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Twi phrasebook

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Twi is a dialect of the Akan language and is spoken in most regions of Ghana. Although it is not a state-sponsored language, Twi is the most widely spoken language in Ghana. Please note that in the "Grammatical points" below, the pronunciation is British, not American. For example, *ɔ as "pot": an American says the "o" in pot like the "a" in aha. The Brits say it like the "ou" in ought.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Basic Akan (Twi dialect) pronunciation is relatively straightforward, although when native speakers of the language are talking there tend to be a lot of liaisons. The diagraphs in Twi have sounds that do not match the perceived Latin letters. It may be more difficult for native English speakers to reconcile the sounds with their spellings but continuous familiarity with the language will lessen the issue.

Vowels[edit]

  • a as "rat"
  • e as "seat"
  • ε as "set"
  • i as "sit"
  • o as "Kuala Lumpur"
  • ɔ as "po't"
  • ɔ́ as "po't" but also add s'ofa like po'oh'"

Consonants[edit]

  • b as "bats"
  • d as "dog"
  • f as "fog"
  • g as "goat"
  • h as "hire"
  • k as "cat"
  • l as "log"
  • m as "man"
  • n as "nap"
  • p as "pin"
  • r as "cramp"
  • s as "suit"
  • t as "tomb"
  • w as "wood"
  • y as "yemen"


Diagraphs[edit]

  • dw as "j" sound inthe beginning of "dreams"
  • gy as "judge"
  • hw as "whew"
  • hy as "shirt"
  • kw as "equip"
  • ky as "chap"
  • nw is pronounced as "nyw" with rounded lips at the end. For example: Nwunu (to leak)
  • ny as "Español"
  • tw as "trip"


Akan, also known as Twi [tɕɥi] and Fante, is an Akan language that is the principal native language of Akan lands in Ghana, spoken over much of the southern half of that country, by about 58% of the population, and among 30% of the population of Ivory Coast. Three dialects have been developed as literary standards with distinct orthographies, Asante, Akuapem (together called Twi), and Fante, which despite being mutually intelligible were inaccessible in written form to speakers of the other standards. In 1978 the Akan Orthography Committee (AOC) established a common orthography for all of Akan, which is used as the medium of instruction in primary school by speakers of several other Akan languages such as Anyi, Sefwi, Ahanta as well as the Guang languages.

The Akan people and those who have either lived around Akans or have absorbed Akan people into their population speak Kwa languages, of which Twi/Fante is just one. Twi–Fante consists of the following dialects: Asante (Ashanti), which together with Akuapem and Akyem is commonly called Twi Akuapem (Akwapem) Akyem Agona (commonly considered Fante) Kwahu Wassa Fante (Fanti or Mfantse: Anomabo, Abura, Gomua) - Spoken in east coastal Ghana. Brong - Spoken in west central Ghana and along the border in Ivory Coast

The Akan Orthography Committee has compiled a unified orthography of 20,000 words.

The adinkra symbols are old ideograms.

The language came to the Caribbean and South America, notably in Suriname spoken by the Ndyuka and in Jamaica by the Jamaican Maroons known as Coromantee, with enslaved people from the region. The descendants of escaped slaves in the interior of Suriname and the Maroons in Jamaica still use a form of this language, including Akan naming convention, in which children are named after the day of the week on which they are born, e.g. Akwasi (for a boy) or Akosua (girl) born on a Sunday. In Jamaica and Suriname the Anansi spider stories are well known.Contents [hide] 1 Relationship to other Akan languages 2 Phonology 2.1 Consonants 2.2 Vowels 2.2.1 ATR harmony 2.3 Tones 2.3.1 Tone terracing

Relationship to other Akan languages

According to work done by P K Agbedor of CASAS, Mfantse (Fante), Twi (Asante and Akuapem), Abron (Bono), Wassa, Asen, Akwamu, and Kwahu belong to Cluster 1 of the speech forms of Ghana. Clusters are defined by the level of mutual intelligibility.

