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Ewe: Its grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices

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Ameka, F. K. (2012). Ewe: Its grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices. München: LINCOM EUROPA.

his work offers a modern description of Ewe(GBE), a Kwa (Niger-Congo) language of West Africa. It assumes that the “essence of linguistics is the quest for meaning” (Whorf) and investigates the meanings of grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices representing them in Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) style explications. The explications account for the range of use of the constructions suggested by data from diversified mediated discourse: television and radio interviews and drama, written plays and fiction as well as insider knowledge of and observed behaviour both as participant and observer in Ewe communities of practice. The author draws ecumenically on insights from functional and formal linguistic approaches. The work opens with an overview of Ewe structural grammar. The rest of the work is divided into three parts. Part II concentrates on property denoting expressions, imperfective aspect constructions and possession. Part III examines the grammatical resources available to the Ewe speaker for packaging information in a clause: scene-setting constructions, a “capability passive” construction and experiential constructions. In Part IV illocutionary devices such as formulaic and routine expressions, address terms and interjections are described paying attention to their socio-cultural dimensions of use. This work is of interest to Africanists and linguists interested in grammatical description, typology, semantics and pragmatics as well as anthropologists interested in ethnography of communication and the relation between language and culture.