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Kente cloth


Twi, pronounced /chwee/, is the language of the Akan people. Readers of We Are Akan will see greetings, words for familiar items, and the words for ‘slave’ and ‘slaves’ in Twi. The English translations are included in the story when the words are introduced. The words and phrases and their translations, along with a pronunciation guide, will be found in the glossary and below. A recording of the words and phrases follows.


A separate recording of a short conversation in Twi will acquaint readers with the sound and rhythm of the language. The written versions of the conversation in English and Twi are posted below, following the recording.


Elinam Kwabena Amevor, instructor in Twi and graduate student in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, recorded the words and phrases. Vivian Akua Koomson and Paul Kofi Koomson recorded the conversation. Mrs. Koomson teaches English in Ghana. Mr. Koomson is a graduate student in the School of Journalism and Communication and also an instructor in Twi at the University of Oregon.

Twi Words and Phrases
00:00 / 05:16


Adae: /ah-DIE/; Ceremony to praise accomplished ancestor chiefs whose stools were turned black and preserved in a stool hut or stool room. The Adae was celebrated every forty-two days. No work was done on the day of an Adae.

Adaepa: /ah-die-PA/; The day of preparation before the Adae celebration

Adowa: /ah-DO-wa/; Festive dance accompanied by singers

Agoo: /ah-GO/; May I come in?

Ahina: /eh-HE-na/; Water pot

Akan: /ah-KAN/; Ethnic group in Ghana that speaks Twi

Akwaaba: /ah-KWAA-ba/; Welcome!

Amee: /ah-MEEH/; Yes, I'm coming.

Ampe: /am-PEY/; Girls’ game of clapping and jumping

Asante: /AH-san-ti/ Akan group centered in Kumasi

Asantehene: /AH-san-ti-he-ni/; King of the Asante Kingdom

Aso: /ah-SOH/; Hoe used on farms

Bra aha: /BRA-ha/; Come here!

Dayie: /DA-yi-eh/; Good night.

Domma: /DOH-ma/; Gold weight for one-tenth of an ounce

Dua: /dju-ah/; Tree

Eyaa: /yaah/; Reply to a greeting; often translated as “Thank you”

Fie: /fi-eh/; Home

Kwadu: /kwey-DU/; Banana

Maadwo: /maah-JO/; Good evening to one person

Maaha: /maah-HA/; Good afternoon to one person


Maakye: /maah-CHI/; Good morning to one person

Medaase: /mi-DAA-si/; Thank you.

Me ko fie: /meh-KO-fi-eh/; I’ll go home.

Mema mo adwo: /meh-ma-mow-AJO/; Good evening to more than one person

Mema mo aha: /meh-ma-mow-AHA/; Good afternoon to more than one person

Mema mo akye: /may-ma-mow-ACHI/; Good morning to more than one person

Nana: /na-NA/; Chiefs and other respected elders are addressed as 'Nana.'

Nanteyie: /nan-ti-YI-eh/; Walk well or safe journey.

Nkruma: /n-KRU-ma/; Okra or okro

Nnonko: /non-KOH/; Slaves

Nsuo: /n-SU-oh/; Water

Nyadoa: /NYAA-do-wa/; Garden egg, eggplant

Oburoni: /oh-BRO-ni/; Caucasian person

Odonko: /oh-don-KOH/; Slave

Odwira: /oh-DWI-rah/; Annual festival to celebrate the yam harvest, pledge loyalty to a chief , and mark the beginning of a new year

Okyeame: /oh-chi-AH-mi/; Spokesman for a chief

Oware: /oh-WA-ri/; Traditional game of stones

Twi: /chwee/; Language spoken by the Akan people

Wassa: /wa-SA/; Akan group that lives in the southwest of Ghana near the Tano River

TWI Conversation
00:00 / 07:17



Dwam Hɔ  

Adjowa: Good morning, Kwame. I’m happy to see you. How are you?

       Kwame, maakye. Ɛyɛ me dɛ sɛ m’ahyia wo. Ɛte sɛn?

Kwame: Hello, Adjowa. I’m fine, thank you. How are you?

       Yaa anua, Adjowa. Me ho yɛ. Medaase. Wo nso, wo ho te sɛn?

Adjowa: Very well. I’m going to the marketplace. Are you going there, too?

       Meho yɛ pa ara. Merekɔ dwam. Wo nso worekɔ hɔ anaa?

Kwame: Yes. I’ll go with you.

       Aane. Me ne wo bɛkɔ.

Adjowa: I need cassava, plantains, yams, peanuts, and chicken. I’ll make fufu and peanut soup for my family tonight.

            Mehia bankye, bɔrɔdeɛ, bayerɛ, nkateɛ ne akokɔnam. Mɛwɔ fufuo ne nkate nkwan ama m’busuafoɔ           anwummire yi.

Kwame: Fufu and peanut soup. That’s food for royals! It will be delicious.

       Fufuo ne nkate nkwan. Ɛyɛ adehyeɛ aduane! Ɛbeyɛ dɛ.


Adjowa: I hope so. What will you buy?

       Mesusu saa. Ɛdeɛn na wobɛtɔ?

Kwame: For my family’s dinner tonight I’ll make soup with okra and garden eggs. I also need bananas and eggs for breakfast.     

       Anwummire yi, mede nkruma ne nyaadoa ɛbɛyɛ nkwan ama m’abusuafoɔ no. Mɛsan so ahia kwadu ne nkosua a mede bɛyɛ anɔpa aduane.

Adjowa: My family loves pineapples. I hope I’ll find someone selling them in the marketplace today. Here we are. I want to eat before I shop. I’ll buy smoked fish and fried plantains for both of us.

       M’abusafoɔ no pɛ aborɔbɛ. Mɛpɛ sɛ mɛnya bi wɔ dwam hɔ ɛnɛ. Yeduru hɔ. Mepɛ sɛ medidi ansa madi dwa. Mɛtɔ nam a yɛaho ne borɔdeɛ a yɛakye ama yɛn mienu.


Kwame: Thank you. I’ll buy two coconuts and we can drink coconut milk before we eat. After we eat, I’ll buy a water pot for my grandmother. I’ll also look at the stools. She needs a new stool.

       Medaase. Mɛtɔ kube mmienu ama yɛanom kube nsuo ansa yɛadidi. Yɛadidi wie a, mɛtɔ nuso ahina ne kanea ama me nanabaa. Mɛ san nso ahwɛ asɛsɛdwa no. Ɔhia asɛsɛdwa foforɔ.

Adjowa: You’ll be busy. How will you carry everything?

       Wo ho bɛkyere wo oo. Sɛn na wobɛyɛ afa ne nyinaa?


Kwame: My brother will be here by soon. He’ll help me.

       Me nua barima no bɛba ha seesei ara. Ɔbɛboa me.


Adjowa: That’s good. Let’s eat now. I love this food!

       Ɛyɛ pa ara. Yɛnnidi. Mepɛ saa aduane yi pa ara!



Translation by Paul Kofi Koomson

February, 2020

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