If you are a Ghanaian, you should be very familiar with these very everyday phrases you hear on the tro-tro, in the market, on the streets and frighteningly from some classrooms too. Eissshh! In Ghana, we love to say what we say and we say it with such panache as if it’s all correct and proper! Like with a pinch of salt. Our billboards and posters carry the worst of expressions but we love ourselves. Please endure this…
I went snooping around with pen and paper after my last blog (I promised there’ll be something on Ghanaian English, yeah?), and caught all shapes and sizes of people giving the Queen’s language a good beating … I decided I will only concentrate on what we have taken now as acceptable. Here go 20 of Ghana’s most irritating English phrases….those that we have heard saaã, and are tired of….(ei…have u heard that now, a small-sized Club beer is called an Akuffo, as short as you know who?)
1. Dash me some….
Ghanaians have this instinct for thinking that every seller is doing them in. So even if it’s pure water, they wish they can tip the scales in their favour and get more than they are paying for. The market people too are getting smart. They serve you less and then they ‘dash’ you the rest of what you deserve! Period! Everybody is happy.
2. Home use….
The better thing to say is ‘second—rate’. In Ghana, we so home use everything: home use cars, home use clothing, home use toothbrushes koraa mpo, there is not much GES can do about this phrase.
3. I’m going to barber my hair…..
Arrrggghhhh!!! And when you finish, seamstress your dress as well!
4. Can you borrow me (some money)?
My primary school teacher said that people who say this were born before the education ministry was set up so we may just have to be patient until they all have lost their teeth with age and can then honestly shut up!
5. I will climb this car…
Aw, aw, aw! Maybe, that’s why you have been standing at the station for so long! Looking for a car to climb! Which driver will permit you?
6. One mother, one father….
Honestly, can anybody be born from one mother, two fathers? Come to think of it, this phrase exists because in Ghana, everybody is everybody’s abusua. ‘Kufuor koraa yɛ me wɔfa’. Those kinds of things….so you must really be conversant with your parents if you don’t want to lose them to some bloke.
7. Petrol shell…
This is what we call an innocent filling station. Petrol shell! I can’t even help it. Petrol. Shell. Aaaaba!
8. I am going to branch at this house…
Take a bend. If you finish branching, just be sure to grow leaves on it as well. The weather is unpredictable nowadays.
9. It will short….
That is to say that it will reduce till it’s not enough anymore. Greedily stingy people overdramatize the five wise virgins when you ask them for anything. Their answer? You guessed right. It will short!
10. From today onward going…
Ehhhn! Keep your thoughts to yourself. Where are you today onward going from today onward to?!!
11. Excuse me to say…
When we want to insult you courteously, this is what we hide behind. I wish it were an Akuapem phrase. That will make it so natural. Excuse me to say, sɛbe sɛbe tafrakyɛ.
12. I for one, I think….
We for two, we also think you should shut up and gowayyou!!! A mess of spoken language!!
13. At the end of the day….
Which day is it that has still never come for Ghanaians? I think this is genuinely one of the most scrubbed phrases in the world, thanks to us. Such a lame excuse for not getting things done on time! It even ends our prayers… “at the end of the day, we will give glory to your name”. Somebody tell me; which day are we talking about?
14. Only your….
This is one of my favourites. I loved being told “Only your shoe!” whenever I wore new sneakers in my kindergarten days. And I still hear it for a lot of things: “only your dress!” “only your car!”….”Only Your English!!!!”
15. On the light…
This is “on” being used as a verb, if you get what I mean. /On/ the light, means “turn on the lights,” only that, “turn” is too long and unpronounceably burdensome for us. We love the command it gives us to say it this way: “On the light!” What a waste!
And we have developed this beautiful use of the word ‘last’ that spins my head any day. For example: “What is your last price?” “The price is fifty thousand cedis, last!” So what is first?
17. I quite remember….
We never fully remember anything in Ghana. We only quite! Poor tribute to such a sensuous word as ‘quite’. When we start hearing people ‘quite forgetting’, that will be the day!!
18. Will not reach…
As in, “The money will not reach.” Where at all is the money going? Eeenh! This English too will not reach.
19. I’m going to come…
Can you believe that a song by Buk Bak which had this line tune-variedly repeated as a chorus (singing): “I’m going to come, I‘m going to come, I’m going to come…12X doo daa daa” actually stayed in the top of our charts? We dey craze for this phrase waa!!! And we mean to say “I’ll be back!” This one paa deɛɛ (singing) GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA…doo daa daa…It’s only better than calling those fish you get along the Volta “Keta school boys”. School boys paa?
20. Flash me…
We only mean that you should leave a missed call on our phone as a prompt. God be praised that it is not “Flush me.”