Prof. Charles Ofosu Marfo

Associate Professor

Dept: Language and Communication Sciences
Office of the Provost
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Kumasi, Ghana

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Research Areas/Interests

Language, Linguistics, African Studies and Communication Studies...~more

Research Projects (Current and Past)

  1. The Syllable Structures of Akan: This study explored the syllable structures of Akan, particularly those that involve clusters. The subject of contention was the status of the onset cluster of CC (i.e. Cr) in CCV. Following my earlier research, the claim that Akan does not have an underlying ‘CCV’ structure and that it should be phonologically analysed into ‘CV.CV’ (Marfo & Yankson 2008) was emphasized. Analysis were particularly done within the Optimality Theoretic framework. Thus, ‘CCV’ is motivated by the economy of expression principle.
  2. Socio-cultural Stipulations in Ghanaian Literature of Contemporary Times: This study pursued to do a clear interrogation of patriarchy, woman-on-woman violence, passivity in women and conservative adherence to unfair cultural stipulations. These works also raise the consciousness of old women by revealing to them once again, their worth and space in society. Imbibe with foresight and backed by experience, many traditional old women), as observed by this study, have all it takes to assert their pride as repositories of wisdom. However, it is realized that the challenges of the changing times have had negative influence on some of these old women, making them pursue material gains even at the expense of their dignity. On a socio-cultural level, the study observes that many Ghanaian novels by women are designed to re-inscribe the worth of old women by charting for them road maps through which they can retrieve their dignity and experience self-actualization.
  3. Optimality Theoretic Account of Compounding in Akan: Through the dictates of Optimality Theory, this study looks into how compounds in Akan are formed. From the perspective of the indirect reference hypothesis, this study observes and establishes that the syntactic structure of the compound members (i.e., the noun phrase (NP)), do not solely ensure the domain for the Akan compound and the rules that apply in it, but phonological information as well.
  5. The Structure of Reduplication of Verbs in Akan: This study, which is still on-going, observes the interaction between phonology and morphology (i.e., morphophonology) in Akan reduplicated verb-forms on the assumption that they are morphophonologically driven. Specifically, we strive to look into two issues; the morphology of reduplicated verb stems and how the morphological manifestation(s) affect certain target sounds. Presently, it has been observed that reduplication of the Akan verb-stem is generally total. It has also become evident that, while there could be differences in structure between the reduplicant and the base of the reduplication, they are subject to a common phonology that determines a resulting shape of an output. With morphophonology, we observe that three issues are relevant in the discussion of the phonology of the reduplicated verbs in Akan.
  6. Classification of Verb in Akan: As an on-going study, this project is both fieldwork-oriented and analytical; i.e. while conscious effort is made to collect a huge number of Akan verbs, censor them to get correct forms, and impute them in a well classified database, we (i.e. the researchers involved in the project) are also striving to study the syntagmatic and the semantic structure of the Akan verbs.
  7. Pragmatics of Humor: This study is about how humor in language use impact individual creativity in context (e.g. at the workplace) following the position that humor is an important part of quality of human personality (e.g. Bleedorn (1987), Plester (2009)). Data is particularly gathered from recordings of pieces of discourse that triggered at least a smile. The contents are then analyzed. Attention is also given to each identified humor and how it is used with particular attention to the initiator, the target and the butt of the humor. We ultimately endeavor to underscore the commonly held view in the literature that creativity comes to bear in positive humorous environment of a company and that creativity is positively linked to a favourable humorous surrounding at the workplace.
  8. Political Rhetoric Landscape of Ghana: From the perspective of ethnography of communication, this study attempts to identify and look into the significance of language and its use in politics. The focus is on politics in Ghana and how language was used in campaigns and rhetoric of two major political parties (the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC)) in the country’s 2008 presidential elections. Whether or not language used reflected political ideology is also an issue to pursue. Through analysis of data from one presidential debate in particular, the study also presents and explores strategies used politicians and their individual word choice. It is hoped that results could illustrate the need for understanding language use in political campaigns and rhetoric.
  9. Prosody in Extra-sentential Constructions of Akan: This study looks into extra-sentential constructions in Akan (e.g. the focus and topic constructions) in connection with phonology-syntax interface. From the perspective of the understanding that phonology, through prosody, could influence syntax, it is contended that syntax crucially draws on phonology for structural well-formedness in the anaphoric relation that pertains. It is further suggested and shown that analysis in the prosodic structure (Selkirk 1981; Nespor and Vogel 1986; Hayes 1989; etc.) enables clear, convenient and comprehensive explanation to the anaphoric relation.
  10. Twi Glossary for Technical Disciplines: This project involves an attempt to come out with a near-dictionary of words and phrases in Akan (Twi) that are specific to specific areas of profession/discipline. Presently, one has been completed for clinical students and health workers, dubbed the Twi Medical Glossary. Plans are in place to complete one for legal language and aspects of the judiciary.

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