Twi

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Twi
Native to Ashanti
Ethnicity Asante people, Akuapem, Fante
Native speakers
9 million[1][2] (2015)[1][3][4]
Dialects
Official status
Official language in
Ashanti City-State and the Ashanti City-State capital Kumasi
Regulated by Akan Orthography Committee
Language codes
ISO 639-1 tw (Twi)
ISO 639-2 twi
ISO 639-3 twi
Glottolog akua1239[5]
asan1239[6]
Raphael speaking Twi

Twi (pronounced [tɕɥi]) is a dialect of the Akan language spoken in Ghana by about 6–9 million Ashanti people as a first and second language.[7][3] Twi is a common name for two former literary dialects of the Akan language; Asante (Ashanti) and Akuapem, which are mutually intelligible. There are about 9 million Twi speakers, mainly originating from the Ashanti Region [1][3] and about a total of 17-18 million Ghanaians as either first or second languages. Akuapem Twi was the first Akan dialect to be used for Bible translation, and became the prestige dialect as a result.[8]

Twi (Akan Kasa - another name for Twi) is the most popular Ghanaian language in the country, Ghana. There are several versions of the language. Asante Twi (spoken by the Ashanti's), Akuapem Twi (Spoken by the Akuapem people from the Eastern Region), Fante Twi (or Mfante, Fante, Fanti - spoken by the Fante's from the Central Region).

There are Twi-speaking people living in southern and central Ghana and in southeastern Côte d'Ivoire.[9][10]

Twi Alphabets[edit]

Here are the Twi Alphabets (Also the Akan Alphabets - Akanfoɔ ntwerɔɛ)

Akan kasa.gif

Pronunciation of the Twi (Akan) letters / alphabets - Twi Diphthongs.[11]

(Sɛnea wo bɛ kan Akanfoɔ ntwerɔɛ no)

Akan pronunciations.gif

Numbering System[edit]

Asante Twi Nkontaa / Akontaabudeɛ (Dodoɔ) ne Akuapem Twi Akontaabude - Asante Twi Numbers and Akuapem Twi Numbers[12]
Nkontaa (Numbers) Asante Akontaabudeɛ (Dodoɔ) Akuapem Akontaabude
1/2 ɛfa fa
0 ohunu
1 baako baako/biako/koro
2 mmienu ebien
3 mmiɛnsa abiɛsa
4 nnan/ɛnan anan
5 enum/nnum anum
6 nsia asia
7 nson ason
8 nwɔtwe awɔtwe
9 nkron akron
10 edu du
11 du baako du baako
12 du mmienu du mien
13 du mmiɛnsa du mmiɛnsa
14 du nan du nan
15 du num du num
20 aduonu aduonu
21 aduonu baako aduonu baako
22 aduonu mmienu aduonu abien
30 aduasa aduasa
40 aduannan / aduanan aduanan
45 aduanan num / aduannan num aduanan num
46 aduanan nsia / aduannan nsia aduanan nsia
50 aduonum / aduonnum aduonum
58 aduonum-nwɔtwe/aduonnum-nwɔtwe aduonum-nwɔtwe
100 ɔha ɔha
200 ahanu ahanu
500 ahanum ahanum
1000 apem apem
2000 mpennu mpennu
8000 mpem nwɔtwe mpem nwɔtwe
9000 mpem nkron mpem nkron
10,000 ɔpedu ɔpedu
100,000 ɔpeha ɔpeha
1,000,000 ɔpepem ɔpepem
2,000,000 ɔpepennu ɔpepennu
1,000,000,000 ɔpepepem / ɔpepepeepee ɔpepepem

Ordinal Numbering[edit]

Nkontaa

(Numbers)

Asante

Mprɛ

(number of times)

Akuapem

Mpɛn

borɔfokasa nkyerɛaseɛ

english translation)

1 prɛko pɛnkoro once
2 mprɛnu mprenu twice
3 mprɛsa mprɛsa three times
4 mprɛnan mprɛnan four times
5 mprɛ du-baako mpɛn du-baako eleven times
6 mprɛ ɔha mpɛn ɔha one hundred times
7 mprɛ pii mpɛn pii many times

Basic Sentences[edit]

The following are basic sentences you need to know in the Asante Twi Language if you want to learn to speak the language. (Sua Asante twi kasa no - Learn the Asante Twi Language)

Nkontaa Asante

Kasamu Atitire

(important sentences)

borɔfokasa nkyerɛaseɛ (english translation)
1 Wo din de sɛn? What is your name?
2 Yɛ frɛ me Kwaku Peter My name is Kwaku Peter
3 Bra ha / Bra ɛha Come here
4 Medaase / me da wo ase Thank You
5 Ɛkɔm de me / kɔm de me I am hungry
6 Akwaaba You are welcome
7 Me retɔ adeɛ I am buying something
8 Me retɔ kosua I am buying egg
9 Ɛte sɛn? / Wo ho te sɛn? How are you?
10 Ɛyɛ I am good / It is good / I'm fine
11 Wo wɔ hene? Where are you?
12 Me wɔ ha / me wɔ ɛha I am here
13 Wo rekɔ hene? Wo kɔ hene? Where are you going to?
14 Me rekɔ Kumasi I am going to Kumasi
15 Onyame nyira wo / Nyame nyira wo God bless you

Learn the Asante Twi alongside the Akuapem Twi. Translation of certain sentences in the two dialects from the English language.

