search catalogue

Description and Documentation of Sekpele


Language Sekpele
Depositor Cephas Delalorm
Affiliation SOAS University of London
Location Ghana
Collection ID 0323
Grant ID IGS0143
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This collection includes data on Sekpele for its analysis, description and documentation. Sekpele is a language spoken primarily by ten Likpe communities north-east of Hohoe (the district capital, which is an Ewe community) in the central Volta Region of Ghana with an estimated population of 25,000. Sekpele is one of the fourteen Ghana Togo Mountain (GTM) that is under-documented.

The collection includes audio/video recordings and written text as well as data on which a Sekpele grammar and the depositor’s Ph.D. thesis is based.


Group represented

Sekpele is spoken primarily by ten Likpe communities north-east of Hohoe (the district capital which is an Ewe community) in the central Volta Region of Ghana with an estimated population of 25000. There are two main roads that lead to the various towns from Hohoe; one leads to Nkwanta, Bakwa, Mate, Bala, Todome, and the other leads to Abrani, Koforidua, Agbozume, Avedzime and Kukurantumi via Lolobi-Kumasi. Although some of the communities are difficult to reach by assess road, they are linked to each other by paths.


Language information

Sekpele (Niger-Congo, Kwa, Ghana-Togo Mountain) is one of the 14 Ghana Togo Mountain languages that is under-documented. Sekpele, like other Ghana Togo Mountain languages, has an unusual typological properties compared to other Kwa languages. For example, in the Sekpele phonology there is a ten-vowel system with the inclusion of high [-ATR] vowels as opposed to the eight-vowel system proposed by earlier linguists.

A review of the literature and social setting reveals that Sekpele, like most Ghana Togo Mountain languages, is endangered. Studies and observation have shown that there is less literature for literacy in the language. Ewe as the Lingua franca is preferred for social and economic interaction. If this trend is not curtailed, Sekpele will follow the pattern of becoming extinct due to external domination.


Special characteristics

Cephas Delalorm and his parents are Sekpele speakers themselves. Cephas’s is father is from Likpe Bala and his mother is from Likpe Kukurantumi.


Collection contents

When completed, this collection will include

  • 50 hours of audio recordings and 5 hours of video recordings (interviews, narratives and everyday conversation; ceremonies such as festivals, birth and naming ceremonies, puberty rites, weddings, funerals, …; activities such as trading at the market place and farming)
  • transcriptions and annotations (phonetic transcription, morphological breakdown of words, English glosses, part-of-speech glosses, free translations into English)
  • written texts
  • a lexical database
  • a short dictionary
  • a PhD thesis with a focus morphosyntax, including morphological typology and processes, constituent order typology and clause combinations, as well as a sketch of the phonology of Sekpele since it forms the bases of its morphological processes
  • potentially, primers learning aids in the language to supplement existing ones


Collection history

These materials were collected between 2011 and 2014 during fieldwork for Cephas Delalorm’s ELDP-funded PhD research.


Other information

Most of the previous works done in Sekpele are comparative studies with other Ghana Togo Mountain languages. They consist of very sketchy information on some aspects of Sekpele grammar and they are available in Westermann (1910); Heine (1968); Ford (1973); Alan (1980); Dakubu and Ford (1988) and Ring (1995). There is a handful of published articles available on Sekpele: Andy Ring (under review) on the phonology and on language structures of Sekpele, Ameka (2002) on the progressive aspect in Sekpele, Ameka (2009) on verb extensions in Likpe (Sekpele), Lomotey (2009) on the vowels of Likpe, and an article by Cephas Delalorm himself on vowel harmony in Sekpele. There is also a project by the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT) to translate the bible into Sekpele and also to develop a dictionary of the language.


Acknowledgement and citation

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Delalorm, Cephas. 2014. Description and Documentation of Sekpele. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

Powered by Preservica
© Copyright 2023