Akan Teleteaching Course  


Unit 6.5: Notes on grammar

1. Imperative

1a. Imperative

The singular imperative is formed with the prefixless verb stem (except for deà 'take' and baá 'come', see below). The following tone changes apply: monosyllabic High-toned verbs become Low-toned, polysyllabic Low-High-toned ones become Low-Low-toned:

 
Basic tonal pattern
Monosyllabic verbs
Polysyllabic verbs
H
-> L
-
L-H
-
-> L-L


 
-> See also verb chart (tonal patterns of verbal stems)


 
Examples
Habitual form
Meaning
Imperative singular
Meaning
kõá
'go'
kõà!
"Go!"
sõàreá
'get up'
sõàreà!
"Get up!"
toàaá soá
'continue'
toàaà soá!
"Continue!"
gyaàeá
'stop'
gyaàeà!
"Stop (it)!"

The verbsde'take' and baá'come' are replaced by substitute forms:
 
baá
'come'
braà!
"Come!"
deà
'take'
faà!
"Take!"

See below for a summary statement on these alternate forms.

For imperative plural forms (2nd person plural), see below under 'optative'.


1b. Prohibitive

The prohibitive (= negative imperative) is formed with a Low-toned nasal prefix -Nè (cf. negation in Unit 3) and the verbal stem which retains its basitonal pattern (High or Low-High):

 
Examples
Neutral form
Meaning
Nasal prefix Nè-
Prohibitive singular
Meaning
'go'
ôà-
"Don't go!"
'pour'
ôà-
nàguá![ôàôuá]
"Don't pour out!"
'eat (fufu)' [trans. verb]
nà-
"Don't eat fufu!"
'eat' [intrans. verb]
nà-
"Don't eat!"
'bathe'
ôà-
nàdwaàreá! [óàówaàreá/nànwaàreá]
"Don't bathe!"
'chase away'
mà-
"Don't chase away!"
'get up'
nà-
"Don't get up!"
'stop'
nà-
"Don't stop (it)!"

For plural forms (2nd person plural), see below under 'optative'.


1c. Word order with imperatives

The word order in a sentence with imperatives stays the same as in the habitual. The object or adverbial follows the verb:

 
"Come home!"
"Come here immediately!"
"Call Kofi!"
"Give me money!"
"Don't be foolish!"

1d. Imperative in serial verb constructions

Several imperatives may occur in sequence ina single sentence without an intervening connective: Imp1-(Object1)-Imp2-(Object2)-Imp3…Impn. A frequent instance of such serial imperative constructions (-> Serial verbs in Unit 8) are orders involving movement of an object or its use for a certain purpose. Such orders, if addressed to a single person, are usually opened by the imperative faà 'Take (X) …' followed by the word denoting the object or instrument and then by one or more imperative expressions. 

Non-initial imperative verbs carry their inherent lexical tone (1, 2), unless they follow immediately the first imperative verb (3): 
 
"Bring the money!" (= take money come)
"Cut the bread with a knife!"
"Take [it] away!" (= take, go)
"Go and return quickly!"

1e. Imperative of andative and venitive forms

Andative and venitive (called ingressive verbs by Dolphyne [1988: 184 ff.]) express the spatial perspective adopted by the speaker. The andative is expressed with the Low-toned prefix kõà-, denoting movement away from the speaker. The venitive, on the other hand, carries the low-toned prefix bñà- being derived from the verb baá 'come' which indicates a movement towards the speaker. (-> Andative and venitive in Unit 11)

 
1. Andative:
movement away from speaker
Kõàteànaá aàseá!
"Sit down!"
2. Venitive:
movement towards speaker
Bñàteànaá aàseá!
"Sit down!"

2. Optative

The optative mode expresses desires, intentions or suggestions made to or concerning some person (including oneself) or group of persons. Such desires and intentions can be expressed both in the affirmative and the negative. 

The subject markers in the optative are all High-toned:
 
Example:
"Let me go!" / "I should go."
"Don't let me go!" / "I shouldn't go."

