Dorothy Brown Soper
RECORDINGS OF THE TWI LANGUAGE
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
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
TWI WORDS AND PHRASES
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
A CONVERSATION IN TWI WITH
THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION
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