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
 Ghana (both dialects used in national status)
Recognised minority
language in
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]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Raphael speaking Twi

Twi (pronounced [tɕᶣi]; also known as Akan Kasa) is a dialect of the Akan language spoken in southern and central Ghana by several million people, mainly of the Akan tribe, the biggest of the about 17 major tribes in Ghana and forms some 70% of the Ghanaian population 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] It is also spoken by the Southeastern people of Cote D'Ivoire.

Writing system[edit]

Here are the Twi Alphabet (Also the Akan Alphabet - Akanfoɔ ntwereɛ)

The 22 letters of the Twi alphabet are:

Majuscule forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)
A B D E Ɛ F G H I K L M N O Ɔ P R S T U W Y
Minuscule forms (also called lowercase or small letters)
a b d e ɛ f g h i k l m n o ɔ p r s t u w y

Letters C, J, V and Z are also used, but only in loanwords.[9]

Phonology[edit]

Pronunciation of the Twi (Akan) letters / alphabets - Twi Diphthongs.[10]

(Sɛnea wo bɛ kan Akanfoɔ ntwerɔɛ no)

Consonants[edit]

Twi consonants
Labial Alveolar Post-alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal voiced m ⟨m⟩ n ⟨n⟩ ɲ ⟨ny, n⟩ ŋ ⟨ng, n⟩
labialisation nʷ ⟨nw⟩
Stop voiced b ⟨b⟩ d ⟨d⟩ g ⟨g⟩
aspirated pʰ ⟨p⟩ tʰ ⟨t⟩ kʰ ⟨k⟩
labialisation kʷ ⟨kw⟩
Affricate aspirated t͡ɕʰ ~ c͡çʰ ⟨ky⟩
voiced d͡ʒ ⟨dw⟩ d͡ʑ ~ ɟ͡ʝ ⟨gy⟩
labialisation t͡ɕʷ ⟨tw⟩
Fricative voiceless f ⟨f⟩ s ⟨s⟩ ç ⟨hy⟩ h ⟨h⟩
labialisation hʷ ⟨hw⟩
Approximant j ⟨y⟩
Tap/Flap ɾ ⟨r⟩ ɽ ⟨r⟩
Trill r ⟨r⟩
Lateral l ⟨l⟩
Co-articulated consonants
Labialized velar
Approximat w ⟨w⟩
Vowels
Letters Sounds
A a [a/æ]
E e [e/i]
Ɛ ɛ [ɛ]
I i [ɪ]
O o [o/ʊ]
Ɔ ɔ [ɔ]
U u [u]
Diphthongs
Letters Sounds
ao [ao]
[eɛ]
ei [ei]
ia [ia]
ie [ie]
ii [iː]
oo [oː]
[oɔ]
ue [ue]
uo [uo]

Numerals[edit]

Asante Twi Nkontaa / Akontaabudeɛ (Dodoɔ) ne Akuapem Twi Akontaabude - Asante Twi Numbers and Akuapem Twi Numbers[11]
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

Ordinals[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

Common phrases[edit]

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

Conparison between Asante Twi and Akuapem Twi:

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 Ashantis use a system of giving the first name to a child, based on the day of the week that the child was born, which is commonly done in Ghana. Almost all the tribes and clans in Ghana do a similar thing.

The Ashanti (Asantes) day naming system is as follows:

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

In Ghana[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 because Twi is mainly a spoken language as opposed to a written one. Regardless of the literacy rate in the country, people still prefer to communicate verbally with each other.[12]

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. ^ "Language Guide". The African Linguists Network Blog. 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2018-07-14. 
  10. ^ "Akan languages, alphabet and pronunciation". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 2017-06-26. 
  11. ^ "Numbers in Twi (Twi Akontaabudeɛ/Dodoɔ)". www.abibitumikasa.com. Retrieved 2017-06-26. 
  12. ^ "twi.bb - Online Twi Dictionary - The Twi Language". www.twi.bb. Retrieved 2017-06-26.