Nkontaa Asante

Kasamu Atitire

(important sentences)

Akuapem

Kasamu Atitire

borɔfokasa nkyerɛaseɛ (english translation)
1 Nnipa ahe na ɛbaeɛ? Nnipa baahe na ɛbae? How many people came?
2 Edu ne du yɛ aduonu Du ne du yɛ aduonu Ten plus (and) ten make twenty
3 Yi edu firi aduonu mu Yi du fi aduonu mu Subtract ten from twenty
4 Kyɛ deɛ wobɛnya no mu mmienu Kyɛ nea wubenya no mu abien Divide the answer that you will get by two
5 Fa nsia yɛ ɛnan ahoroeɛ Fa asia yɛ anan ahorow Multiply six by four
6 Kan wo nsateaa Kan wo nsateaa Count on your fingers
7 Wobɛtumi akan adeɛ akɔsi apem? Wubetumi akan akosi apem Can you count up to one thousand?
8 Matwerɛ me yere prɛko Makyerɛw me yere pɛnkoro pɛ I wrote my wife once
9 ɔtwerɛɛ nkrataa nwɔtwe nnora ɔkyerɛw nkrataa awotwe nnɛra S/he wrote eight letters yesterday
10 Woatwerɛ wo nuabaa mprɛ pii Woakyerɛw wo nuabea mpɛn pii You have written your sister many times
11 Abarimaa no abu ano (nkonta) mmiɛnsa Abarimaa no abu ano (nkontaa) abiɛsa The boy has made three calculations
12 ɔpɛ anobuo (nkonta) ɔpɛ anobu (akontaabu) He likes arithmetic

Naming System[edit]

The Ashanti's use a system of giving the first name to a child, based on the day of the week that the child was born. This is a normal thing done in Ghana. Almost all the tribes and clans in the country Ghana does similar thing

The Ashanti (Asante's) day naming system is as follows:

Day Male Name Female Name
Ɛdwoada (Monday) Kwadjo, Kojo Adwoa
Ɛbenada (Tuesday) Kwabena Abena
Wukuada (Wednesday) Kweku, Kwaku Akua
Yawoada (Thursday) Yaw Yaa
Efiada (Friday) Kofi Afia
Memenda / Memenada (Saturday) Kwame Ama
Kwasiada (Sunday) Kwasi Akosua

The Nation Ghana and the Language Twi[edit]

In Ghana today, the most prominent Akan dialects are Asante Twi, Fante and Akuapem Twi, which are all closely related. For a number of different reasons, Asante Twi has become the leading Akan language (and leading native language) spoken in Ghana. Historically, the Asante kingdom played a powerful and dominant military role in this part of West Africa for a number of centuries until it was defeated by the British in 1901 and annexed as a crown colony. At the height of its power the Asante kingdom controlled an area roughly the size of modern day Ghana which would have included many traditional Akan and non-Akan territories.

These were times when rival Akan kingdoms fought among each other primarily for control of the regional trade in gold and slaves, and the area was known as the Gold Coast. Although Ghana today is an independent country with a democratic system of government, most of the traditional tribal chiefs still possess a high degree of influence, power, authority and respect among their respective people. Among the traditional chiefs in Ghana, the king of the Asantes, who is called the Asantehene, is still a very powerful and highly respected royal figure. Due to the strong influence (past and present) of the Asante people, Asante Twi has long been a language of trade among Ghana's diverse tribal groups. Asante Twi has also gained prominence by becoming the main language of Ghana's musicians, with most of the country's (older) highlife and (newer) hiplife songs being performed and recorded in Twi. Some popular Ghanaian singers may sing in Twi, though they themselves are not Akan. Officially, Ghana's national language is English, but many radio stations broadcast news and programs in Twi as well as English.

The successful spread of Twi in Ghana is no doubt also due to the fact that Twi is mainly a spoken language as opposed to a written one. Regardless of the literacy rate in the country, people still have to communicate with each other, and like everywhere else in the world, the spoken word is the most powerful and effective way of doing so.

What all this means is that if you can speak Twi, you should be able to communicate fairly easily with people in Ghana, regardless of where you are in the country. And if you have any interest in travelling to Ghana or doing business in Ghana, knowledge of Twi will certainly prove helpful.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Asante » Asante Twi (Less Commonly Taught Languages)". University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. University of Michigan. 
  2. ^ "Asante – Asante Twi". ofm-tv.com. 
  3. ^ a b c "Asante » Asante Twi". ofm-tv.com. 
  4. ^ Akan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  5. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Akuapem". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  6. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Asante". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  7. ^ Jane Garry, Carl R. Galvez Rubino, "Facts about the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present", H.W. Wilson, USA, 2001, page 8
  8. ^ Ager, Simon. "Omniglot". Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "twi.bb - Online Twi Dictionary - The Twi Language". www.twi.bb. Retrieved 2017-06-26. 
  10. ^ Abu, Katharine; Allman, Jean Marie; Arhin, Kwame; Austin, Gareth; Busia, K. A; Clark, Gracia; Danquah, J. B; Debrunner, Hans Werner; Ffoulkes, Arthur (1999). Akan: FE12. New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files. 
  11. ^ "Akan languages, alphabet and pronunciation". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 2017-06-26. 
  12. ^ "Numbers in Twi (Twi Akontaabudeɛ/Dodoɔ)". www.abibitumikasa.com. Retrieved 2017-06-26. 
  13. ^ "twi.bb - Online Twi Dictionary - The Twi Language". www.twi.bb. Retrieved 2017-06-26.