Cluster 1 may better be named r-Akan, which do not explicitly have the letter “l” in their original proper use. On the other hand l-Akan, refers to the Akan cluster comprising Nzema, Baoule, Anyin and other dialects spoken mainly in the Ivory Coast, whose use of the letter “r” in proper usage is very rare.

Phonology

Because the Akan dialects' phonologies differ slightly, Asante dialect will be used to represent Akan. Asante, like all Akan dialects, involves extensive palatalisation, vowel harmony, and tone terracing.

Consonants

Before front vowels, all Asante consonants are palatalized (or labio-palatalized), and the plosives are to some extent affricated. The allophones of /n/ are quite complex. In the table below, palatalized allophones which involve more than minor phonetic palatalization are specified, in the context of the vowel /i/. These sounds do occur before other vowels, such as /a/, though in most cases not commonly.

In Asante, /ɡu/ followed by a vowel is pronounced /ɡʷ/, but in Akuapem it remains /ɡu/. The sequence /nh/ is pronounced [ŋŋ̊].

The transcriptions in the table below are in the order /phonemic/, [phonetic], ⟨orthographic⟩. Note that orthographic ⟨dw⟩ is ambiguous; in textbooks, ⟨dw⟩ = /ɡ/ may be distinguished from /dw/ with a diacritic: d̩w. Likewise, velar ⟨nw⟩ (ŋw) may be transcribed n̩w. Orthographic ⟨nu⟩ is palatalized [ɲᶣĩ]. labial alveolar dorsal labialized voiceless plosive /p/ [pʰ] ⟨p⟩ /t/ [tʰ, tçi] ⟨t, ti⟩ /k/ [kʰ, tɕʰi~cçʰi] ⟨k, kyi⟩ /kʷ/ [kʷ, tɕᶣi] ⟨kw, twi⟩ voiced plosive /b/ [b] ⟨b⟩ /d/ [d] ⟨d⟩ /ɡ/ [ɡ, dʒ, dʑi~ɟʝi] ⟨g, dw, gyi⟩ /ɡʷ/ [ɡʷ, dʑᶣi] ⟨gw, dwi⟩ fricative /f/ [f] ⟨f⟩ /s/ [s] ⟨s⟩ /h/ [h, çi] ⟨h, hyi⟩ /hʷ/ [hʷ, çᶣi] ⟨hw, hwi⟩ nasal stop /m/ [m] ⟨m⟩ /n/ [n, ŋ, ɲ, ɲĩ] ⟨n, ngi⟩ /nʷ/ [ŋŋʷ, ɲᶣĩ] ⟨nw, nu⟩ geminate nasal /nn/ [ŋː, ɲːĩ] ⟨ng, nyi, nnyi⟩ /nnʷ/ [ɲɲᶣĩ] ⟨nw⟩ other /r/ [ɾ, r, ɽ] ⟨r⟩ /w/ [w, ɥi] ⟨w, wi⟩

Vowels

The Akan dialects have fourteen to fifteen vowels: four to five "tense" vowels (Advanced tongue root, or +ATR), five "lax" vowels (Retracted tongue root, or −ATR), which are adequately but not completely represented by the seven-vowel orthography, and five nasal vowels, which are not represented at all. (All fourteen were distinguished in the Gold Coast script of the colonial era.) An ATR distinction in orthographic a is only found in some subdialects of Fante, though not in the literary form; in Asante and Akuapem there are harmonic allophones of /a/, but neither is ATR. The two vowels written e (/e̘/ and /i/) and o (/o̘/ and /u/) are often not distinguished in pronunciation.Orthog. +ATR −ATR i /i̘/ [i̘] e /e̘/ [e̘] /i/ [ɪ~e] ɛ /e/ [ɛ] a [æ~ɐ] /a/ [a] ɔ /o/ [ɔ] o /o̘/ [o̘] /u/ [ʊ~o] u /u̘/ [u̘]