2a. Affirmative Optative

The affirmative optative is formed by prefixing a High-toned Né- to the verbal stem.

Note that the optative occurs with all persons, including the 2nd singular. In this latter case, it functions as a polite alternative to a plain imperative.

The optative form in the 2nd person plural serves as the plural counterpart to the Imperative singular: moánákõá 'Go!' (order addressed to two or more individuals).

The optative stem may be preceded by Low-toned auxiliary verb maà 'give, cause to' (here 'let (me, him, us …)'), particularly if the fulfilment of the desire or intention depends in part or entirely on the will of the addressee(s). 
 
.
Monosyllabic verb
kõá 'go'
Meaning
Polysyllabic verb
gyiànaá 'stop'
Meaning
1s
"Let me go!" / "I should go."
"Let me stop!" / "I should stop."
2s
"You should go."
"You should stop."
3s [+anim]
"Let him go!" / "He should go."
"Let him stop!" / "he should stop."
3s [-anim]
"Let it go!" / "It should go."
"Let it stop!" / "It should stop."
1p
"Let's go!" / We should go."
"Let's stop!" / "We should stop."
2p*
"You should go."
"You should stop."
3p
"Let them go!" / They should go."
"Let them stop!" / "They should stop."

*The 2nd person plural serves as a substitute form for imperative plural.

For the correct pronunciation of the optative nasal and the initial consonant of the verb, see notes on negation in Unit 3.
 
-> Compare with verb chart (tonal patterns of verb stems)

2b. Negative Optative

The negative Optative is formed by prefixing a High- NÁ- and a Low-toned Nè- to the verbal stem. This construction is optionally preceded by a màmaá 'do not let' or simply by the positive exhortative form maà 'let (me, him, us …)'.

The 2nd person plural negative optative is used as a Prohibitive plural, in the same way as for the Imperative: moánánàkõá! 'Don't go!' (warning or prohibition addressed to two or more individuals). 
 
.
Monosyllabiverb kõá 'go'
Meaning
Polysyllabic verb
gyiànaá 'stop'
Meaning
1s
"Don't let me go!" / "I shouldn't go."
"Don't me stop!" / "I shouldn't stop."
2s
"You shouldn't go."
"You shouldn't stop."
3s [+anim]
"Don't let him go!" / "He shouldn't go."
"Don't let him stop!" / "He shouldn't stop."
3s [-anim]
"Don't let it go!" / "It shouldn't go."
"Don't let it stop!" / "It shouldn't stop."
1p
"Don't let us go!" / "We shouldn't go."
"Don't Let us stop!" / "We shouldn't stop."
2p*
"You shouldn't go."
"You shouldn't stop."
3p
"Don't let them go!" / "They shouldn't go."
"Don't let them stop!" / "They shouldn't stop."

*The 2nd person plural serves as a substitute form for Prohibitive (= negative Imperative) plural.
 
-> Compare with verb chart (tonal patterns of verb stems)

3. Paradigms for baá 'come' and kõá 'go'

In the two complete paradigms given for the purpose of illustration below, note that baá 'come' is replaced by its substitute braá in the imperative and the affirmative optative. But note also that in the negative imperative and optative, the main stem form baá is being used. 

By contrast, deà 'take' is always replaced by its substitute faá in the contexts of ordering as well as of negating. Therefore, faá is alone is used in all positive and negative expressions of this kind.

Imperatives and optatives of all other verbs take the verbal stem as a basis. 
 
.
Imperative
Prohibitive (= neg. imp.)
Optative (affirmative)
Optative (negative)
1s
-
-
2s
3s
-
-
3s
-
-
1p
-
-
2p
moámámraá!(= aff. opt)
moámámàmaá!(= neg. opt.)
3p
-
-


 
.
Imperative
Prohibitive (= neg. imp.)
Optative (affirmative)
Optative (negative)
1s
-
-
2s
3s
-
-
3s
-
-
1p
-
-
2p
moánákõá (= aff. opt)
moánánàkõá        (= neg. opt.)
3p
-
-

Go to exercise 1

Unit-6 Next