A visit to Akpafu by David Asante, 1887

The first ever published account of a visit to Akpafu was written by David Asante, a Twi pastor who travelled throughout today’s Volta Region in the company of some white missionaries. The journey took place in January 1887; the date of the visit to Akpafu was January 25th, 1887. The account was originally written in Twi, and translated in German in 1889 by the eminent linguist J.G. Christaller, who published it in a German geographical journal. This post provides an English translation.

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Basquekpafu

There you are, author of such groundbreaking works as The African Origins of Classical Civilisation, Maori: The African Evidence, and Who were the Minoans?: an African answer. You now want to solve the Basque enigma once and for all, and since the general thrust of your work is to link everything to Africa one way or another you set out to discover that Basque is in fact a Niger-Congo language. A look at the rich lexical material in Westermann (1927) provides ample inspiration. Let’s pick one of the Togo Remnant Languages, you think — after all, Basque is sort of remnant too. Akpafu. Euskara. Hey, why not. Let’s just see what we can do… no-one’s going to notice, right?

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‘Do ideophones really stand out that much?’ (with sound clips)

Today’s question: do ideophones really stand out that much? This is something you can only decide for yourself. Here are three examples from Siwu. They come from my corpus of everyday discourse and represent the three most common ideophone constructions. These three constructions account for 88% of 230 ideophone tokens in the corpus; the examples thus can be said to be typical of ideophone usage in day to day conversations in Siwu

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I thought I had company (a Mawu dirge)

Funeral dirges (sìnɔ in Siwu) are sung during the period of public mourning preceding a burial. The musical structures of these dirges, the performances, and their place in the larger context of the funeral have been described in some detail by Agawu (1988) and before him by the German missionary Friedrich Kruse (1911); however, the linguistic aspects of the genre have not received any attention so far. Dirges are rarely heard in Kawu nowadays, but there are signs of a renewed interest in the genre.

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