ATR harmony

Twi vowels engage in a form of vowel harmony with the root of the tongue. −ATR vowels followed by the +ATR non-mid vowels /i̘ a̘ u̘/ become +ATR. This is generally reflected in the orthography: That is, orthographic e ɛ a ɔ o become i e a o u. However, it is no longer reflected in the case of subject and possessive pronouns, giving them a consistent spelling. This rule takes precedence over the next one. After the −ATR non-high vowels /e a o/, +ATR mid vowels /e̘ o̘/ become −ATR high vowels /i u/. This is not reflected in the orthography, for both sets of vowels are spelled <e o>, and in many dialects this rule does not apply, for these vowels have merged.

Tones

Twi has three phonemic tones, high (/H/), mid (/M/), and low (/L/). Initial syllable may only be high or low.

Tone terracing

The phonetic pitch of the three tones depends on their environment, often being lowered after other tones, producing a steady decline known as tone terracing.

/H/ tones have the same pitch as a preceding /H/ or /M/ tone within the same tonic phrase, whereas /M/ tones have a lower pitch. That is, the sequences /HH/ and /MH/ have a level pitch, whereas the sequences /HM/ and /MM/ have a falling pitch. /H/ is lowered (downstepped) after a /L/.

/L/ is the default tone, which emerges in situations such as reduplicated prefixes. It is always at bottom of the speaker's pitch range, except in the sequence /HLH/, in which case it is raised in pitch but the final /H/ is still lowered. Thus /HMH/ and /HLH/ are pronounced with distinct but very similar pitches.

After the first "prominent" syllable of a clause, usually the first high tone, there is a downstep. This syllable is usually stressed.

People tend to say good morning / afternoon / evening and numbers in English in the cities.

Pronunciation

Twi uses open vowel sounds as in Spanish In the following examples: 'o' & 'Ɔ’- like the 'o' in orange 'ε’ - like the 'E' in Eric

Stress indicated in bold.

The 'e' on the end of words is pronounced.

Intonation in questions does the opposite to English: instead of rising it falls.

Greetings and Responses

OK Yoo (pron. elongate the 'o' sound) Some Pronouns Me - Me You - Wo Ɔno (animate) He/she/it εno (inanimate) We / they Yεn

Verbs

Give Ma Buy Tɔ Go Kɔ Want/like Pε Alight Si

Phrases

How much? Sεn? (pron. Sain) or εyε sεn? How much is the apple? Apple sεn? Or Apple εyε sεn? Once you know a few words you can fit them together like building blocks. I'll give you Me ma wo You give me Wo ma me I'll buy Me tƆ I'm going Me kƆ Are you going? Wo kƆ? Where are you going? Wo kƆ he? (pron. woko hε?) Shall we go? Yεn kƆ? (remove the ‘?' to make it a statement.) I'll alight here Me si ha

I'm going to buy Me kƆ tƆ I want to... Mepε se me... I want to buy water Me pε se me tƆ Nsuo. (lit. I want that I buy water)

 	[Nsuo pron. en-sue-oh]

I want to go to Accra Me pε se me kƆ nkran. [en-kran] I don't understand Mente Aseε (pron. Men-ti-a-say)

Twi Lessons 2

Stress indicated in bold. Pronunciation

Intonation in questions does the opposite to English: instead of rising it falls. Alternatively you can add ‘Anaa’ on to the end of a phrase to turn it into a question. ‘Anna’ means ‘or’. In Accra some people are now saying ‘or’ at the end of a question in Twi!

Questions you are likely to be asked Wofiri he? Where do you come from? (When pronounced by a native speaker it sounds more like wufri hε?) Mefi America ( pron. meh-fee) I come from America

A common one you are going to hear all the time is: WorekƆ he? (sounds more like wo-coy) Where are you going? In Ghana people don’t give too much detail: Me kƆ krum I’m going to town

A Ghanaian will then say KƆ bra = Go come. (The equivalent of come back safely.)

