Lesson 25: Akan (Twi) Suffixes (Nsiakyire) | Twi Grammar

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This lesson concludes the series on Twi affixes. Our first lesson in the series introduced us to what affixes are, as well as the types of affixes we have. Then we went on to treat the first affix type known as the prefix (nsianimu), listing a number of examples. Today, we are looking at the second type of Twi affixes: nsiakyire (the suffix).

 

What is a suffix?

Known in Twi as nsiakyire, a suffix is a type of affix that is attached to the end of a word’s root to form a new word with a new meaning.

 

Examples of Twi suffixes

Nsiakyire (suffix) Example Breakdown
 

ni

 

Kristoni (Christian)

abusuani (family member)

ohiani (a poor person)

Kristo (Christ) + ni

abusua (family) + ni

ohia (poverty) + ni

 

wa

 

aberewa (an old woman)

kuruwa (cup)

abaayewa (a young girl)

a + bere + wa

kuru + wa

(prefix) + baa (girl) + ye + wa

 

waa

 

Boadiwaa (Akan female name)

Antwiwaa (Akan female name)

Oforiwaa (Akan female name)

Boadi (Akan name) + waa

 

Antwi (Akan name) + waa

 

Ofori (Akan name) + waa

 

praeɛ (broom)

daeɛ (dream, noun)

atenaeɛ (a sitting place)

pra (sweep, verb) + eɛ

da (sleep, verb) + eɛ

(prefix) + tena (sit, verb) + eɛ

 

deɛ

agudeɛ (jewellery)

akyɛdeɛ (gift, noun)

akodeɛ (armour)

(prefix) + gu (put on) + deɛ

(prefix) kyɛ (gift, verb) + deɛ

(prefix) ko (fight, verb) + deɛ

 

ma

adakama (a boxful)

nnoɔma (clothes)

poma (walking stick)

adaka (box, noun) + ma

nnoɔ + ma

po + ma

 

nom

 

nananom (grandparents)

anuanom (siblings)

yerenom (wives)

nana (grandparent) + nom

(prefix) + nua (sibling) + nom

yere (wife) + nom

 

foɔ

ɔsɔfoɔ (pastor)

ɔdɔfoɔ (a loved one)

okunafoɔ (widow)

ɔ (prefix) sɔ + foɔ

ɔ (prefix) dɔ (love, verb) + foɔ

(prefix) kuna (widow, verb) + foɔ

 

pɔn

 

Onyankopɔn (God)

Mampɔn (name of a town)

sukuupɔn (university)

(prefix) nya (get, verb) + n + ko (one) + pɔn

Mam + pɔn

sukuu (school) + pɔn

 

all vowels (a, e, ɛ, i, o, ɔ, u)

dii (ate)

saa (danced)

too (threw)

di (eat, verb) + i

sa (dance, verb) + a

to (throw, verb) + o

 

m and n

tɔnn (sold)

tamm (lifted)

pɔnn (closed)

tɔn (sell, verb) + n

tam (lift, verb) + m

pɔn (close, verb) + n

 

Notes

1. ni is a performer suffix; roughly corresponds to the -er suffix in English (as in teach-er, farm-er)

2. The suffix wa is a diminutive marker; indicates smallness.

3. The suffix waa is typically attached to names to indicate the feminine gender.

4. The suffix nom is attached to kinship terms to form their plurals.

5. The suffix pɔn indicates greatness; big size.

6. If a verb ends in any of the vowels, suffixing the same vowel to it changes it into the past tense form. Note: this is the case when there is a verb complement.

7. If a verb ends in m or n, suffixing the same letter to it changes it into its past tense form. Note: this is the case when there is a verb complement.

 

Let’s end here. Do go over the suffixes one more time. If you come across any suffix that isn’t on the list, you may contribute by dropping it in the comments section below.

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