Semantically Ambiguous: An Overview of Some Akan and Dangmbe Riddles


  • Jonathan Edward Tetteh Kuwornu-Adjaottor Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana
  • George Appiah
  • Melvin Nartey



Semantics, Riddles, Akan, Dangme


Riddles, like folktales are considered an important aspect of speech games that promote critical thinking. Due to the influx of foreign games, local riddles have recently lost their values. But as an important aspect of Akan and Dangme cultures, riddles are included in school curricula, especially at the higher learning institutions, to create awareness of their socio-cultural importance in the society and to the youth. The importance of riddles and brain teasers cannot be overemphasized. Policy makers are keenly interested in promoting the use of riddles as a means of empowering the Ghanaian youth with the capacity to resolve the growing challenges of our economy. This paper seeks to address some of the teething problems associated with some of the popular Akan and Dangme riddles. Using aspects of the ethnography of communication theory (Gumperz, 1972) and (Saville-Troike 2003), selected riddles from the two languages, collected from communities were analyzed descriptively by means of feature/componential method. The findings are that, the meanings and/or ideas they express are not certain due to the sameness of features between the items with which the riddles are framed and other items. The paper has thus added to literature in the discipline of semantics.

Author Biography

  • Jonathan Edward Tetteh Kuwornu-Adjaottor, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana

    Department of Religious Studies

    Associate Professor


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