An etymological study of the word ‘aborɔfo’ (Europeans) and its impact on Akan Language
International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Translation
Volume 1, Issue 1, April 2015, Pages: 1-7
Received: Apr. 15, 2015; Accepted: Apr. 27, 2015; Published: May 5, 2015
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Authors
Lawrence Bosiwah, University of Cape Coast , College of Humanities & Legal Studies, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ghanaian Languages and Linguistics, Cape Coast, Ghana
Kofi Busia Abrefa, University of Cape Coast , College of Humanities & Legal Studies, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ghanaian Languages and Linguistics, Cape Coast, Ghana
Charles Okofo Asenso, University of Cape Coast , College of Humanities & Legal Studies, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ghanaian Languages and Linguistics, Cape Coast, Ghana
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Abstract
The Akan word ‘aborɔfo’ (Europeans) came into existence in Akan through a derivational process. However, two schools of thought exist concerning the actual meaning of the word ‘aborɔfo’. Those who perceive the colonial masters to be wicked (due to their activities in the country) interpret the word as aborɔ-fo(ɔ) ‘wicked people’. The other school of thought has it that the Europeans got the name aborɔfo because they came to the Gold Coast by sea, hence, a-borɔ-fo(ɔ) (i.e. from behind the horizon). This paper seeks to use both historical and linguistic evidence in support of the latter. For the historical evidence, the paper considers the behavior of the Europeans or what they did when they first set foot on the soils of our mother land that could possibly earn them the name ‘wicked people’. It also looks at when they got that name; and also before they were seen to be wicked what was their name. Linguistically, the word aborɔ-fo(ɔ) is compared with ɔbo-fo/abo-fo ‘wicked people’ to indicate that our ancestors would have preferred abo-fo to aborɔ-fo if they wanted to refer to the Europeans as wicked people.
Keywords
aborɔfo (European), wicked people, etymological study, seafaring people, Akan language
To cite this article
Lawrence Bosiwah, Kofi Busia Abrefa, Charles Okofo Asenso, An etymological study of the word ‘aborɔfo’ (Europeans) and its impact on Akan Language, International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Translation. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2015, pp. 1-7. doi: 10.11648/j.ijalt.20150101.11
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