Twi is dialect of Akan which is the most widely spoken language that is native to Ghana. You hear it in the streets, in classrooms, on the radio, and on television. Although I am taking a Twi language course, there was no survival Twi lessons or classes that taught us essential words and phrases that would help us navigate our new surroundings. So, I’ll teach you all a few things that I wish I would’ve known during my first two weeks here.
(I am writing all the words and phrases with a few letters that are not native to the English language. I have provided the English sound equivalent before the words and phrases. Also, certain consonant clusters produce sounds that are not native to the English language. I have provided the English equivalent for these clusters alongside the letters.)
ɛ- pronounced like the “e” in the word get
e- pronounced in two ways:
-pronounced “a” as in day
-pronounced “i” as in sit
ky- pronounced “ch” as in church
tw- pronounced “chi”, that is “ch” with pursed/rounded lips
ã- the little line above the a represents that the sound is nasalized;
Words and Phrases
Maakye- Good morning
Maaahã- Good afternoon
Maadwo- Good evening
Medaase- Thank you
Q: ɛtɛ sɛn?- How is it?/ How are you?
R: ɛyɛ. -It is good
Q: Wo ho to sɛn?- How are you?/ How is your body?
R: Me ho yɛ. -I’m fine.
Q:Yɛ frɛ wo sɛn? -What is your name?/ We call you what?
ɛyɛ sɛn?- How much? (asking about the price of something)
Wogye sɛn?- You take how much?/ How much is it? (asking about the piece of something)
Te so- Reduce it (reducing the price of something, use when bargaining)
These are just a few words and phrases that I wish I would have known immediately upon arrival. It’s definitely not an exhaustive list and there are many more things that I could have added but this is a concise list that provides enough information to ask a few things here and there and not make you seem so touristy. If you’re really interested and set on learning Twi, there is a Twi grammar/language book. The book is called, A comprehensive course in twi(Asante) for the non-twi learner by Florence Abena Dolpyne. It is the same book that I am using in my Twi language class and I find it to be very helpful. I hope you all learned something from this post even if it’s just how to pronounce the name of this language!