The syntax and semantics of Gã future markers

Published: 6 October 2021| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/m46h3xtfng.2


Audio data comprising naturally-occurring spoken discourse in support of paper on future expression in Gã, whose abstract is below. This paper explores the syntax and semantics of two grammatical markers of future time in Gã (Niger-Congo, Kwa) – bàá- and àá-. The coexistence of àá- and bàá- over a long period, coupled with their overlapping roles, has led to some inconsistency in their analysis. I show that in modern Ga, bàá- is the most prevalent future marker, with àá- existing much less prominently alongside it. Data from natural speech and elicitation reveals that both markers have modal functions in addition to the temporal function. bàá- can also be used aspectually to mark habits. Due largely to the overwhelming frequency of the temporal function in the discourse data, I maintain that the primary function of bàá- is as a future tense marker. It is therefore not purely a modal, as has been suggested by Dakubu (2008). àá- has all but fallen out of use and has a more modal than temporal function. This study uncovers previously unreported non-temporal uses of bàá- and underscores the crucial role played by frequency in the determination of category function. Reference Dakubu, Mary Esther Kropp 2008. Ga verb features. In: M.E Kropp Dakubu and Felix K. Ameka (eds.), Aspect and modality in Kwa languages, 91-134 Amsterdam: John Benjamins



University of Ghana