Phrases This = Wei I like this = Me pε wei How much is this? = Wei yε sεn? Or just Wei sεn? If you’re buying something in the market you might like to be cheeky and say: Mepa wo kyεw. To so. (pron. Meh-paw-chow & don’t forget to use open ‘o’ sounds for ‘to so’). Please dash me some (add some extra as a gift).

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs
In Ghana, nearly all signage is in written in the English language. Occasionally, however, some print and media advertisement will incorporate words from the Twi language. Therefore these phrases will be helpful.

OPEN 
Bie
CLOSED 
To Pɔn
ENTRANCE 
Bra (verb), Ɛkwan (noun)
EXIT 
Pue (verb), Apueeɛ (noun)
PUSH 
Pia mu
PULL 
Twe
TOILET 
Agyananbea
MEN 
Barima (singular) / Mmɛmma (plural)
WOMEN 
Ɔbaa (singular) / Mmaa (plural)
FORBIDDEN 
Si ho kwan


How are you? (formal
Wo ho te sεn? (woho te-SAIN)
How are you? (informal
Ɛte sεn?
Mpɔ mu te sεn? (emp-oh-tih-SAIN)
Fine, thank you. 
Me ho yε, medaase. (mih-HU-yeh-MIH-dah-sih)
Ɛyε.
Bɔkɔɔ. (Optional. Literally "soft". The "ɔ" is pronounced like "o" is rot, but the "ɔɔ" means that the sound is extended.)
And you? 
Na wo nso ε?
What is your name? 
Wo din de sɛn?
Wɔfrɛ wo sɛn?
Wode sɛn?
Yɛfrɛ wo sɛn? (lit. They call you how?)
My name is ______ . 
Me din de ______ .
Wadi mfeɛ ahe/sɛn? 
How old is he/she?
Woadi mfeɛ ahe/sɛn? 
How old are you?
Nice to meet you. 
M’ani agye sɛ yɛahyia.
Please. 
Mepa wo kyɛw. (meh-paw-chow)
Mepaa kyɛw. Shorter and most common version
Thank you. 
Meda wo ase. (mih-daah-wah-sih)
Medaase. Shorter and most common version
You're welcome. 
Ɛnyε hwee.
Yes. 
Aane. (ai-in) (pronounced like a nasal “eye”)
No. 
Dabi.
OK. 
Yoo.
Excuse me. (getting attention
Mepa wo kyɛw.
Excuse me. (begging pardon
Wose dɛn?
Ka no bio.
I'm sorry. 
Kosɛ.
Kafra.
Goodbye. 
Nante yie. (lit. walk well)
Yɛbɛhyia bio. (lit. we will/shall meet again)
Ɛnneɛ akyire yi.
I can't speak Twi [well]. 
Mente Twi.
Do you speak English? 
Wote Borɔfo? (This is actually "You hear/understand English?". In Twi, "Do you speak ______ ?" is not often used.)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Obi wɔ ha a ɔka Borɔfo?
Obi wɔ ha a ɔte Borɔfo?
Help! 
Boa me!
Look out! 
Good morning 
Me ma wo akye. (mih-Maa-waa-chi)
Maakye. (Maa-chi). Shorter version.
Good afternoon. 
Me ma wo aha. (mih-Maa-waa-ha)
Maaha. (Maa-ha). Shorter version
Good evening. 
Me ma wo adwo. (mih-Maa-waa-jo) The "o" in adwo (aa-jo) is pronounced similarly to a quick "ou" sound in "cous cous"
Maadwo. (Maa-jo) Shorter version
Good night. 
Da yie. (dah-yey)

Greetings

Note: The following responses to the greetings “good morning”, “good afternoon” or “good evening” are said according to the age category of the person you are speaking to.

