Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

STUF - Language Typology and Universals

Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung

Editor-in-Chief: Stolz, Thomas

4 Issues per year


Cite Score 2016: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.176
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.518

Online
ISSN
2196-7148
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 70, Issue 2 (Jul 2017)

Issues

Divergence and convergence among the Ghana-Togo Mountain languages

Felix K. Ameka / James Essegbey
Published Online: 2017-07-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/stuf-2017-0013

Abstract

The genetic unity and lineage of a group of fifteen languages spoken in the mountains of the Ghana-Togo border with an outlier across the Togo-Benin border have been debated for over a century. Some have concluded that they are not a genetic group. Instead they are a geographical and socio-cultural grouping (see Ian Maddieson 1998, Collapsing vowel harmony and doubly-articulated fricatives: Two myths about the phonology of Avatime. In Ian Maddieson & Thomas J. Hinnebusch (eds.), Language history and linguistic description in Africa, 155–166. Trenton: Africa World Press) or a typological grouping masquerading as a genetic unit (Roger Blench 2009, Do the Ghana-Togo mountain languages constitute a genetic group? Journal of West African Languages 36(1/2). 19–36). This paper investigates the latter claim. We argue that even though the languages share some typological features, there is enormous diversity among the languages such that they do not constitute a typological grouping by themselves. We examine four phonological and twelve morpho-syntactic features to show the convergence and divergence among the languages. We argue that while some of the features are inherited from higher level proto languages e.g. the noun class systems, others are contact-induced and yet others in their specificities could be seen as arising due to internal parallel development in the individual languages.

Keywords: Ghana-Togo Mountain languages; genetic unity; typological diversity; contact-induced change; shared grammaticalization

References

  • Agbetsoamedo, Yvonne. 2014. Aspects of the grammar and lexicon of Sɛlɛɛ. Stockholm University PhD thesis.Google Scholar

  • Allan, Edward Jay. 1973. A grammar of Buem, the Lelemi language. University of London PhD dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. 2002. The progressive aspect in Likpe: Implications for aspect and word order in Kwa. In Felix K. Ameka & E. Kweku Osam (eds.), New directions in Ghanaian linguistics, 85–111. Accra: Black Mask.Google Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. 2005. “The woman is seeable” and “The woman perceives seeing”: Undergoer voice constructions in Ewe and Likpe. In Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu & E. Kweku Osam (eds.), Studies in the languages of the Volta Basin 3: Proceedings of the Annual Colloquium of the Legon-Trondheim Linguistics Project, January 2005, 43–62. Legon: Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana.Google Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. 2006. Grammars in contact in the Volta Basin (West Africa): On contact-induced grammatical change in Likpe. In Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald & Robert M. W. Dixon (eds.), Grammars in contact: A cross-linguistic typology, 114–142. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. 2007. The coding of topological relations in verbs: The case of Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). Linguistics 45(5/6). 1065–1104.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. 2009. Verb extensions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). Journal of West African Languages 36(1/2). 139–157.Google Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. 2012. Possessive constructions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). In Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald & Robert M. W. Dixon (eds.), Possession and ownership: A cross-linguistic typology, 224–242. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. 2017. Logophoricity. In Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald & Robert M. W. Dixon (eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic typology, 477–512. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Ameka, Felix K. & Stephen C. Levinson. 2007. Introduction – The typology and semantics of locative predicates: Posturals, positionals and other beasts. Linguistics 45(5/6). 847–872.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Bennett, Patrick R. & Jan P. Sterk. 1977. South central Niger-Congo: A reclassification. Studies in African Linguistics 8(3). 241–273.Google Scholar

  • Bertho, Jacques. 1952. Les dialectes du Moyen-Togo. Bulletin de l’IFAN B 14. 1046–1107.Google Scholar

  • Blench, Roger. 2009. Do the Ghana-Togo mountain languages constitute a genetic group? Journal of West African Languages 36(1/2). 19–36.Google Scholar

  • Bobuafor, Mercy. 2013. A grammar of Tafi. Utrecht: LOT.Google Scholar

  • Christaller, Johan Gottlieb. 1889. Sprachproben aus dem Sudan von 40–60 Sprachen und Mundarten hinter der Gold- und Sklavenküste. Zeitschrift für Afrikanische Sprachen 3. 133–154.Google Scholar

