Nominalization in Nkami
Main Article Content
Using synchronic natural data, this paper provides a systematic descriptive account of nominalizations in Nkami, a less studied Guang (Kwa, Niger-Congo) language of Ghana. The data for the study were extracted from a large corpus collected from a documentation project on the language and people. I discuss the types of nominalizations, the strategies for forming them, and some linguistic properties, including semantics, morphology and syntax, of the derived nominals. Among others, it is shown that nouns, but not only verbs, can serve as the base word for nominalization in Nkami. Nkami shows evidence of two major types of nominalizations, action and participant. Whereas participant nominalization is derived through suffixation only, action nominalization may be derived through prefixation, reduplication or compounding. However, whereas action nominals derived through compounding express only actions/processes, those derived through prefixation or reduplication may additionally express situations, states or results. Further, while participant nominals may easily collocate with their cognate verbs as core arguments in simplex sentences, action nominals may only do so in relative clause constructions. Unlike languages such as English and Yagua, agent nominalizations in Nkami may refer to characteristic/habitual or uncharacteristic/specific activities. Aside from telling Nkami’s own nominalization story, this study provides valuable data and analyses that will go a long way in contributing to our cross-linguistic typological understanding of nominalization.
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