* Yaa nua 
(Response to a person who is of similar age to you, i.e. a friend or brother/sister)
* Yaa εna 
(Response to an elder female, usually one or more generations above you)
* Yaa agya 
(Response to an elder male, usually one or more generations above you) The first letter of agya, "a", is pronounced like the first "e" in "edge" Therefore it is pronounced as "Edga"
* Yaa asɔn 
(Response to a younger person or a very young person, usually one generation or more below you.)

Regardless of the time of day, the most popular greeting used is akwaaba. The response is meda wo ase.

Welcome. 
Akwaaba.
Thank you. Meda wo ase.
Medaase pii. (lit. I greatly thank you. Its something that would be said if someone is to be invited into someone’s home for the first time.


I don't understand. 
Mente aseɛ.
Where’s the toilet/washroom? 
Agyananbea no wɔ he?
How do we say ______ in Twi? 
Sɛn na yɛka ______ wɔ Twi mu?

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
Firi me so.
Get out of here! (anger) 
Firi hɔ kɔ (lit. Leave here and go)
Don't touch me! 
Gyae me!
I'll call the police. 
Mεfrε polisi.
Police! 
Polisi!
Stop them, they are a thief! 
Kye no, ɔyε korɔmfoɔ!
I need your help. 
Mehia wo mmoa.
It’s an emergency. 
...
I'm lost. 
Mayera.
I've lost my bag. 
Mayera me baage.
I've lost my wallet. 
Mayera me sika bɔtɔ.
I'm sick. 
Meyare.
Me ho mfa me. (lit. My body is not well)
I need a doctor. 
Mehia dɔkota.
Can I use your phone/mobile phone? 
Mebetumi a yuso wo fon?

Numbers[edit]

Generally, Arabic (Western) numerals are used for everything. Most people actually say English words in order to count things or tell time. However occasionally, the actual Twi words for numbering things can be heard in deep conversations between elders as well as Twi based television and radio station discussions.

ohunu/hwee
baako
mmienu
mmiɛnsa
ɛnan
enum
nsia
nson
nwɔtwe
nkron
10 
edu
11 
dubaako
12 
dumienu
13 
dumiɛnsa
14 
dunan
15 
dunum
16 
dunsia
17 
dunson
18 
dunwɔtwe
19 
dunkron
20 
aduonu
21 
aduonu baako
22 
aduonu mmienu
23 
aduonu mmiɛnsa
30 
aduasa
40 
aduanan
50 
aduonum
60 
aduosia
70 
aduɔson
80 
aduɔwɔtwe
90 
aduɔkron
100 
ɔha
200 
ahanu
300 
ahasa
1,000 (one thousand) 
apem
2,000 
mpem mmienu/mpenu
10,000 (ten thousand) 
mpem du
100,000 (one hundred thousand) 
mpem ɔha
1,000,000 (one million) 
ɔpepem
1,000,000,000 (one billion) 
ɔpepepem

Time[edit]

now 
seesei ara
later 
akyire yi
before 
akyi
morning 
anɔpa
afternoon 
awiaberɛ
evening 
anwummerɛ
night 
anadwo

Clock time[edit]

Clock times are formed in Twi by placing the word "dɔn" which means "o'clock" before the number. If the time of day is known, it can be stated before the word "dɔn". The numbers after "one o'clock" are said with a liason so "dɔn" becomes "nnɔn".

Note: Many English expressions for telling the time are commonly used by Twi speakers as well.
What time is it? 
Abɔ sɛn? (literally "It has hit what?")
It is _____ . 
Abɔ _____ . (literally “It has hit")
morning 
anɔpa
one o'clock AM 
anɔpa dɔnko
two o'clock AM 
nnɔnmienu
afternoon 
awia
one o'clock PM 
awia dɔnko
two o'clock PM 
awia nnɔnmienu
night 
anadwo
ten o'clock PM
anadwo nnɔdu
midnight 
anadwo dasuom

Duration[edit]

