Samuel Gyasi Obeng: Conversational Strategies in Akan [PDF]


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Prosodic Features and Discourse Categories

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XVI, 174 pp.
author and subject index, map of Ghanaian languages

Text language: English

Besides the exchange of ideas, prosodic aspects like pronunciation and intonation are very important in any conversation. The author chooses Akan, a Kwa language spoken in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire und Togo by about 8,3 mill. people, to describe existing prosodological phenomena. For example, in the Akan society it is insulting if a younger person speaks louder than an older one. This is the same for persons of lower social status talking to persons of higher status.

Since most linguistic and sociological studies have hitherto neglected the prosodic phenomena, the author’s main concern in his empirical study is the relevance of prosody in natural conversational interaction in Akan. Specifically, he describes how such prosodic resources as tempo, loudness, pitch, pause, and voice quality are employed by interlocutors to manage interactional categories like turn-taking, overlapping talk, repair and other conversational categories.

The author thus explores the link between an aspect of formal linguistics (phonetics) with social science (sociology, ethnomethodological conversational analysis).