Yesterday morning, i tuned in to JoyFm's Weekend City Show and listened to the usual crack-ups about who goofed on radio during the week and the host Nii Ayi asked an announcer to pronounce c.o.n.s.e.q.u.e.n.c.e. This led to a queries why certain words are pronounced funny in Ghana like Failure which some pronounce Fail-uwa. I was ROTFL. This actually got me thinking about how we Ghanaians have our own unique pronunciations and ‘Ghanaian English’ and often times some alphabets we add to English to stress on a statement. I then realise that most of these words/phrases are just our local languages translated back into English hence massacring the Queens English. If you are a residential expat or just a tourist in Ghana these will be good for you to know so you don’t scratch your head wondering what that meant!
‘I wont mind you’/ ‘Wont you mind me?’/‘Don’t mind him/her’ – a popular phrase to stand for I am ignoring what you just said, are you going to ignore me or ignore him/her respectively. This will be accompanied by a dismissive wave of the hand.
‘I am coming’ – one funny phrase used when you are trying to get the attention of someone who is walking away. As they walk away they rather say, ‘I am coming’ when they are actually going!
‘We will leave you ooo’ – the alphabet ‘o’ is added to the end of the last word to stress the importance of the statement being referred to and if one ignores this, there will be a consequence following soon lol! Some more examples, ‘I don’t like that ooo’, ‘He said he will bring it oo’. I actually never realised this until an Italian friend of mine pointed this out to me. I denied it at first but then I caught myself saying it a few seconds later.
‘Please dash me..’- Trust me, dash doesn’t mean ‘running at a high speed’ here. When a Ghanaian says this either his hand would be open palm up or it would be a fixed stare. The person saying this expects you to give him/her a gift either monetary or otherwise. I haven’t used this word since my primary school days and I would be surprised if its still in use in schools.
‘Branch here’ – huh you say? Now that is common when you are in a taxi and you want the taxi driver to turn left or right at a junction. Trust me, branch works more than ‘turn’.
‘I will take anything’- When we have guests at home and I ask them what they would like to drink, the response would be ‘I will take anything’. Either we are shy or being humble. But if you bring them ‘anything’ they would then tend to be more specific. So lets say you bring them Coca-Cola as their ‘anything’, only for them to see it and ask, ‘Oh! Don’t you have Malt?’ LOL!
‘I am drinking tea’ – Its not tea. Tea in Ghana can be Milo, Coffee or the real tea. Don’t be confused if you offer tea and you have to go change it for Milo (hot chocolate)
‘From today onward going’ – in short Henceforth.
‘It wont reach’ – Who is reaching for what? Lets say you are buying an item, and its being sold for GHC50, you decide to bargain for Gh45. The seller will tell you, ‘It wont reach, madam’. As in your money isn’t enough.
'Its unto you’- How do I define this? You are speaking to someone to get them to understand why you weren’t able to turn up at the party and all they say is, ‘Its unto you’. You are not being believed with your excuse.
‘Flash me’ – Now that’s a rude thing to say in the States and you could be arrested for ‘flashing’ someone! Lol! Here in Ghana, we mean when you pick up your phone to call me, let it ring for a second only so I see ‘missed call’ on my phone. I will call you back then. So either its ‘Flash me or I will flash you’. I will flash you is mostly said by people who never buy phone credit.
‘It is far papa’ – Certainly not a reference to one’s father. Its also a phrase to stress the intensity of the previous word in this case distance. ‘It is hard papa’, whatever object it is must be really tough.
Don’t you just love our way of speaking English. Hopefully these would be very helpful phrases as you make your way around town. Do you know any which I have left out? I would love to read yours. Oh you can read more funny phrases on GhanaCentric .