I’ve asked the Teresas to teach me one phrase per day each. This list is the little Twi [chooee] I have learned in my nearly three years in Ghana. The words on the left are the Twi words using the English alphabet, those in the brackets is how I pronounce them, and finally the meaning.
One of the tricky things about learning Twi in Ghana is that people are actually speaking several languages simultaneously. And no one is bothering to tell you that they are. There are three dialects of Twi (Ashanti, Fanti, Akuapem) and several separate languages including Ewe, Hausa, and Gaa. Too bad you can’t figure out that they are speaking different languages.
- The “)” is actually a letter pronounced like “o”
- “3” is also a sound like “ay” in “hay”
- “ky” is pronounced like “ch”
[e-ti-SANE] – How are you?
3y3 [E-ye] – I’m good
medaase [me-DA-si] – Thank you
akwaaba [a-QUA-a-ba] – Welcome
[saa] – for emphasis, “I like it like that”
[papa] – for emphasis on some adjectives
[o] – for emphasis on some adjectives, added at the end of an adjective
nsuo t) [in-see-o-TO] – It’s raining.
mani agyi [many aJE] – I’m happy
bra [bra] – Come here
k) [ko] – Go
- me ko A&C – I’m going to A&C
- me k)) A&C – I went to A&C
- me k3 – I will go to A&C
- wo ko A&C – You go to A&C
meedwen [me DREN] – I’m thinking
wate ase [wa-ti-a-SE] – Do you understand?
wate anaa [wa-ti-an-a] – Did you hear me?
mate [ma-TE] – I hear you
mate ase [ma-ti-a-SE] – I understand
okyena [o-CHEE-na] – Tomorrow; Used to say, “I’ll see you tomorrow!”
me mp3 saa [mem-pe-sa] – I do not like that
wo ho ay3 f3 [wo HON a fe] – You look nice
wei ye den [way-e-den] – What is this?
[me-bu-A] – Am I lying?
[ma-BRA] – I’m tired.
waakye [wa-CHAY] – Rice, beans, gari, may include noodles; it is a breakfast staple