Akan names

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The Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast frequently name their children after the day of the week they were born and the order in which they were born. These "day names" have further meanings concerning the soul and character of the person. Middle names have considerably more variety and can refer to their birth order, twin status, or an ancestor's middle name.

This naming tradition is shared throughout West Africa and the African diaspora. During the 18th-19th Century, slaves from modern day Ghana in the Caribbean were referred to as Coromantees. Many of the leaders of slave rebellions had "day names" including Cuffy or Kofi, Cudjoe or Kojo, and Quamina or Kwame/Kwamina.

Most Ghanaians have at least one name from this system, even if they also have an English or Christian name. Notable figures with day names include Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

In the official orthography of the Twi language, the Ashanti versions of these names as spoken in Kumasi are as follows. The diacritics on á a̍ à represent high, mid, and low tone (tone does not need to be marked on every vowel), while the diacritic on a̩ is used for vowel harmony and can be ignored. (Diacritics are frequently dropped in any case.) Variants of the names are used in other languages, or may represent different transliteration schemes. The variants mostly consist of different affixes (in Ashanti, kwa- or ko- for men and a- plus -a or -wa for women). For example, among the Fante, the prefixes are kwe- and e-, respectively. Akan d̩wo is pronounced something like English Joe, but there do appear to be two sets of names for those born on Tuesday.

Day names[edit]

Day born ___ Variants Root Assoc.[1]
Male name Female name Ndyuka Jamaican[2]
Sunday
(Kwasíada)
Kwasí Akosua Kwesi, Siisi, Akwasi, Kosi;
Akosi, Akosiwa, Así, Esi, Kwasiba.
Kwasi, Kwasiba Asi Universe Quashie, Quasheba
Monday
(Ɛdwóada)
Kwadwó Adwoa Kodjó, Kojo, Jojo, Cudjoe;
Adjua, Ajwoba, Adjoa, Adjowa
Kodyo, Adyuba Dwo Peace Cudjoe/Kojo/Quajo, Adjoa/Ajuba/Juba
Tuesday
(Ɛbénada)
Kwabená Abenaa, Abénaa Komlá, Komlã, Komlan,Kabenla Kobby, Ebo, Kobi Kobina;
Ablá, Ablã, Abena, Araba, Abrema
Abeni Bene Ocean Quabena, Abena/Bena
Wednesday
(Wukúada)
Kwakú Akua, Akúá, Akuba Koku, Kokou, Kweku, kaku, Kuuku;
Akú, Ekua
Kwaku, Akuba Wukuo Spider Quaco, Aqua/Acooba/Cooba
Thursday
(Yáwóada)
Yaw Yaa Yao, Yaba, Yawo, Ekow, Kow, Kwaw;
Ayawa, Baaba, Yaaba, Aba
Yaw, Yaba Ya Earth Quaw, Aba/Yaaba
Friday
(Efíada)
Kofí Afua Koffi, Fiifi, Yoofi;
Afí, Afua, Efia, Efua
Kofi, Afiba Afi Fertility Cuffy, Afiba/Fiba
Saturday
(Méméneda)
Kwámè, Kwǎmè, Ám̀ma, Ámmá Ato, Kwami, Kuwame, Kwamena, Kwamina, Komi;
Ame, Ama,Ami,Amba, Ameyo
Kwami, Amba Mene God Quame/Quamina, Ama

Twin names[edit]

There are also special names for elder and younger twins. The second twin to be born is considered the elder as they were mature enough to help their sibling out first.

Twin Male name Female name Variants
Twin Atá Ataá Atta
First born ("younger"[3] twin) Atá Pánin Ataá Pánin Panyin
Second born ("elder" twin) Atá Kúmaa Ataá Kúmaa Akwetee (m), Atsú, Kaakra, Kakraba, Kakira
Born after twins Táwia
Born after Tawia Gaddo Nyankómàgó

Birth-order names[edit]

There are also names based on the order born, the order born after twins, and the order born after remarriage.

