DagaareLinguists' HomePage

Welcome to the homepage of the DagaareLinguists. The DagaareLinguists is an informal grouping of professional academic linguists who have worked on the Dagaare language. In general, these are linguists who are united in their common interest to promote scholarship in Dagaare linguistics. The DagaareLinguists is purely an academic grouping of linguists who discuss and exchange information regarding their professional linguistic analysis of this and related languages.

Policy on Personal Data at HKU

Currently, this home page has the following items:
項目符號 Who is Who in Dagaare Linguistics
項目符號 Recent Publications in Dagaare Linguistics
項目符號 An Introduction to the Dagaare Language
項目符號 A Comprehensive Bibliography of Dagaare Studies
項目符號 UN Declaration of Human Rights in Dagaare
項目符號 Journal of Dagaare Studies
項目符號 Links to Relevant Sites
項目符號 Mailing List
項目符號 Search

Who is Who in Dagaare Linguistics

The purpose of this who is who list is to outline the interests of members and to provide readily available addresses to consult regarding our questions and discussions about the structure of Dagaare. Please help make this home page and, especially, the mailing list lively by bringing up issues for discussion and sending various bits of information about your research to update the entries. Please, together, let us help promote the linguistic scholarship of this medium-sized West African language.

[Policy on Personal Data at HKU]

項目符號 Ali, Mark.
Department of Ghanaian Languages,
University College of Winneba,
P. O. Box 25 Winneba, Ghana.
Areas of interest: grammar.

項目符號 Anttila, Arto.
Department of Linguistics,
New York University, USA
719 Broadway, #419
New York, NY 10003

: arto.anttila@nyu.edu
Phone: 212-998-7950
Fax: 212-995-4707

Homepage: http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/lingu/people/faculty/anttila/
Areas of interest: Phonology.
Work in progress : Stress and tone in Dagaare.

項目符號 Bodomo, Adams B.
Department of Linguistics,
The University of Hong Kong,
Pokfulam Road, HONG KONG.
E-mail: abbodomo at hku dot hk
Areas of interest: syntax and grammatical theory, lexical semantics and lexicography, language and literacy education, Human Language Technology. Work in progress: a Dagaare - Cantonese - English lexicographical resource; various draft papers in syntax, literacy studies, and morphophonology.

項目符號 Bresnan, Joan.
Dept of Linguistics,
Stanford University,
Stanford, CA 94305-2150, USA.
E-mail: <bresnan@stanford.edu>.
Areas of interest: Syntax, LFG.
Work in progress: Dagaare action nominalizations as mixed categories.

項目符號 Dakubu-Kropp, Mary Esther.
Institute of African Studies,
University of Ghana, Legon,
Accra, Ghana. Email:
Areas of interest:phonology, syntax.
Work in progress: Dagaare and other North-West Oti-Volta tone, VP systems, Topic and Focus constructions.  

項目符號 Dapila, Fabian.
Translation Consultant
United Bible Societies (UBS)
African Inter-regional Translation Services
Ndemi Road, Off Ngong Road
P. O. Box 42726
Nairobi, Kenya
Email: dapila@ubs-afrsc.org
Work in progress: Bible translation projects in Uganda and Eritrea.

項目符號 Delplangue, Alain.
Département de Linguistique et de Didactique du F.L.E.,
Faculté de Lettres,
3 rue des Tanneurs, 37000 Tours, France.
Tel et fax professionnel: 02-47-67-36-66-34.
Adresse e-mail personnelle: <adelplanque@francemultimedia.fr >
Areas of interest: phonologie, syntaxe et sémantique.
Work in progress: La place du contexte dans une théorie de l'énoncé: le cas de la topicalisation et de la focalisation en dagara, LLACAN, 1995-1998. - La proposition relative en dagara, Paris 1998. - Dissymétries dans le système consonantique du dagara: charme et ergonomie des Eléments Phonologiques, LLACAN, 1995-1998.

項目符號 Hall, Edward.
PO Box 44456, Nairobi, Kenya.
Email: <
Areas of interest: syntax.

項目符號 Hellan, Lars.
Department of Linguistics.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU),
N-7055 Trondheim, Norway.
E-mail: <lars.hellan@hf.ntnu.no>.
Areas of interest: syntax, lexical semantics, etc.

項目符號 Kennedy, Jack.
Areas of interest: phonology.

項目符號 Luke, K. K.
Department of Linguistics.
The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, HONG KONG.
E-mail: <kkluke@hkusua.hku.hk>.
Areas of interest: Conversation analysis, Cantonese grammar.
Work in progress: Lexical semantics, etc.

項目符號 van Oostendorp, Marc.
Meertens Institute, P.O. Box 94264, 1090 GG Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Email: <
Areas of interest: phonology, syntax.
Work in progress : Serial verb nominalization in Dagaare, etc.

