African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187

Recounting history through linguistics: A toponymic analysis of Asogli migration narratives

Mercy Adzo Klugah
Department of Ghanaian Languages and Linguistics, University of Cape Coast, Ghana. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 11 June 2013
  •  Published: 31 October 2013



Scholars seek to present the history of the Ewe in two main ways, namely, the symbolic and the scientific. Migration narratives constitute good examples of the symbolic historical genre. Using Tent and Blair’s toponymic typology, the paper tried to extract scientific historical information from some of the names of places contained in the migration narratives of the Asogli of the Volta Region. The paper found out that toponyms are history-preserving tools among the Asogli since they are used to mark certain important occurrences on the migration route. The linguistic approach used also revealed that Asogli migration narrative toponyms have brought various grammatical structures together through the process of agglutination. The paper, therefore, concluded that while scholars who adopt the scientific approach may rely, for example, on archaeology, a linguistic approach could provide a complementary alternative for gaining a holistic historical picture of the Asogli.


Key words: Migration narratives, history, linguistics, toponyms, toponymy, agglutination.