Some Morphological and Phonological Processes in Akan Day-Names Formation

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Kwasi Adomako


The structure of personal day-names in Akan, a Niger-Congo (Kwa) has been conceived of as having root morphemes and affixes in their composition in the underlying representation (UR), hence they are derived through affixation (cf. Christaller 1933, Ofori 2019). In this paper, I show that each of the day-names is rather a compound of the noun+noun type in composition in the UR. The data for this study were collected from literature and also from my own intuition as a native speaker. The main objective of this paper is to examine the morphological and phonological processes by which each of the male and female day-names can be derived. As a morphological composition, I show that both male and female day-names have a common template: deity names. The gender distinction between both male and female is the attachment of either /kwa-/ [kʷá], a shortened form of àkòá [àkʷʊ ̀á] ‘man, slave’ (morpheme1) or /-ba/ [bá], which is from ɔ  ̀bá ‘child, offspring’ (morpheme2) for male or female respectively. The phonological operations that the day-names undergo in the derivation include deletion, vowel harmony, vowel raising, etc. is support my analysis with language-internal evidence as well as records of names of Barbadian and Jamaican slaves of Akan original dating back to the 16th century. In deriving all these personal day-names, I propose common templates for all personal day-names (both males and females) as follows: akoa + name of the deity (of the day on which one was born) for male day-names, and name of the deity + ɔba for female day-names. I conclude that not only does the postulation of the compounding of the components of the day-names sheds more light on their compositional make-up, but we are also able to explain tonal phenomenon lexical downstep in some of the day-names.


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How to Cite
Adomako, K. . (2018). Some Morphological and Phonological Processes in Akan Day-Names Formation. Journal of The Linguistic Association of Nigeria, 22(1), 116–136. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Kwasi Adomako, Department of Akan-Nzema Education

University of Education, Winneba,

College of Languages Education, Ajumako Campus



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