_____ second(s) 
anibɔ _____
_____ minute(s) 
simma _____
_____ hour(s) 
dɔnhwere _____
_____ day(s) 
da _____
_____ week(s) 
nnawɔtwe _____
_____ month(s) 
bosome _____
_____ year(s) 
mfe _____

Days[edit]

Nnanson

The six-day week is referred to as nnanson (literally seven-days) and reflects the lack of zero in the numbering systems. This system uses inclusive counting.

fo 
guilty verdict (passing sentence); judgement day
bemim 
not guilty verdict (passing sentence); judgement day
nwuna 
sleep (death) day; funerals day; covered day
nkyi 
behind (hate-taboo) day; destroyed day.
kuro 
town (ie. political) day; royal day
kwa 
for nothing ('just like that', free, unrestrained) day, servant day
mono 
fresh (starting) day


today 
ɛnnɛ
yesterday 
ɛnnora
tomorrow 
ɔkyena
this week 
nnawɔtwe wei (literally "week, this")
last week 
nnawɔtwe a ɛtwaa mu no (literally "the week that passed")
next week 
nnawɔtwe akyi (literally "one week later)

The seven-day week is referred to as Nnawɔtwe (literally eight days). The first day is counted twice to end a full week.

Sunday 
Kwasiada
Monday 
Ɛdwoada
Tuesday 
Ɛbenada
Wednesday 
Wukuada
Thursday 
Yawoada
Friday 
Efiada
Saturday 
Memeneda

Months[edit]

Traditional days

The Akan six-day week, nnanson, is counted alongside the Gregorian seven-day week, nnawɔtwe, to form a combined total of a 42 day cycle. This is known as adaduanan or forty days. Therefore the current Akan/Twi names for the English months have arbitrarily assigned.


January 
Ɔpɛpɔn
February 
Ɔgyefoɔ
March 
Ɔbɛnem
April 
Oforisuo
May 
Kotonimma
June 
Ayɛwohomumɔ
July 
Kitawonsa
August 
Ɔsanaa
September 
Ɛbɔ
October 
Ahinime
November 
Obubuo
December 
Ɔpɛnimma

Seasons[edit]

Ɔpɛ Bere 
December – March (4 months)
Asusue Bere 
April – June (3 months)
Ofupɛ Bere 
July – August (2 months)
Bamporɔ Bere 
September – November (3 months)

Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

black 
tuntum
white 
fitaa /fufuo
gray 
nsonso
red 
kɔkɔɔ
blue 
bibire
yellow 
akokɔsradeɛ
green 
ahabammono
orange 
ankaahono / ɔrengye
purple 
beredum / afasebiri
brown 
ahaban dada / dodoeɛ
pink 
memen

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
Sɛ me kɔ _____, tekiti baako bɛyɛ sɛn?
One ticket to _____, please. 
Mepa wo kyɛw, mame _____ tekiti baako.
Where does this train/bus go? 
Keteke wei bɛkɔ he? (train)
Ɛhyɛn/Bɔɔso/Trotro wei bɛkɔ he? (bus)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
Ɛhefa na keteke a ɛkɔ _____ wɔ? (train)
Ɛhefa na bɔɔso/hyɛn/trotro a ɛkɔ _____ wɔ? (bus)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
Mepa wo kyɛw keteke wei bɛfa/bɛgyina _____ anaa? (train) : Mepa wo kyɛw bɔɔso/hyɛn/trotro wei bɛfa/bɛgyina _____ anaa? (bus)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
Berɛ bɛn na keteke a ɛkɔ _____ bɛfiri ha? (train) (literally “What time will the train that is going to _____ leave here?”)
Berɛ bɛn na bɔɔso/hyɛn/trotro a ɛkɔ _____ bɛfiri ha? (bus) (literally “What time will the bus that is going to _____ leave here?”)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
Berɛ ben na keteke bɛ duru _____ ? (train)
Berɛ ben na bɔɔso/hyɛn/trotro bɛ duru _____ ? (bus)