項目符號 Nakuma, Constancio.
Department of Languages, Clemson University
717 Strode Tower, Clemson, USA.

Areas of interest: phonology, orthography development.
Work in progress: Dagaare phonology, Gur morphology.

項目符號 Nino, Maria-Eugenia.
Department of Linguistics,
Stanford University, Stanford, CA. 94305-2150, USA.
E-mail: <nino@csli.stanford.edu>.
Areas of interest: syntax, LFG.
Work in progress: Multiple exponence of inflectional features such as tense, aspect, and mood in various languages. One of my case studies is Dagaare serial verbs.

項目符號 Poulin, Christine.
Department of Linguistics,
Stanford University, Stanford, CA. 94305-2150, USA
Email: <poulin@csli.Stanford.EDU>.
Areas of interest: syntax, semantics.
Work in progress: variation in the expression of result across languages (for example, things like resultatives, `He smashed the bug flat' and manner-of-motion verbs, `He danced into the room'). Dagaare is one of the languages I've been looking at.

項目符號 Saanchi, James.
Department of Linguistics,
P. O. Box 61, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana.
Areas of interest: morphology, noun classes, Syntax and Semantics.
Work in progress: Grammar of Spatial Constructions

項目符號 Schwenter, Scott.
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
The Ohio State University
266 Cunz Hall
1841 Millikin Road
Columbus, OH 43210-1229, USA
Phone: (614) 292-9588
Fax: (614) 292-7726
e-mail: schwenter.1@osu.edu
Areas of interest: syntax, semantics, functional typology.

Work in progress: Dagaare tense.

項目符號 Somé, Penou-Achille
Professeur de linguistique
The University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Areas of interest: Phonology

項目符號 Yabang, Cletus.
Department of Ghanaian Languages,
P. O. Box 25, University College of Winneba, Winneba, Ghana.
Areas of interest:grammar.

Recent Publications in Dagaare Linguistics

Anttila, Arto and Adams Bodomo. 2000. Tonal polarity in Dagaare. In Carstens, Vicki & Frederick Parkinson (eds.). Trends in African Linguistics 4: Advances in African Linguistics. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. pps 119-134.

Bodomo, Adams. 2002a. The syntax of serial verbs in Dagaare. In: New Directions in Ghanaian Linguistics, edited by F. K. Ameka and E. K. Osam. Accra, Ghana: Black Mask Ltd.

------ 2001. (with K. K. Luke, and O. Nancarrow). Linguistic form compression in Dagaare. De Proverbio: Electronic Journal of International Proverb Studies. 7 (1). URL: http://www.deproverbio.com/DPjournal/DP,7,1,01/index.html

------ 2001a. The temporal systems of Dagaare and Dagbane: re-appraising the philosophy of linguistic relativity. Journal of Cultural Studies 3 (1): 43-55.[Abstract]

------ 2001b. Dagaare. In: Facts about the World's Languages: an Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages: Past and Present, edited by J. Garry et. al.. New York and Dublin: The H. W. Wilson Press.

----- 2001. History from linguistcs: loanwords in Dagaare as sources of information for a cultural history of the Dagaaba. Journal of Dagaare Studies. Vol 1: 1. pps 15-24.

------. 2001. A comparative study of English small clauses and Dagaare serial verbs. In Languages and Linguistics.

------. 2000. Dagaare: Languages of the World Materials No. 165. Lincom Europa, Munchen, Germany.   

------. 1999-2000. Ka Te Yele Dagaare: A Proficiency Course in Dagaare Language and Culture. Online proficiency coursebook. at: <http://www.hku.hk/linguist/staff/_ab.DagaareProficient.html>

Nakuma, Constancio. 2002. A guide to Dagaahre orthography. Journal of Dagaare Studies. Vol. 2.

------ 2001. Name morphology and significance among the Dagaaba of Ghana. Journal of Dagaare Studies. Vol 1:1.

Saanchi, James Angkaaraba. 2002.. Linguistic Parallelism and the Dagaaba Dirge. in Ameka, Felix K. and Kweku Osam (eds) New Directions in Ghanaian Linguistics.



An Introduction to the Dagaare Language

Constancio Nakuma

Dagaare is the language of the Dagaaba (plural of Dagao), a predominantly agricultural community of approximately one million people located in north-western Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) called the Upper-West Region, and in south-western Burkina-Faso (formerly Upper Volta). The name Dagaare designates, more accurately, one of several dialects in the continuum of dialects that make up this language. Although speakers of the language agree on their common ancestry and cultural identity as Dagaaba, it appears as though the need for a common designation for the language and cultural identity has never been felt by the indigenous people, hence the lack of a commonly accepted name for the language and the people who speak it, as well as the liberty with which scholars like us assign these names, as we must. Dagaare has been assigned the following names in the literature by different scholars: Dagaari, Dagaa-Wiile, Dagara, Dagari, Dagarte, Dagarti, Lobiri, Lo-Dagaa, Lo-Wiile, etc. Classified as a Gur (or Voltaic) language within the Mole-Dagbane subfamily of the Niger-Congo family of languages, Dagaare shares with the other family members their characteristically register tone feature and the use of labio-velar consonants.

