Tag Archives: language


Herh!! You think I typed the title wrong, eh? Be there and be wasting your own time. If you haven’t been to Ghana and heard us speak, shut up and suffer!! Too Known!! Honour roll.

Ahaa, as I was saying, I’m a two-week old Takoradi-born, thank you very much for the applause. And as you know, me dierr I won’t be there and hear people say crap in Ghanaian language and leave them scot-free, no way!! So the first thing I hear when I get here is some guy emceeing a show and goes like, “Yes, so let’s give Hannah to whom Hannah is due”. Please read that again and make sure that this time, the H is very heavy. Hhannah!! Ahaa, that’s right. I clapped the loudest for him in that place, eaven (for Heaven) knows best!! Oops, there the guy goes again. After the programme, someone screamed his name out and I realized that ahh, he was Ga. That settled it for me!!!

Ok so we hall know that some Gas ave a beef with their H. It goes beyond words, mehn! They miss the H where it should be and use it when they don’t need it! So we were in church the other day when, just before offertory, I had taken my wallet and taken out a crisp note as my offering to the Lord, after all, He has been faithful. So, in the pious midst of holy brethren, all faces lit up like sanctimonious angels, imagine my utter shame when I got up and loudly dropped a 5pesewa coin..it just rolled out of my pocket…. I was like “Shoot!!, that was not me, I promise. That’s not what I was going to give. I never…” But who will hear?? The coin had done its business, lying there on the floor right next to me, accusing me loudly of ingratitude!!! Certainly, I could give more than that…and God was worth more, you see! It robbed me of the confidence to pick it up, even. After church, I looked in the place where it had fallen and lo and behold, it was gone. Mysteries.

That reminds me…some pretty little girl came to give her testimony and said hasn’t the Good Lord done so much for her? Hey lady, He has done for us all, okay? And she went on about how just a week ago, she had a headache, and hadn’t it been the devil and his co-workers who had come to take her head away? “They were pulling my head while my body was sitting there!” Hey, no laughing!! This is serious business! So she made frantic calls to her Christian friends and they all came to pull against the devil, a mighty tug of war it was until her head was finally let free. Halleluyah! Amen. One dude was so excited about this apparent victory that he said from now on, no one should listen to the devil when he speaks because lying is his mother tongue and that we all will be missing the truth if we go playing with the devil. Acknowledged very much!

There is an old school Twi praise song that translates that If the devil worries me I’ll give him canes, hiding behind the Lord, I’ll give him canes. Crrrrap!! After the testimony time, come see young people on fire for the Lord, giving the devil his worse beating with careless abandon, uncaring what the circumstances be. Oh, I love these young people.
So, I’m settling into Takoradi very well and happy that far away on this coast we can still find Ga kenkey straddled along the best boutiques in town. We are enjoying Ghana here with the best Ga accent you can find…somebody say a mighty aalleluyah…uh erm…cough..cough.


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…


Only In Ghana, the things we endure
Only In Ghana, the things we endure

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!

16. Last…

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.”