work."
Mede ska k st no mu s merekt paanoo a!kd [a'kod].
"I went with the money to the store in order to buy bread and to eat it."

Andative and venitive forms may alternate, reflecting a complex movement associated with the series:
kt paanoo w h bd. "S/he buys bread there and then (comes home) to eat it." Seen from the speaker's viewpoint, the action described involves first a movement away from him (kt), then a movement towards him (bd [bed])

3.1. Tense-aspect sequences in serial verb constructions containing andative and venitive verbs

Tense-aspect combinations of directional verbs in serial verb constructions are subject to the same constraints as serial verb contructions made up of simple verbs: see "Notes on Grammar 1" in Unit 8 (section 2). They are illustrated here again for directional verbs because (i) andative and venitive verbs may themselves be regarded as a lexicalized variety of serial verbs and (ii) they occur rather frequently together with verb serialization properly speaking (-> Unit 11.5.).

The andative and venitive verb in serial verb constructions may be used in all TAM (tense, aspect, mode) forms:
habitual affirmative k fe kdd. ba fe bdd.
negative nk fe nkdd. mma fe mmdd.
progressive affirmative rek fe akdd. reba fe abdd.
negative (= neg. hab.) nk fe nkdd. mma fe mmdd.
future affirmative bk fe akdd. bba fe abdd.
negative nk fe nkdd. mma fe mmdd.
past affirmative k fe kdde. baa fe bdde.
negative ank fe ankdd. amma fe ammdd.
perfect affirmative ak fe ak!dd. aba fe ab!dd.
negative nk fe nk!dde. mmaa fe mm!dde.
imperative affirmative K fe kdd! Ba fe bdd!
negative Nk fe nkdd! Mma fe mmdd!
optative affirmative nk fe nkdd. mma fe mmdd.
negative nnk fe nnkdd. mmma fe mmmdd.
Table 2: Andative and ventive forms in serial verb constructions

3.2 Some typical examples of motional serial verb constructions involving andative or venitive verbs

Serial verb
de to take Fa! Take!
de k to take away Fa k! Take (it) away!
de k. S/he takes (it) away.
de kma to bring Fa ankaa y kma Kof! Bring these oranges to Kofi!
de ankaa y kma Kof. S/he brings these oranges to Kofi.
de ankaa no kmaa Kof. S/he brought the oranges to Kofi.
faa ankaa no kmaa Kof.
faa ankaa no kmaa Kof de. S/he brought the oranges for Kofi to eat.
bfa ankaa no akma Kof ad. S/he will bring the oranges to Kofi to eat.

*Remember (-> Unit 8.4., Part II) that de 'take' never takes any tense or aspect marker. The subsequent verb in the serial verb construction will be marked instead, e.g. de ankaa no kmaa Kof. "(S)he brought the oranges to Kofi". de is replaced by fa in non-indicative mood and in the negation.
Serial verb
kto to go to throw Kto! Go to throw (it)!
kto gu to go and throw away Kto gu! Go to throw (it) away! (If you hold it already)
de kto gu to take sth. to go and throw away Fa kto gu! Take (it) and go to throw (it) away!
Mede sumna no kto gu. I go to throw the rubbish away.
faa kwadu no kto guu. (S)he threw the banana away.
Ybfa nkwadu no nynaa akto agu. We'll throw all the bananas away.

Serial verb
to go  K!  Go! 
ksa  to go to fetch  Ksa!  Go to fetch! 
ksa nsuo  to go to fetch water  Ksa nsuo!  Go to fetch water! 
ksa nsuo ba  to go to fetch water and come  Ksa nsuo bra!  Go to fetch water and come (with it)! 
de ksa nsuo ba  to take sth. to fetch water and come  Fa ahna ksa nsuo bra!  Take a pot to go to fetch water and come (with it)! 
Mede ahna kse b ksaa nsuo baae.  I went to fetch water with a big pot. 
Mefaa ahna kse b ksaa nsuo baae. 
de ksa nsuo ma nom  to take sth. to fetch water for s.o. to drink  bfa ahna kse b a!ksa nsuo a!ma ne !kunu a!nom  She will take a big pot to fetch water for her husband to drink. 

4. Woawe a, k ky exercise 1!

-> Notes on Grammar 2 (TAM-marking and andative space orientation in serial verbs)

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