Values and Behaviour: The Literary Concept of “Bosom” in the Akan Culture

Peter Arthur  ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.7  No.9  September 2021 Issue  Article 4 pp.143-152
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021794  |   Published online 30th September 2021.
© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

12 Downloads

This paper sees the Akan concept of “bosom”, translated into English as “lesser god”, as a very powerful socializing instrument used in constructing social order in the community. The aim of this paper is not to discount or dismiss the spiritual powers of the “bosom” but to use oral literature as a platform to investigate the role of the Akan people in the construction of what is known as “bosom”. This study has recourse to qualitative research methods in gathering data, the researcher immersing in the culture through formal and informal interviews and participant observation. The study also goes further to use the literary stylistics approach in analyzing the data. The findings are that man makes the taboos and the lesser gods execute the punishment. Again, taboos are values which constitute the tracks on which the society moves. These values “disguised” as “bosom” work, thanks to the fear factor in the Akan concept of “bosom”, making Akans literally worship these values in the form of “bosom”.

Keywords: Cultural values, taboos, punishment, Akan lesser gods, stylistics

Agyekum, Kofi. Ntam ‘reminiscential oath’ taboo in Akan, Language in Society, 33, (3), (2004): 317-342.


Agyekum, Kofi. Akan Body Parts Expressions: Cognitive Semantics and Pragmatic Approach, Accra: Adwinsa Publications (Gh) Ltd., 2018.


Assimeng, Max. Social Structure of Ghana: a study in Persistence and Change, Accra: Ghana Publishing Corporation, 1999.


Barber, Karin. How Man Makes God in West Africa: Yuroba Attitude towards the “Orisa”, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 51 (3), (1981).


Becher-Leckrone, Meghan. Julia Kristeva and Literary Theory. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.


Chomsky, Naom. Language and Mind. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc, 1972.


Danquah, Joseph B. The Akan Doctrine of God. London, state the publisher 1944.


Dolphyne, Abena F. The Akan (Twi-Fante) Language.: Its Sound System and Tonal Structure. Accra: Ghana Universities Press,1988.
Grottanelli, Vinigi. L. Gods and Morality in Nzema Polytheism. Ethnology. 8 (4), 1969.


Huang, Yu. The Application of Stylistic Analysis in College English Teaching, Advances in Economics, Business and Management Research, 75, (2019): 554-557.


Joseph, John. E. From Whitney to Chomsky: Essays in the History of American Linguistics. State the city of publication John Benjamins, 2002.


Kluckhohm, Florency and Fred Strodtbeck, quoted in Spates, J. L. The Sociology of Values, Annual Review in Sociology, 9, (1961): 27-49.


Lazzeri, Filipe. On defining behavior: Some notes, Behavior and Philosophy, 42, (2014): 65-82.


Marfo, Charles. and SolaceYankson. The Structure of the CCV Syllable of Akan. Concentric: Studies in Linguistics, 34 (2) (2008): 85-100.


Nukunya, Godwin, Kwaku. Tradition and Change in Ghana, Accra: Ghana Universities Press, 1992.


Ringwald, Walter. Die Religion der Akanstamme und das Problem Ihrer Bekeh-rung. (Stuttgart,1952).


Sapir, Edward. quoted in Paul Kay and Willet Kempton, What is Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis? American Anthropologist. 86 (1), (1929): 65-79.


Spates, James, L. The Sociology of Values, Annual Review in Sociology, 9, 27-49.


Ṡtekauer, Pavon and Rochelle Lieber. eds. Handbook of Word-formation, Dordredtch: Springer, 2005.


Turrisi, Patricia Ann ed. Pragmatism as a Principle and Method of Right Thinking: the 1903 Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism by Charles Sanders Peirce. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, 1997.


Whorf, Benjamin Lee. Science and Linguistics. In Language. Thought and Reality. John B. Caroll, ed. Cambridge, Mass: M. I. T. orig. pub. In Technology Review. 42 (1929): 229-231, 247-248.


Yankah, Kwesi. The Proverb in the contect of Akan rhetoric; a theory of proverb praxis, New York: Bern, 1989.


Young, Michael, W. The Intensive Study of Restricted Area, Or, Why did Malinowski Go to the Trobriand Island? Oceania, 55 (1)(1984): 1-26.

Peter Arthur(PhD) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana.

Arthur P. “Values and Behaviour: The Literary Concept of “Bosom” in the Akan Culture  E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies, 7 no.9 (2021): 143-152  https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021794

© 2021 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).