Order Male name Female name Variants
First born Píèsíe Berko (m), Arko (m), Dede (f), Dedei (f), Abaka, Kande (f)?
Second born Mǎnu Máanu
Third born Meńsã́ Mánsã Mensah, Mansah
Fourth born Anan, Anané Annan
Fifth born Núm, Anúm
Sixth born Nsĩã́ Essien
Seventh born Asón Nsṍwaa Esson, Ansong
Eighth born Bótwe Awotwe, Awotwie
Ninth born Ákron, Nkróma Nkróma Akun, Ackon, Nkrumah
Tenth born Badú Badúwaa Bedu
Eleventh born Dúkũ
Twelfth born Dúnu
Last born Kaakyire

Special delivery[edit]

Children are also given names when delivered under special circumstances.

Circumstance Male/Female name Translation
on the field Afúom "The field"
on the road Ɔkwán "The road"
in war Bekṍe, Bedíàkṍ "war time"
happy circumstances Afiríyie "good year"
one who loves Adofo "the special one from God"
great one Agyenim "the great one from God"
after long childlessness Nyamékyε "gift from God"
premature or sickly Nyaméama "what God has given (no man can take away)"
forceful Kumi "forcefulness"
after death of father Antó "it didn't meet him"
father refuses
responsibility
Obím̀pέ "nobody wants Darius"
Yεmpέw "we don't want you"

Duplicate article to merge[edit]

The Ashanti people system of giving names to their children is unique.[4][5] Unlike the Europeans, each child is given his/her own first and sur-names irrespective of the surname of the father.[4][5] The first names are always derived from the day a child was born.[4][5] For an example a boy born on Monday is called Kwadwo/Kojo derived from the day Monday which is called Dwoada in Ashanti language and Ashanti Twi, the language of Ashantis.[4][5] An Ashanti girl born on Monday is called Adwoa.[4][5] Here are the rest of the days and their various names: Tuesday/Benada - Kwabena for Ashanti boys and Abena for Ashanti girls, Wednesday/Wukuada - Kwaku for Ashanti boys and Akua for Ashanti girls, Thursday/Yawoada - Yaw for Ashanti boys and Yaa for Ashanti girls, Friday/Fiada - Kofi for Ashanti boys and Afia for Ashanti girls, Saturday/Memeneda - Kwame for Ashanti boys and Amma for Ashanti girls and finally Sunday/Kwasiada - Kwasi/Akwasi for Ashanti boys and Akosua for Ashanti girls.[4][5] Sometimes an Ashanti baby boy born on Wednesday might be called Kofi instead of Kwaku because the Ashanti person after whom he the Ashanti baby boy is named was a Kofi and not a Kwaku.[4][5]

Day names[edit]

  • Sunday's child is the general leader, sensitive to family situations and warm member of the family.[4][5] He/she tends to be shy and likes to keep to himself/herself, but is very aware of his/her surroundings and usually is the secret keeper of the family.[4][5]
  • Monday's child is the father or mother in the family; nurturing in nature, dependable and organized, and protective of his/her family.[4][5]
  • Tuesday's child is the problem solver and planner of the family.[4][5] They are structured in nature, neutral in all matters and never take sides.[4][5]
  • Wednesday's child is fully in control of every situation, does not want to be told what to do, knows it all, is spontaneous, vibrant and cordial.[4][5]
  • Thursday's child is quiet in nature and incredibly observant.[4][5] They are generally listeners, not talkers, and analyzes situations very well.[4][5]
  • Friday's child is a leader, not a follower.[4][5] He/she is very temperamental but has a big heart. Generally the instigator of everything.[4][5]
  • Saturday's child likes to take control of family situations. He/she runs the show and make the rules, but will go out of his/her way for others any time.[4][5]
Day of birth
(Day born)[4][5]
Ashanti
Male name
Ashanti
Female name
Ashanti Variants Ashanti Root Ashanti Assoc.[1]
Ashanti-Multiracial Afua Benson bears the Ashanti given-day name "Afua".
Ashanti-Multiracial Afua Hirsch bears the Ashanti given-day name "Afua".
Monday
(Ɛdwóada)
Kwadwó Adwoa Kodjó, Kojo, Jojo, Cudjoe;
Adjua, Ajwoba, Adjoa, Adjowa
Dwo Peace
Tuesday
(Ɛbénada)
Kwabená Abenaa, Abénaa Komlá, Komlã, Komlan,Kabenla Kobby, Ebo, Kobi Kobina;
Ablá, Ablã, Abena, Araba, Abrema
Bene Ocean
Wednesday
(Wukúada)
Kwakú Akua, Akúá, Akuba Koku, Kokou, Kweku, kaku, Kuuku;
Akú, Ekua
Wukuo Spider
Thursday
(Yáwóada)
Yaw Yaa Yao, Yaba, Yawo, Ekow, Kow, Kwaw;
Ayawa, Baaba, Yaaba, Aba
Ya Earth
Friday
(Efíada)
Kofí Afua Koffi, Fiifi, Yoofi;
Afí, Afua, Efia, Efua
Afi Fertility
Saturday
(Méméneda)
Kwámè, Kwǎmè, Ám̀ma, Ámmá Ato, Kwami, Kuwame, Kwamena, Kwamina, Komi;
Ame, Ama,Ami,Amba, Ameyo
Mene God
Sunday
(Kwasíada)
Kwasí Akosua Kwesi, Siisi, Akwasi, Kosi;
Akosi, Akosiwa, Así, Esi, Kwasiba.
Asi Universe

