Ordinal numeral constructions in Akan

  • Clement Kwamina Insaidoo Appah


Numerical thinking is so flexible that it is possible for numbers to be used in a variety of contexts, where they assess properties of empirical objects, and relations between numbers are associated with relations between empirical objects. This is called number assignment (Wiese 2003a) and three basic types are distinguished – cardinal, ordinal and nominal number assignments (Wiese 2007: 759-760). This paper looks at ordinal number assignment, which is the expression of the relative rank or position (first, second, third, etc.) of items in ordered sets, so that a particular element of the set is assigned a place within that fixed order (Stampe 1976: 600; von Mengden 2010: 21). The set of ordered entities that are assigned number in ordinal numeral assignment is referred to as the ordinal space. Focusing on the formal means of expression, it is shown that Akan ordinal expressions inherit their formal structure from verb phrases in the language. This makes them structurally regular, although they constitute constructions some of whose elements are prespecified, making them constructional idioms (Booij 2002; Jackendoff 2002). It is shown that Akan ordinal numerals contain cardinal numeral constituents which identify the relative rank of entities in the ordinal space. It is also shown that there is a class of ordinal-like verb phrases which also identify ranks of ordered entities. However, they are not regarded as ordinal numerals because they do not contain numbers and so they only express successor relations non-numerically, making them incapable of referring to specific positions in ordered items. In the presentation of the data and analysis I employ formalism from Construction Morphology

How to Cite
AppahC. K. I. (2022). Ordinal numeral constructions in Akan. Constructions, 12. https://doi.org/10.24338/cons-471