The diversity in Africa is amazing; and it is much more difficult to appreciate this diversity if you are outside Africa. It just hits you like a log, just how diverse the people are once you come here.
One aspect of the diversity of Africans is the language. Languages are so diverse and distinct that it takes a great deal of patience to learn and pronounce them right. There are over 2000 languages spoken in Africa; with Nigeria alone boasting of over 500 languages and Ghana, 50.
It is obvious that learning a bit of a country’s indigenous language and slang words makes it easier to interact with the locals and allows one to appreciate the culture better. Out of the about 50 languages, It is no secret that the most widely spoken language in Ghana is the Akan (specifically, Asante twi) language, and GreenViews Apartments seeks to bring you the top 20 words you would have to know if you plan to visit Ghana.
The Highlighted words are the must know words and their English translations are in either inverted commas or parentheses.
Greeting or Initial Meeting
This is usually translated as “How is it/ how are you?” Ghanaians are very communal people and this is the question likely to be popped at you upon initial meeting of the day because they care about your health. For your information, the traditional Akan words for Good morning, good afternoon and good evening are rarely used, and the English words are usually used and understood by all. The response to “Ꜫtesɛn” is “mehoyɛ” which means (I am fine) or (I am good).
This is the Akan word for “Welcome”. Ghanaians have a culture of being hospitable and are very good natured towards foreigners and this has made the word Akwaaba popular within travelers who frequent Ghana. The response to Akwaaba is “Medaase” which literally means “Thank you”.
Yɛfrɛ wo sɛn?
Just like in other languages and cultural settings on initial meetings, this is usually one of the first questions that pop up…..”What is your name?” The answer to this question should go like: ‘ Yɛfrɛ me (your name)’. Asking someone of his or name is a sure way to start a good interview.
Wo fri hene?
Typically pronounced to sound like ‘wo fri he?’ this question just seeks to know where you are coming from or where you hail from and many Ghanaians know this to be your hometown. Many Ghanaians take pride in the villages, towns or cities they hail from and it is very likely that this question will pop up in a conversation. The answer to that question is…. “Me fri……”where you hail from”. Which translates to “I am from …….”.
Ye be hyia biom
“We will meet again” These are parting words used to express a desire to see someone again in the future – an expression of goodwill and an enjoyed company. It is noteworthy that the (/hy/) is pronounced as (/sh/) in this instance.
At the market
While In Ghana, you may see something that catches your fancy and may want to buy it or make a transaction. You will have to get close to the store or the vendor and say..
Mɛtɔ …..(Add what you want to buy)
The verb ‘buy’ is translated as ‘tɔ’ in Akan. The statement at the beginning of this paragraph actually translates to “I will buy……”. By saying that and following your statement with a pointed finger or hand towards the object of your interest, the vendor is most likely going to instantly recognize what you want and will go ahead and serve you.
We all have preferences; when we go to shops we scan through the wares and products and select the ones we think are attractive and also durable. In Ghana however, if an artifact for is expensive or costly, we say Ne bo y3den! Sometimes that exclamation may make a vendor soften up and give you the artifact at a lower price.
Te so ma me
Is what you will say to request for a reduction in prices on negotiable products especially sold by street hawkers as well as Taxi ride services, It means “reduce the price for me”. Bargaining is at the heart of the local markets that sell goods at affordable prices; so it is really necessary to get your bargaining skills up to be able to make great deals.
To so ma me
This is actually the opposite of the previous phrase, and this means “add some more” . This request is mostly found in the area of commerce and is actually employed when in bargaining. You may want the vendor to add a little bit of the product to what have actually purchased. It is a norm in Ghana that when you are purchasing some things such as food ingredients like tomatoes, cups of rice and the like, you are entitled to ask for a little extra at no cost. That is the situation where “to so ma me” is usually used.
Wo pɛ dɛn?
This translates to mean “what do you want?” in English. This is usually heard from shop attendants and owners who want know what you want or see whether they can persuade you to buy their wares or products. When asked this question, you reply by saying : ‘Me pɛ …..(name of the product)”.
in English, this means “it’s beautiful” and it is said in admiration of the aesthetics of a product. The negative form is ɛnyɛ fɛ which means ‘it’s not beautiful’.
Ꜫkɔm de me
“I am hungry”. Just like in the English language, this phrase is usually used when someone desires for food.
Nsu kɔm de me
“I am thirsty” Used when one desires water. Its literal translation is “I am hungry for water”.
It means “Tomorrow”.
“Today”. In spoken language, it usually sounds like ‘ɛnɛ’ because it is pronounced fast and the “d” sometimes gets lost.
This means “Sorry“.
This means “okay”, an affirmation that one is in agreement with the one he or she is communicating with.
With these vocabs, you will be equipped to start a conversation or can look out for those words when you hear some people speaking the Akan language, so that you can understand what they are saying.
Whenever you think of coming to Ghana, GreenViews Apartments is the ideal place for you to be. A stone throw from the airport, fully furnished rooms and state-of-the-art-security, it is worth more than you are going to bargain for.