Praise names[edit]

Ashantis are given praise names when knighted or awarded by the Ashanti monarchy.[4][5]

Ashanti Male/Ashanti Female name[4][5] Translation[4][5]
Bodua "Protector and Leader"
Okoto "Calm and Humble"
Ogyam "Good and Humane"
Ntonni "Advocate and Hero"
Pereko "Fearless and Firm"
Okyin "Adventurer and Itinerant"
Atoapem "Ancient and Heroic"

Twin names[edit]

There are special Ashanti names for elder and younger Ashanti twins.[4][5] The second Ashanti twin to be born is considered the elder as they were mature enough to help their Ashanti sibling out first.[4][5]

Ashanti Twin[4][5] Ashanti Male name Ashanti Female name Ashanti Variants
Twin Atá Ataá Atta
First born ("younger"[6] twin) Atá Pánin Ataá Pánin Panyin
Second born ("elder" twin) Atá Kúmaa Ataá Kúmaa Akwetee (m), Atsú, Kaakra, Kakraba, Kakira
Born after twins Táwia
Born after Tawia Gaddo Nyankómàgó

Birth-order names[edit]

There are Ashanti names based on the order born, the order born after Ashanti twins, and the order born after remarriage.[4][5]

Order of birth (born)[4][5] Ashanti Male name Ashanti Female name Ashanti Variants
Ashanti First (1st) born Píèsíe Berko (male), Arko (male), Dede (female), Dedei (female), Abaka, Kande (female)
Ashanti Second (2nd) born Mǎnu Máanu
Ashanti Third (3rd) born Meńsã́ Mánsã Mensah, Mansah
Ashanti Fourth (4th) born Anan, Anané Annan
Ashanti Fifth (5th) born Núm, Anúm
Ashanti Sixth (6th) born Nsĩã́ Essien
Ashanti Seventh (7th) born Asón Nsṍwaa Esson, Ansong
Ashanti Eighth (8th) born Bótwe Awotwe, Awotwie
Ashanti Ninth (9th) born Ákron, Nkróma Nkróma Akun, Ackon, Nkrumah
Ashanti Tenth (10th) born Badú Badúwaa Bedu
Ashanti Eleventh (11th) born Dúkũ
Ashanti Twelfth (12th) born Dúnu
Ashanti Last (13th) born Kaakyire

Special-delivery names[edit]

Ashanti children are also given Ashanti special-delivery names when delivered under special circumstances.[4][5]

Circumstance[4][5] Ashanti Male/Ashanti Female name Translation[4][5]
on the field Afúom "The field"
on the road Ɔkwán "The road"
in war Bekṍe, Bedíàkṍ "war time"
happy circumstances Afiríyie "good year"
one who loves Adofo "the special one from God"
great one Agyenim "the great one from God"
after long childlessness Nyamékyε "gift from God"
premature or sickly Nyaméama "what God has given (no man can take away)"
forceful Kumi "forcefulness"
pure one Hauhouot(owo) "ethnic Ashanti"
after death of father Antó "it didn't meet him"
father refuses
responsibility
Obím̀pέ "nobody wants Darius"
Yεmpέw "we don't want you"