Directions[edit]

How do I get to _____ ? 
Sɛ me kɔ _____ mɛfa kwan bɛn?
...the train station? 
keteke stehyɛn no?
...the bus station? 
bɔɔso/trotro stehyɛn no?
...the airport? 
ɛɛpɔte/wiemhyɛn gyinabea no?
...downtown? 
...
...the youth hostel? 
...
...the _____ hotel? 
_____ hotɛl/hɔhofie no?
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
American/Canadian/Australian/UK embassy? (These words are simply understood when said in English.)
Where are there a lot of... 
Ɛhefa na _____ beberee ɛwɔ?
...hotels? 
ahɔhofie
...restaurants? 
adidibea/chop bar
...bars? 
...
...sites to see? 
...
Can you show me on the map? 
Wobetumi akyerɛ me wɔ map no so?
Kyerɛ me wo map no so.
street 
ɛkwan
Turn left. 
Dane wo benkum so.
Turn right. 
Dane wo nifa so.
left 
benkum
right 
nifa
straight ahead 
kɔ w’anim
towards the _____ 
...
past the _____ 
...
before the _____ 
...
Watch for the _____. 
...
intersection 
...
north 
atifi
south 
anaafoɔ
east 
apueeɛ
west 
atɔeɛ
uphill 
...
downhill 
...

Taxi[edit]

Taxi! 
Taksii!
Take me to _____, please. 
Mepa wo kyɛw fa me kɔ _____ .
How much does it cost to get to _____ ? 
Sɛ mekɔ _____ , ɛbɛyɛ sɛn?
Take me there, please. 
Mepa wo kyɛw, fa me kɔ hɔ

Lodging[edit]

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Mo gye dɔla/Amɛrikafoɔ/Ɔstreliyafoɔ/Kanadafoɔ sika wɔ ha anaa?
Do you accept British pounds? 
Mo gye pounds wɔ ha anaa?
Do you accept Euros? 
Mo gye yuro wɔ ha anaa?
Do you accept credit cards? 
Mo gye krɛdit kaade wɔ ha?
Can you change money for me? 
Wobetumi a sesa me sika ma me?
Where can I get money changed? 
Ɛhefa na mebetumi akɔ sesa sika wɔ?
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
...
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
...
What is the exchange rate? 
...
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
Wo nim baabi a ATM baako no wɔ?

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
Mepa wo kyew mayɛ ɛpono baako.
Can I look at the menu, please? 
Mepa wo kyew, metumi ahwɛ mɛnyu?
Can I look in the kitchen? 
Metumi ahwɛ mukaase?
Is there a house specialty? 
Mo wo adeɛ kama ma yɛn?
Is there a local specialty? 
Mo wo deɛ ɛfiri fie? (literally. Do you guys have something from the house/this country?)
Mo wo deɛ ɛfiri Ghana? (literally. Do you guys have something from Ghana?)
Mo wo aduane a ɛfiri Ghana? (literally. Do you guys have food from home/the house/this country?)
I'm a vegetarian. 
Me taa di atosodeɛ nko ara.
I don't eat pork. 
Mentumi di prakonam. (A direct translation is "I cannot eat pork." The word prako means pig. Nam means meat. In the word "prakonam" prako is pronouced more as "preh koe")
I don't eat beef.  
Mentumi di nantwinam.
I only eat kosher food. 
Medi Yudani aduane pɛ.
I want _____. 
Me pɛ _____ .
I want a dish containing _____. 
Me pɛ aduane a _____ wɔ mu.
chicken 
akokɔ nam
beef 
nantwinam
fish 
nsuomnam
pork 
prakonam
mutton 
odwannam
cheese 
kyiis
eggs 
kosua
salad 
salad
(fresh) vegetables 
atosodeɛ
(fresh) fruit 
aduaba
bread 
brodo
paanoo
noodles 
taalia
spak
spakɛtii
rice 
ɛmo
beans 
adua
soup 
nkwan
stew 
frɔyɛ
May I have a glass of _____ ? 
Mepa wo kyɛw ma me _____ gyerase baako.
May I have a cup of _____? 
Mepa kyɛw ma me _____ kɔɔpo baako.
May I have a bottle of _____? 
Mepa kyɛw ma me _____ bɔtel baako.
coffee 
kɔfe
milk 
meleke
tea 
tii
juice 
water 
nsuo
beer 
biɛɛ
alcohol 
nsa
May I have some _____? 
Mepa kyew, me pɛ _____ kakra.
Note: People are more likely to understand where the sentence "Mo wo _____ kakra?" (Do you guys have a little _____ ?) is going because the response to it will either be "Mepa kyew, aane." (Yes, please) or "Mepa kyew, daabi." (No, please)
salt 
nkyene
sugar 
asikyire
pepper 
mako
butter 
bɔta
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server) 
Mepa wo kyɛw?
I'm finished. 
M’awie.
It was delicious / tasty. 
Ɛyε dε.
This food was very good. 
Aduane wei yε dε pa ara.
Please clear the plates. 
Mepa wo kyɛw, fa prɛte no kɔ.
The check, please. 
Mepa wo kyɛw, fa kyɛke no bra me.

