Conceptualizing MATURITY in the Mfantse dialect of Akan


  • Grace Nana Aba Dawson-Ahmoah University of Ghana
  • Patrick Nana Wonkyi University of Education, Winneba



semantics, metonymic mapping, conceptualizing maturity, experiential realities, Mfantse (Akan), Ghana


This paper investigates metonymic expressions that express MATURITY in the Mfantse dialect of Akan. Studies in English and Akan have demonstrated that, through metonym (and metaphor), concrete concepts and experiential realities like the heartbeat, redness of the eyes, and hotness of the skin serve as grounding for the conception of abstract concepts like fear, joy, sadness, and anger (Kövecses, 1986, 1990, 1991; Agyekum, 2018). This study analyzes the features that qualify a subject for maturity among the Mfantse people which is an understudied topic. Similar to the conception of emotions, concrete concepts, as well as experiential realities, are used to express the mature state of an entity. Thus, expressions of maturity encode cognitive underpinnings that reflect the experience, culture, and the environment of the speakers of the language. The study uses a qualitative design. Fifteen Akan speakers were purposively selected for this study. We used semi-structured interviews to collect data. Findings indicate that concrete concepts, as well as experiential realities like CHANGE-OF-STATE and CROP FLORESCENCE, serve as grounding to mark the maturity of a subject. The effect of maturity is used as the vehicle to access the subject of maturity. It was concluded that, according to the Mfantse people, maturity is an innate trait that is marked by signs, transition, deeds, and relationships. This study collects, indexes, catalogues, and describes metonymic expressions of maturity, and opens up an opportunity to probe further into the role of difference in the sociolinguistic real-time use of these everyday metonyms (and metaphors) as well as the dynamism of metonymy in everyday use of the Mfantse people. 

Author Biographies

Grace Nana Aba Dawson-Ahmoah, University of Ghana

Grace Nana Aba Dawson-Ahmoah is a PhD candidate at the English Department, University of Ghana, where she teaches Communication Skills. She speaks Mfantse as her first language. She is currently pursuing her PhD in English at the University of Ghana, Legon. Her research works include The Metaphorical Conceptualisations of SEX in the Branding of Alcoholic Beverages in Ghana (2018), A Systemic Functional-Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Political Campaign Advertisements in Ghana (in press), and a book on Communication Skills for Tertiary Students (2019). She is currently working on metaphors found in the registers of Ghanaian variety of English.

Patrick Nana Wonkyi, University of Education, Winneba

Patrick Nana Wonkyi is a lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba, College of Languages Ajumako, Ghana. His area of specialization is Akan Linguistics, specifically, semantics and pragmatics. His research is more inclined to documenting the registers used in various indigenous occupations among the Akan. He is a native of Anomabo and has lived his life among the Mfantse people for years. He is currently working on metaphors found in the registers of indigenous Akan occupations. 


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How to Cite

Dawson-Ahmoah, G. N. A., & Wonkyi, P. N. (2021). Conceptualizing MATURITY in the Mfantse dialect of Akan. Sociolinguistic Studies, 15(1), 91–110.