In English, we can say:
- my cup
- your cup
- his/her cup
- its cup (whatever ‘it’ is referring to that could own a cup)
- our cup
- your (plural) cup
- their cup
It is this set of words, the ‘my’, ‘your’, ‘his/her’, ‘its’, ‘our’, ‘your’, and ‘their’ in the above, that we refer to as possessive adjectives. And, today, we are looking at the equivalent of those in Twi.
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What is a Possessive Adjective?
A possessive adjective is an adjective used to show ownership. When a possessive adjective is placed before a noun, it indicates that the referent of the noun belongs to the referent of the possessive adjective. In other words, placing a possessive adjective right before a noun shows that whatever the noun refers to belongs to whomever/whatever the possessive adjective refers to.
So, just as exemplified with the ‘cup’ examples at the beginning of this lesson, we used the various possessive adjectives to show that the ‘cup’ belongs to the respective referent of the possessive adjective.
List of Twi Possessive Adjectives
|me||my (1st person singular)|
|wo||your (2nd person singular)|
|ne||his/her (3rd person singular)|
|ne||its (3rd person singular neutral)|
|yɛn||our (1st person plural)|
|mo||your (2nd person plural)|
|wɔn||their (3rd person plural)|
1. Me kuruwa
2. Wo sika
3. Ne mpaboa
His/her footwear (shoes)
4. Ne ntaban
5. Yɛn asoɔden
6. Mo suban
Your (plural) character.
7. Wɔn sukuu.
- When the noun following any singular possessive adjective begins with the letter ‘a’, certain changes occur. So, if you have any singular possessive adjective, and the noun that follows it (the noun that refers to the possessed entity) begins with the letter ‘a’, we apply the following changes:
- We delete the vowel in the singular possessive adjective
- In place of the deleted vowel in point ‘a.’, we introduce an apostrophe
- We combine what is left of the singular possessive adjective with the noun that begins with the letter ‘a’ into a single unit in writing.
Let’s see that in action. So, the singular possessive adjectives that we have in Twi are:
- me – my
- wo – your
- ne – his/her
- ne – its
If we have a noun that begins with the letter ‘a’ following any of the above, we first need to delete the vowel in the possessive adjective to get
Next, we need to introduce an apostrophe in place of the deleted vowel.
Finally, we need to combine what we have left of the singular possessive adjective with the noun that begins with the letter ‘a’.
Thus, using the noun ‘ani (eye(s)), we would have:
- m’ani (not me ani)
- w’ani (not wo ani)
- n’ani (not ne ani)
- n’ani (not ne ani)
- The plural possessive adjectives do not change in form irrespective of the nouns that appear after them. In other words, the rule spelt out in point 1. above does not apply to the plural possessive adjectives. Whether or not the noun that comes right after a plural possessive adjective begins with the letter ‘a’ or any letter for that matter, the plural possessive adjective would stay same in form, and would not be combined with the possessed noun. Let’s see that in action below:
- yɛn ani (not y’ani)
- mo ani (not m’ani)
your (plural) eye(s)
- wɔn ani (not w’ani)
Thank you for reading. Catch you in our next class.