Akan Teleteaching Course

5.5 : Notes on grammar 3

Response to positive and negative questions

Questions
Agreements
English
Akan
Finnish
German
Is he here?
w h?
Onko haen taeaellae?
Ist er da?
Positive agreement
Yes, he's here.
Aane, w h.
Kyll, hn on tll.
Ja, er ist da.
Negative agreement
No, he isn't here.
Daabi, nni h.
Ei, hn on tll.
Nein, er ist nicht da.
. . . . .
.
Isn't he here?
nni h?
Eikoe haen ole taeaellae?
Ist er nicht da?
Positive disagreement
Yes, he's here.
Daabi, w h.
Kyll, hn on tll.
Doch, er ist da.
Negative disagreement
No, he isn't here.
Aane, nni h.
Ei, hn ei ole tll.
Nein, er ist nicht da.

Whereas the English, Finnish, German and Akan language use the same pattern to respond to positive questions, it is the negative question in which the Akan language (and many other African languages) pursues a different strategy. English and Finnish use the same pattern to respond to both positive and negative questions whereas German has a different particle in the positive disagreement.

Positive disagreement in Akan:

Question
nni h?
"Isn't he here?"
Response
Daabi, w h.
"Yes, he's here."

Negative disagreement in Akan:

Question
nni h?
"Isn't he here?"
Response
Aane, nni h.
"No, he isn't here."

Negative and positive disagreements in Ghanaian English:

Note that this same pattern of negative and positive disagreements also occurs in Ghanaian English which often leads to misunderstandings:
Questions
Agreements
Ghanaian English
Isn't he here? 
Positive disagreement 
No (he is here). 
Negative disagreement 
Yes (he isn't here). 

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