Nordic Journal of African Studies - Abstract

Title: Literal and Metaphorical Usages of ‘Eat’ and ‘Drink’ in Akan
Authors: Dorothy Pokua Agyepong, Nana Aba Appiah Amfo and E. Kweku Osam
Published: © Nordic Journal of African Studies Vol. 26(1) 2017, pp. 62–78
Language: English
Keywords: consumption verbs, agent-oriented extension, patient-oriented extensions metaphorical extensions


This paper discusses two consumption verbs in Akan (Niger-Congo, Kwa), dí ‘to eat’ and nóḿ ‘to drink’. The study argues that in addition to their basic meanings, the verbs serve as rich sources of metaphorical extensions. Starting from this premise, the paper provides evidence in the form of expressions wherein the consumption verbs are employed metaphorically for expressing everyday concepts and cognitive processes. First, it presents an analysis of the verbs by briefly discussing the components that comprise the central meanings of the verbs. Second, following Newman (2009), the verbs and their metaphorical extensions are discussed under two broad themes: Agent-Oriented Extensions and Patient- Oriented Extensions. Under Agent-Oriented Extensions, we discuss figurative usages that are based on the internalization of food and drinks as well as extensions based on the sensation of the agent undergoing the event. Extensions derived from the destruction of food during the process of consumption is discussed under the Patient-Oriented.
     We agree to a large extent with Newman and Aberra (2007:253–254) that not all the figurative usages of these verbs are ‘relatable to the literal sense’ of the EAT and DRINK verbs in Akan. For this reason we restrict our discussion to those extensions that are semantically related to the central meanings of these verbs.

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©2015, Nordic Journal of African Studies