  • Clements, George N. 1975. The logophoric pronoun in Ewe: Its role in discourse. Journal of West African Languages 10(2). 141–177.Google Scholar

  • Defina, Rebecca. 2009. Aspect and modality in Avatime. Leiden University Research Master thesis.Google Scholar

  • Defina, Rebecca. 2016. Events in language and thought: The case of serial verb constructions in Avatime. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics PhD thesis.Google Scholar

  • Dimmendaal, Gerrit J. 2001. Areal diffusion versus genetic inheritance: An African perspective. In Robert M. W. Dixon & Alexandra Aikhenvald (eds.), Areal diffusion and genetic inheritance: Problems in comparative linguistics, 359–392. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Dingemanse, Mark. 2011. The meaning and use of ideophones in Siwu. Nijmegen: Radboud University PhD dissertation. (MPI Dissertation Series in Psycholinguistics 64).Google Scholar

  • Dorvlo, Kofi. 2008. A grammar of Logba (Ikpana). Utrecht: LOT (Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics).Google Scholar

  • Dorvlo, Kofi. 2009. Focus in Logba. Journal of West African Languages 36(1/2). 91–106.Google Scholar

  • Eklo, Jacqueline. A. 1987. Le kposso de Tomegbe (Togo): Phonologie, grammaire, textes, lexique kposso-français. Université de Grenoble Ph.D. thesis.Google Scholar

  • Essegbey, James. 1994. Anaphoric phenomena in Ewe. University of Trondheim MPhil Thesis.Google Scholar

  • Essegbey, James. 2010. Locative constructions in Tutrugbu: Losing typological characteristics due to contact. The Journal of West African Languages. 37(1). 93–118.Google Scholar

  • Essegbey, James. in preparation. A grammar of Tutrugbu (Nyagbo). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar

  • Fiedler, Ines & Anne Schwarz. 2005. Out of focus encoding in Kwa and Gur. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure 3. 111–142.Google Scholar

  • Ford, Kevin. 1971. Aspects of Avatime syntax. Legon: University of Ghana PhD thesis.Google Scholar

  • Ford, Kevin. 1973. On the loss of cross-height vowel harmony. Research Review Supplement 4. 50–80.Google Scholar

  • Greenberg, Joseph. 1963. The languages of Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar

  • Harflett, Sharon & Peter Tate. 1999. Selee grammar: A preliminary study. Accra: Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT).Google Scholar

  • Harley, Matthew. 2005. A descriptive grammar of Tuwuli, a Kwa language of Ghana. London: SOAS PhD thesis.Google Scholar

  • Heine, Bernd. 1968. Die Verbreitung und Gliederung der Togorestsprachen. Berlin: Reimer.Google Scholar

  • Heine, Bernd. 1969. Die Konsonanten des Proto-Buem. Linguistics 7(52). 27–42.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Heine, Bernd. 2003. Comparative constructions in Africa: An areal dimension. Annual Publications in African Linguistics 1. 47–68.Google Scholar

  • Heine, Bernd. 2013. GTM noun class systems: How to deal with them in grammars. Paper read at a Workshop on A decade of Ghana-Togo Mountain Languages Studies in the Netherlands, Leiden University 31st May 2013.Google Scholar

  • Heine, Bernd. this volume. From “Togorest” to GTM. Some reflections on genetic relationship in a group of West African Niger-Congo languages.

  • Heine, Bernd & Zelealem Leyew. 2008. Is Africa a linguistic area. In Bernd Heine & Derek Nurse (eds.), A linguistic geography of Africa, 15–35. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Heine, Bernd & Mechthild Reh. 1984. Grammaticalisation and reanalysis in African languages. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.Google Scholar

  • Höftmann, Hildegard. 1971. The structure of the Lelemi language. With texts and glossary. Leipzig: Enzyklopädie Leipzig.Google Scholar

  • Hyman, Larry M. 2007. Niger-Congo verb extensions: Overview and discussion. In Doris L. Payne & Jaime Peña (eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, 149–163. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.Google Scholar