Family names[edit]

Ashanti people given-names are concluded with an ethnic-Ashanti family name (surname) proceeded with an Ethnic-Ashanti given name.[4][5] The Ashanti ethnic-Ashanti family name (surname) are always given after close Ashanti relatives and sometimes Ashanti friends.[4][5] Since the Ashanti names are always given by the Ashanti men if an Ashanti couple receives an Ashanti son as their first born-baby the Ashanti son is named after the Ashanti father of the Ashanti husband and if the Ashanti baby is an Ashanti girl the Ashanti girl will be named after the Ashanti mother of the Ashanti husband.[4][5] As a result if an Ashanti man called Osei Kofi and the Ashanti wife gives birth to an Ashanti girl as their first born the Ashanti girl might be called Yaa Dufie even if the Ashanti girl was not born on Friday.[4][5] The reason is that the Ashanti mother of the Ashanti man Osei Kofi is called Yaa Dufie.[4][5] The Ashanti people usually give these Ashanti names so that the Ashanti names of Ashantis close Ashanti relatives be maintained in the Ashanti families to show how Ashantis cherish the love for their Ashanti families.[4][5]

In the olden days of Ashanti it was a disgrace if an Ashanti man was not able to name any Ashanti child after his Ashanti father and/or Ashanti mother because that was the pride of every Ashanti household.[4][5] Most of the ethnic-Ashanti family name (surname) given to Ashanti boys could also be given to Ashanti girls just by adding the letters "aa" to form the ethnic-Ashanti female family names (surnames).[4][5] Some of the ethnic-Ashanti family names (surnames) can be given to both Ashanti boys and Ashanti girls without changing or adding anything.[4][5] However, there are other ethnic-Ashanti family name (surnames) that are exclusively Ashanti boys names whilst others are exclusively ethnic-Ashanti girls family names (surnames).[4][5]

