Learning a foreign language can be difficult.
And, for people traveling to Ghana, Africa for only a short amount of time, trying to become fluent in Twi, the principal native language of the country, may be a bit farfetched.
However, learning some important phrases before you go can help prepare you for a more comfortable experience.
Ghana Travel: Language Learning Video
Prefer to learn through video?
Check out the video above, and start memorizing these important Twi dialect phrases before your trip to Ghana.
Learning Twi (A Dialect Of The Akan Language)
Useful Twi Phrases For Greetings
How are you?
In Ghana, the people are extremely friendly, and everyone, even complete strangers, are going to ask you this.
Greetings are very important in Ghana, and if you don't want to be seen as impolite then be sure to learn this phrase and use it as much as possible.
When someone asks you how you’re doing, this should always be your response, even if you’re having a terrible day.
If Ghana, people don’t share these troubles in response to someone greeting them, so no matter how you are really feeling, just say you’re fine.
Ye fre wo sen.
What is your name?
When you meet new people, make sure to ask them their name, even if just to be polite.
It is more than likely that you will also be asked what your name is many times throughout your stay in Ghana, so knowing this expression ahead of time can be helpful.
Maa chi/Maa ha/Maa jo.
Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening.
Politeness goes a long way, and when locals see that you’re making an effort to learn their language and greet them, they’ll respect you more and not look at you as a lost and confused foreigner.
It’ll also help you immerse yourself in the culture that much more.
Twi Phrases For Meeting Locals
This is an expression you will hear a lot.
And, when I say a lot, I mean at least 20 to 100 times each day.
While it may sound offensive, as in many Western cultures shouting “foreigner!” at someone is taken rudely, in Ghana they mean it in a friendly manner as a way to say hello and try to get to know you.
Even if you don’t want to respond to the shouts of the locals, it is nice to know what exactly it is they are yelling at you.
Twi Phrases For Bartering
Wo bay jay sen?
What is the fare?
As a visitor to the country, you most likely aren’t going to have a car (and once you see the crazy drivers, traffic congestion, and pothole-filled roads in Ghana, you won’t want one).
Therefore, taxis and tro-tros (kind of like a packed out mini-van) are going to be your transportation options.
If you are traveling locally by tro-tro, you can almost bet that the fare will be under 1 Ghana Cedi.
However, if you are taking a taxi it can be helpful to know how to ask how much the trip will cost.
On that some note, as an “oburoni” you will undoubtedly be charged the foreigner price, sometimes as much as four times what the locals pay.
Don’t feel bad about bartering the price down.
And, once the taxi drivers hear you speaking the local language, they will be more likely to give you a fair price.
Wa ye sen?
This is how much?
Just like with taxi fare, be prepared for hawkers and market salespeople to charge you a higher price than the locals.
When shopping in the markets or buying food and other items on the street, politely ask how much something is.
Then, go back to the prior phrase of “Te so”, and ask them to reduce it.
Twi Phrases For Expressing Gratitude
Me daa si.
The people of Ghana are very friendly and will often help you figure out your way around the area and local customs.
Whether someone points you in the direction of the nearest public toilet, serves you a delicious meal, shows you the local beaches, or takes you on a guided tour of one of the historical castles, show gratitude, and thank them.
Twi Phrases For Apologizing
As a foreigner, it is inevitable that you will make mistakes along the way.
If you find you have made a cultural faux pas, just be polite and apologize.
Here are a few resources to help plan your trip. Note that the below sections include affiliate links to products I truly think you'll love!
Top-Rated Ghana Tours
A few unforgettable experiences include:
- Accra City Virtual Tour
- Accra Market Tour including Cooking Class with Lunch
- Kakum National Park - Cape Coast and Elmina Castle Tour
- The Best Of Cape Coast Tour
- Traditional naming ceremony For African Diaspora in Kumasi
Click here for a full list of tours in Ghana.
Top-Rated Ghana Hotels
This list features hotels in Accra and the Greater Accra Region:
- Tribeca Hotel (3 stars)
- Hidden Gem Hotel (3.5 stars)
- Accra Fine Suites (4 stars)
- Accra Luxury Apartments @ The Gardens (4 stars)
- Accra Marriott Hotel (4 stars)
- Labadi Beach Hotel (5 stars)
Click here for a full list of top Ghana Airbnbs -- or use this map to browse:
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Click here to learn more about SafetyWing, or use the widget below.
What important Twi phrases would you add to this list?
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