  • Keenan, Edward L. & Bernard Comrie. 1977. Noun phrase accessibility and universal grammar. Linguistic Inquiry 8(1). 63–99.Google Scholar

  • Köhler, Oswin. 1953. Review of Diedrich Westermann & Margaret Arminel Bryan. 1952. Languages of West Africa. Afrika und Übersee 37. 187–190.Google Scholar

  • Kropp Dakubu, Mary Esther. in press. On the validity of Kwa as a Genetic Group. Afrika und Übersee.Google Scholar

  • Kropp Dakubu, Mary Esther. this volume. Sub-classifying the languages of the Lower Volta Valley: Towards redefining Kwa.

  • Kropp, Mary Esther. 1967. Lefana, Akpafu and Avatime with English gloss. Legon: Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.Google Scholar

  • Maddieson, Ian. 1998. Collapsing vowel harmony and doubly-articulated fricatives: Two myths about the phonology of Avatime. In Ian Maddieson & Thomas J. Hinnebusch (eds.), Language history and linguistic description in Africa, 155–166. Trenton: Africa World Press.Google Scholar

  • Matras, Yaron. 2009. Language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,Google Scholar

  • Morton, Deborah. 2012. [ATR] harmony in an eleven vowel language: The case of Anii. In Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison & Tristan M. Purvis (eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African languages in context, 70–78. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. www.lingref.com

  • Muysken, Pieter & Norval Smith. 2015. Surviving the middle passage: The West African Suriname Sprachbund. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Putten, Saskia van. 2014. Information structure in Avatime. Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics PhD Thesis.Google Scholar

  • Ring, Andrew J. 1995. Lεlεmi tone. Papers from GILLBT’S seminar week January 30-February 3 1995, Tamale, 1995, 16–26. Tamale: GILLBT Press.Google Scholar

  • Robbeets, Martine & Hubert Cuyckens. 2013. Towards a typology of shared grammaticalization. In Robbeets Martine & Hubert Cuyckens (eds.), Shared grammaticalization: With special focus on the Transeurasian languages. 1–20. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Rongier, Jacques. 1997. Langues autonomes du Togo, entre Gur et Kwa? Electronic ms.

  • Schuh, Russell. 1995. Aspects of Avatime phonology. Studies in African Linguistics 24(1). 31–67.Google Scholar

  • Schwarz, Anne & Ines Fiedler. 2007. Narrative focus strategies in Gur and Kwa. In Enoch Aboh, Katharina Hartmann & Malte Zimmermann (eds.), Focus strategies in African languages. The interaction of focus and grammar in Niger-Congo and Afro-Asiatic, 267–286. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Soubrier, Aude. 2013. L’ikposso uwi phonologie, grammaire, textes, lexique. Université Lumière Lyon 2 PhD thesis.Google Scholar

  • Stassen, Leon. 2000. AND-languages and WITH-languages. Linguistic Typology 4(1). 1–54.Google Scholar

  • Stewart, John M. 1989. Kwa. In John Bendor-Samuel (ed.), The Niger-Congo languages, 217–245. Lanham: University Press of America.Google Scholar

  • Stolz, Thomas, Sonja Kettler, Cornelia Stroh & Aina Urdze. 2008. Split possession: An areal-linguistic study of the alienability correlation and related phenomena in the languages of Europe. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Storch, Anne & Yao Koffi. 2000. Noun classes and consonant alternation in Akebu (Kǝgbǝrǝkǝ). Frankfurter Afrikanistische Blätter 12. 79–98.Google Scholar

  • Struck, Bernhard. 1912. Einige Sudan-Wortstämme. Zeitschrift für Kolonialsprachen 2(3). 233–253, 309–323.Google Scholar

  • Westermann, Diedrich. 1927. Die westlichen Sudansprachen und ihre Beziehungen zum Bantu. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Westermann, Diedrich H. & Margaret Arminel Bryan. 1952. The languages of West Africa. London/New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2017-07-14

Published in Print: 2017-07-26


Citation Information: STUF - Language Typology and Universals, ISSN (Online) 2196-7148, ISSN (Print) 1867-8319, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/stuf-2017-0013.

Export Citation

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in