Ethnic-Ashanti family names (surnames)[4][5][7]
# Ethnic-Ashanti family name [4][5][7] # Ethnic-Ashanti family name [4][5][7] # Ethnic-Ashanti fmily name [4][5][7]
1 Abeberese 84 Baafi 168 Mensah
2 Abeyie 85 Baah 169 Mintah
3 Aboagye 86 Bafuor 170 Misa
4 Aboah 87 Baffoe 171 Mmorosa
5 Aborah 88 Baako 172 Mpong
6 Aborampah 89 Baidoo 173 Munuo
7 Abrafi 90 Barwuah 174 Narh
8 Abrefa 91 Banahene 175 Nduom
9 Acheampong 92 Bediako 176 Nimo Nimoh
10 Achamfour 93 Bekoe 177 Nkansa Nkansah
11 Acquah 94 Bemah 178 Nkrumah
12 Adade 95 Boadi 179 Nsiah
13 Addai 96 Boadu 180 Nsonwah Nsonwaa
14 Addo 97 Boahen 181 Nsor
15 Adiyiah 98 Boakye 182 Ntiamoa Ntiamoah
16 Adomah 99 Boamah 183 Ntim
17 Adomako 100 Boampong 184 Ntow
18 Adusei 101 Boasiako 185 Nuamah
19 Adwubi 102 Boateng 186 Nyamekye
20 Afoakwah 103 Boatei 187 Nyankomago
21 Afreh 104 Bonah 188 Nyantah
22 Afram 105 Bonsu 189 Nyantakyi
23 Afrane 106 Bonsra Bonsrah 190 Nyarko
24 Afrakoma Afrakomah 107 Brempong 191 Obeng Oteng
25 Afrifa Afirifa 108 Busia Busiah 192 Obuor
26 Afriyie 109 Cofie Cuffee Kofi 193 Oduro
27 Afful 110 Crentsil 194 Ofori
28 Ahinful 111 Daako Darko 195 Ofosu
29 Arkorful 112 Dankwah Danquah 196 Ogyampah
30 Agyapong 113 Danso 197 Ohemeng
31 Agyare 114 Dapaa Dapaah Depay 198 Ohene
32 Agyei 115 Diawuo 199 Okese
33 Agyeman Agyemang 116 Donkor 200 Okoromansah
34 Akaminko 117 Domfe 201 Okyere
35 Akenten Akenteng 118 Dorkenoo 202 Omenah Omenaa
36 Akomeah 119 Duah 203 Opambuor
37 Akomfrah 120 Dufie 204 Opare
38 Akosah 121 Duodu 205 Opoku
39 Akoto 122 Dwamena Dwamenah 206 Oppong
40 Akuamoah 123 Dwomoh 207 Opuni
41 Akuffo 124 Ekuoba 208 Osafo
42 Akrofi 125 Enninful 209 Osam
43 Akyaw 126 Essien 210 Otuo
44 Amakye 127 Farkyi 211 Osei
45 Amamfo 128 Firikyi 212 Owoahene
46 Amankona Amankonah 129 Fofie 213 Owusu
47 Amankwah 130 Fokuo 214 Oyiakwan
48 Ameyaw 131 Fordjour 215 Paintsil
49 Amissah 132 Forobuor 216 Pappoe
50 Amoabeng 133 Fredua Freduah 217 Peprah
51 Amoah 134 Fremah 218 Pinaman
52 Amoako 135 Frimpong Frempon Frempong 219 Poku
53 Amoateng 136 Gyakari 220 Prempeh
54 Amofah 137 Gyan Djan Djansi 221 Quainoo
55 Ampadu 138 Gyamera Gyamerah 222 Quansah
56 Ampem 139 Gyamah Gyaama 223 Safo Sarfo
57 Ampofo 140 Gyamfi 224 Sakyi
58 Amponsah 141 Gyambibi 225 Sarkodie
59 Amponsem 142 Gyasi 226 Sarpei Yartei
60 Andoh 143 Gyeabuor 227 Sarpon Sarpong
61 Ankobiah 144 Gyimah 228 Sasraku
62 Ankomah 145 Inkoom 229 Siabuor
63 Ankrah 146 Karikari 230 Siaw
64 Annan 147 Katakyie 231 Sika
65 Anokye 148 Kenu 232 Sikafuo
66 Ansah 149 Koduah 233 Sintim
67 Apori Antwi 150 Kokote 234 Siriboe
68 Apau 151 Konadu 235 Soadwa Soadwah
69 Appiah 152 Koranten Koranteng 236 Sowah
70 Asamoah 153 Korsah 237 Tagoe
71 Asante Asantewaa 154 Kouassi 238 Takyi
72 Asare 155 Kufuor Kuffour 239 Tandoh
73 Asenso 156 Kumankama 240 Tawiah
74 Ashia 157 Kusi Kusiwaa 241 Tuffour
75 Asiamah 158 Kwaata 242 Twasam
76 Asiedu 159 Kwakye 243 Tweneboa Tweneboah
77 Asomadu 160 Kwateng Kwarteng 244 Twerefuo
77 Asomaning 161 Kwayie 245 Twum Twumasi
78 Assifuah 162 Kyei 246 Vorsah
79 Asubonteng 163 Kyekyeku 247 Wiafe Wiredu
80 Ayeh 164 Kyem 248 Yamoah
81 Ayensu 165 Kyereme Kyerematen Kyeremateng 249 Yankah
82 Ayew 166 Kyerewa Kyerewaa 250 Yeboah
83 Awuah 167 Manso 251 Yiadom 249 Yeniam

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bartle, Philip F.W. (January 1978). "Forty Days; The AkanCalendar". Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (Edinburgh University Press) 48 (1): 80–84. doi:10.2307/1158712. JSTOR 1158712. 
  2. ^ scholar.library.miami.edu
  3. ^ For the Akan, the first-born twin is considered the younger, as the elder stays behind to help the younger out.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar "List of Ashanti (Twi, Asante) Names". afropedea.org. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar "The Sociolinguistic of Ashanti Personal Names" (PDF). njas.helsinki.fi (PDF). 
  6. ^ For the Ashanti, the first-born twin is considered the younger, as the elder stays behind to help the younger out.
  7. ^ a b c d "The Ashanti and their names". asanteman.freeservers.com. 

Additional references[edit]