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Title: Ewe: Its grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices
Authors: Ameka, Felix Kofi
Keywords: Ewe - Grammar
Niger-Congo Languages
African Languages
Issue Date: 1991
Publisher: Australian National University
Abstract: This thesis primarily provides an overview of Ewe grammar and a detailed investigation of the meanings of specific grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices in the language. The basic idea behind the study is that every grammatical and illocutionary construction or device encodes a certain meaning which can be discovered and stated so that the meanings of different devices can be compared not only within one language but across language boundaries. An attempt is made to explain the usage of grammatical forms from different perspectives. Priority is given to semantic, functional and discourse-pragmatic concerns although formal constraints and diachronic considerations are also invoked in the explanations. A major concern throughout the thesis is to characterise the communicative competence of a native speaker of Ewe. Chapter 1 contains introductory material about the language, the theoretical and methodological assumptions and the aims and organisation ofthe thesis. The body of the thesis is divided into four parts. Part 1 is a brief overview of the structural grammar of Ewe. It consists of three brief chapters. Chapter 2 describes the phonology while Chapters 3 and 4 provide information on the basic morpho syntax of Ewe. The other three parts are organised on the basis of three (macro) functions (Halliday's semantic metafunctions) of language: propositional, textual and interpersonal. Part II is concerned with the grammatical coding of some cognitive domains: qualities or property concepts as coded by adjectivals (chapter 5); as pectual meanings, specifically the semantics of the ingressive and perfective aspect markers (chapter 6); and possession (chapter 7). Part III examines the grammatical resources available to the Ewe speaker for structuring and packaging information in a clause. The constructions investigated here encode the different perspectives a speaker can assume with respect to how to present the message being conveyed or with respect to how a participant in the situation is conceptualised. Chapter 8 deals with scene-setting topic constructions. Chapter 9 describes “nyá-inverse” constructions and presents them in a typological perspective. Chapter 10 investigates the different ways of conceptualising an 'experiencer' in Ewe through the different grammatical relations such an argument can assume in a clause. Part IV is concerned with the illocutionary devices and constructions used in interpersonal communication. The description of the illocutionary devices is preceded by two chapters that serve as background for the understanding of the other chapters. Chapter 11 discusses the ethnography of speaking Ewe. Chapter 12 explores some theoretical issues in the analysis of illocutionary devices. The illocutionary devices are described in the remaining three chapters. Chapter 13 describes the modes of address in Ewe. Chapter 14 analyses various interactional speech formulae. This part and the thesis ends with an investigation of the significance of interjections (Chapter 15). Each part is preceded by a short overview about the rationale for its organisation.
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