Bars[edit]

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
Wowɔ wei baako wɔ me size?
How much is this? 
Wei yɛ sɛn?
That's too expensive. 
Ne boɔ yɛ den dodo.
Would you take _____? 
Wobɛgye _____ ?
I will give you _____ cedis. 
Mɛma wo _____ cedis. (This is a more assertive way of trying to counteroffer a price to favour the buyer. Learning how to bargain effectively is a valuable skill in Ghana. However, taking care not to come off as rude is equally important.)
expensive 
boɔ yɛ den
cheap 
ɛyɛ fo/ boɔ nyɛ den
I can't afford it. 
Mentumi ntɔ wei.
Mentumi ntua.
I don't want it. 
Menpɛ.
You're cheating me. 
Wosisi me.
I'm not interested. 
Menpɛ bio.
Mentɔ bio.
OK, I'll take it. 
Mɛtɔ wei.
Can I have a bag? 
Wowɔ rɔba?
Do you ship (overseas)? 
...
I need... 
Mehia...
...toothpaste. 
...
...a toothbrush. 
...
...tampons. 
...
...soap. 
...samina.
...shampoo. 
...shampoo.
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...para.
...cold medicine. 
...
...stomach medicine. 
...
...a razor. 
...yiwan/shaving stick.
...an umbrella. 
...kyiniiɛ/umbrella.
...sunblock lotion. 
...
...a postcard. 
...poste kaade.
...postage stamps. 
...poste staampe.
...batteries. 
...batri.
...writing paper. 
...krataa.
...a pen. 
...twerɛdua/pɛn.
...English-language books. 
...nwoma ayɛ de sua Borɔfo.
...English-language magazines. 
...magazin.
...an English-language newspaper. 
...amannebɔ krataa
...an English-English dictionary. 
...
...a mask. 
...nkataanim/maaske.
...souvenir 
...nkaedeɛ/mɛmɛnto.

Driving[edit]

Authority[edit]

Learning more[edit]

Very useful Twi learning resources. Though learning basic phrases will help you to understand some Twi expressions. However, if you want to learn more Twi and become as fluent as a native speaker, then you should get out some of the following links.

  • Nkyea Twi Primer: Twi learning program by Nkyea Learning Systems. It gives you the ability to hear how the words are pronounced and even record and compare your own pronunciations with the software.
  • LearnAkan.com: Teaches proper rules of the Akan Twi language

References[edit]

  • A comprehensive course in twi(Asante) for the non-twi learner. By Florence Abena Dolpyne. Associate professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana, Legon.


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