Dialect boundaries within Dagaare are generally not clear cut, but noticeable phonetic (both segmental and prosodic), lexical, and syntactic differences exist between the dagaare, dagara, and waale dialects, each of these designations covering internal variations of more or less significant proportion. The dagara dialect, in addition to the normal internal variations similar to those which characterize waale and dagaare, suffers from variation imposed upon it by the political legacy of colonialism : The Dagara of Burkina-Faso borrows from the French language to enrich its stock of vocabulary, while the Dagara of Ghana borrows from the English language. A people so divided by their language, are they still one ? I suspect that behind this question must lie a gold mine for anthropological linguists and dialectologists. Linguistic neighbors of the Dagaaba include the Moore or Mossi (in Burkina-Faso) to the North, the Sisaala and Gurma to the North-east, the Grunne or Grunsi to the East, the Vagala (in Ghana) to the South and the Lobi (in Cote d'Ivoire) to the West.

Dagaare studies is still, relatively speaking, in its infancy despite an increase in the number of native speakers who have joined the ranks of foreign scholars to document the cultural, artistic, and linguistic wealth of the Dagaaba. Dagaare needs all the scholarship it can get, be it in the form of the rigorous and insightful analyses which "outsiders" like Jack Goody and "insiders" like Malidoma Patrice Some have already given us in the domain of Dagaare ethnography, for example, or the complementary perspectives given by Penou-Achile Some (insider) and Alain Delplanque (outsider) on the linguistics of the lobr and wule subdialects of the Dagara of Burkina-Faso, or even the proposal by Adams Bodomo to replace names like "Gur" or "Voltaic" with a more culturally-adapted name like "Mabia." Equally needed are works focusing on promoting Dagaare literacy, either in the form of short stories of the type that Mr. Dong was among the first to compile, or semi-technical works like Dagaare fonologyi by Cletus Yabang, or even spelling guides, like the one compiled by the Dagaare Language Committee, or the Guide to Dagaare Orthography still in the works by Constancio Nakuma and Adams Bodomo. Finally, not less important are studies on the economics and politics of Dagaabaland. Whatever the particular focus of any study, it is important that "outsiders" feel just as competent as "insiders", and vice versa, in making their contribution, for each one's unique insights help us all to see the full picture - and more clearly. Without each of us making our brush stroke, the canvas will probably never be completed. It is in this spirit that this web page is being developed to unite all dagaarephiles in collaborative and complementary effort, for the better understanding of the Dagaaba and their language.


Links to Relevant Sites

項目符號 Adams Bodomo's HKU home page
項目符號 Gur Linguistics home Page
項目符號 Linguists' home page
項目符號 Two Northern Ghana towns: Lawra and Navrongo
項目符號 Ghana Place Names: Turl
項目符號 Others

Mailing List

In addition to this home page, there is also a mailing list. To join, send an email message to me (see address below) with a short note introducing yourself and your work. This homepage and the mailing list are being maintained and administered by me, A. B. Bodomo, as a voluntary, public service to the academic community. Requests for addition, modification, and deletion of information from this home page may be sent to me, using any of the following lines of communication:

Dr. A. B. Bodomo,
Department of Linguistics,
The University of Hong Kong,
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
Fax: (852) 2546 4943



Search this site:


Search the entire World Wide Web:


Guest Comments

Name: Dansieh Solomon A.
E-mail address: dansieh@hotmail.com or dansieh@stud.ntnu.no
Comments: 'Garebanye!'to all the doyens of Dagaare language studies and this invaluable homepage. I'm proud of you. I a student here at the Norwegian University of Science and Tech., Trondheim and your work on various aspects of the language has been of immense help to me in my studies.
Trondheim, Norway. 01.52Hrs, Tuesday Feb 4, 2002.


Monday, February 4th 2002 - 04:53:06 PM

Name: Domotiere Yuonayel
E-mail address: domotiere@yahoo.com
Comments: I'm simply excited to read these pages about my people right here in New York City! This just shows how far we've come, and how far we can go if we understand that the world is our terrain. My personal thanks to all who are involved in doing this great job of making all people get to know, and hopefully, understand one another.
Keep up this wonderful job!

Tuesday, November 13th 2001 - 11:26:15 AM

Name: Tamaryn Cornelius
E-mail address: Tam-Tam@rocketmail.com
Comments: I am going to Ghana for a school trip and wanted to find any
information on the language. If you can help me please feel
free to mail me. I attend the University of North Texas.

Thursday, January 4th 2001 - 04:33:04 PM


[back to top]

Last updated: 25th May 2003

© 2000-2003 Adams Bodomo. All rights reserved.