Akan Teleteaching Course

Unit 9.5: Notes on grammar

Sentence combining 1 - Complementation

I. Types of subordinate clauses:
1) Complement clauses
2) Adverbial clauses (-> Unit 10)


1. Complement clauses (-> cf. Osam [1998])

1.1. Complement-taking verbs

Perception-cognition-utterance verbs
an gye be glad, happy
bisa ask
bua reply, answer
dwene think, consider
fr call
gye d believe, think, be sure
gye to mu be convinced
h/hunu see
hy b promise
k say
k kyer tell
kae remember, recall
nim know
pa kyw beg, plead
sr beg, plead
suro be afraid
susu imagine
te hear
Table 1a: Perception-cognition verbs

Verbs expressing modality
b mmden try (hard)
gyae stop
p it's necessary that, must, should; want to, would like to
Table 1b: Modal verbs

Verbs expressing evaluation
s it's necessary that, must, should
w
twa
ns it's not necessary that, must not, should not
Table 1c: Evaluative verbs

Verbs expressing manipulation
boa help
hy  force
ma kwan allow
Table 1d: Manipulative verbs

1.2. Complementiser s ('that, whether', etc.)

Examples
English translation
1. M'an agye s woaba. "I'm happy that you're here (lit. = that you've come)."
2. Kwame dwene s Afua na faa sika no. "Kwame thinks that it was Afua who took the money."
3. Megye d s bba nn. "I am sure that (s)he'll come today."
4. Yagye to mu s Onyankopn w h. "We're convinced that God exists."
5. baa no hunuu s barma no redaadaa no. "The woman saw that the man was deceiving her."
6. k s memmra ntm. "(S)he says that I should come quickly."
7. k kyer yn s bba kyena. "(S)he told us that (s)he would come tomorrow."
8. Mep s mk Nkran. "I'd like to go to Accra." (lit. "I want that I'll go to Accra".)
9. Wsusu s wobba abboa wn. "They imagine that you'll come to assist them."
10. s s wobba. "You'll have to come." (lit. "It's necessary that you'll come.")
11. ns s wka aky. "They mustn't be late."
12. B mmden s wobboa yn. "Try to help us!"
13. Mennm s bba anaa. "I don't know whether (s)he'll come (or not)."
14. Mennye nn s no ne hene. "I'm not sure whether he's the chief." (lit. "I'm not sure whether it's him who is the chief.")
15. bisaa me s mba. "He asked me whether I'd come."

1.3. Complementiser ma

Osam (1998) is the first Akan linguist to suggest that there is another complementiser apart from s, which is ma. The latter is derived from the verb ma 'give' and occurs with manipulation verbs:
Verbs expressing manipulation
boa help
hy force
ma kwan allow

Examples
English translation
16. Amma hy Kof ma d aduane no. "Kofi forced Kofi to eat the food."
17. Es maa Kof kwan ma ke. "Esi allowed Kofi to go."
18. Kof boaa Es ma y adwuma no. "Kofi helped Esi to do the work."

These manipulation verbs, however, can also occur with the complementiser s:
19. Amma hy Kof s nni aduane no.  "Amma forced Kofi to eat the food." (lit. "…that he should eat the food")
The difference between (16) and (19) is that in (16) the manipulation is successful, whereas this is not necessarily the case in (19).
20. *Amma hy Kof ma d aduane no, nanso ann. *Amma forced Kofi to eat the food but he didn't eat it.

An utterance like (20) is not acceptable as the agent of the main clause is successful in getting the agent in the complement to carry out the action.

-> Go to exercise 1
-> Sentence combining 2 (Unit 10)

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