Recurrence marking in Akan

Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

Abstract

The linguistic phenomenon of recurrence is identified in two aspects; either as a repetition of an action or a restoration to a former state. This paper examines two lexical items, an auxiliary verb san and an adverb (e)bio, which encode this phenomenon in Akan. The recurrence marker san is claimed to be the output of a grammaticalization process which has as its historical input a phonologically identical lexical verb with a restorative meaning. Even though the recurrence marker san is diachronically associated with restoration, its use gives rise to either a restorative or a repetitive assumption, in the form of an implicated premise. This assumption forms part of the context within which the utterance containing san is interpreted. Thus its function coincides with that of (e)bio, except for one particular use of the latter, associated with its occurrence at utterance-initial position. The almost identical functions of these two markers reveal the close conceptual relationship between recurrence of the repetitive and of the restorative type.

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