Ghanaian Sayings

Although there are many tribal languages spoken in Ghana, English is the national language and the language used to teach in schools.  It’s very helpful that Ghanaian’s speak the same language as us, but sometimes it can still be difficult to understand them.  Likewise, I know they have a difficult time understanding us.  Not only do they have an accent very different from our own, but some of the words are different from what we use in the U.S.  Now I’ve learned that some of the differences are due to British terminology, but Ghanaians sometimes use words in a way that is all their own.  Below are some of the things that I’ve heard.  I’m going to let you guess what they mean (and I hope you’ll post your guesses), and then I’ll give you the answers in a few days.  Good luck!

  1. T-roll
  2. Holiday
  3. Go come
  4. Small small
  5. Take away
  6. You are welcome
  7. Minerals
  8. Bonnet
  9. Rumble strip

10. Queue

11. Dash

12. Let

13. Overtake

14. Overspeeding

15. Torch

16. Ssss

17. Earthed

18. Biscuit

19. Rubbish

20. Rubber

21. Tin tomatoes

22. Pear

23. Po po

24. Chicklets

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Ghanaian Sayings

  1. I hope Po Po is the Police.

  2. Sorry just typed the first thing that came to mind

    1. T-roll T-rex size roll of toliet paper?
    2. Holiday Lunch break?
    3. Go come confused mother?
    4. Small small extra small?
    5. Take away here you may have this?
    6. You are welcome Thankyou?
    7. Minerals makeup?
    8. Bonnet condom?
    9. Rumble strip hygeine product?
    10. Queue Que? What was that you said?
    11. Dash move quickly…Dash to the store
    12. Let may I?
    13. Overtake jump in line?
    14. Overspeeding driving over the speed?
    15. Torch lighter?
    16. Ssss Snake sound?
    17. Earthed Birthday or Birth?
    18. Biscuit pancake or bread?
    19. Rubbish Someone elses chewing gum?
    20. Rubber Chewing gum?
    21. Tin tomatoes spagetti sauce?
    22. Pear socks?
    23. Po po Dad or grandfather?
    24. Chicklets children that smell minty fresh?

    • Tywonn

      Renee,
      Several of your answers are right and you had quite a few really good guesses. I must admit that some of them made me laugh. 🙂 I’m glad you accepted the challenge.

  3. andersondavidp

    5. Take Away = To go
    9. Rumble Strip = a speed bump
    14. Overspeeding = an add campaign for Toyota that kills people
    16. Ssss = the sound after Rrrr
    19. Rubbish = Material used to make purses

  4. Tywonn

    Okay, so here are the answers. Unfortunately, Alan gave away some of the answers with his comment on the previous post about a sign.

    1. T-roll—Toilet paper
    2. Holiday—Vacation
    3. Go come—Leave and come back later
    4. Small small—Bit by bit (For example, I’m learning Twi small small)
    5. Take away—Take out at a restaurant
    6. You are welcome—The greeting used when meeting someone, instead of “Welcome”
    7. Minerals—Soda (or pop for those of you in New York)
    8. Bonnet—Car hood
    9. Rumble strip—Speed bump
    10. Queue—A line of people
    11. Dash—It’s like a tip. If I buy a lot of fruit and vegetables from one person, she may throw in an extra cucumber that I didn’t ask for and don’t have to pay for.
    12. Let—To rent an apartment
    13. Overtake—To pass on the road
    14. Overspeeding—We saw this on a road sign in place of the word “speeding”.
    15. Torch—Flashlight
    16. Ssss—A polite way of getting someone’s attention, like a server at a retaurant
    17. Earthed—It means grounded. I noted this on the new washing machine we bought for the guesthouse.
    18. Biscuit—Cookie or cracker
    19. Rubbish—Trash or garbage
    20. Rubber—It’s a plastic bag. Sodas usually come in glass bottles here. It’s expected that when you buy a Coke, you’ll leave the bottle. Otherwise, you can get it in a rubber and drink it through a hole you tear in the corner.
    21. Tin tomatoes—Tomato paste
    22. Pear—Avocado (My friends at Lucerne might already know this answer thanks to Doriel.)
    23. Po po—Papaya
    24. Chicklets—Okay. I admit I haven’t actually heard anyone say this yet, but I hope to hear it. According to “A North American’s Guide to Ghanaian English” by Fr. Jon P. Kirby, it is not referring to gum but to chicks or baby chickens.

    • jane neiswender

      Hi Tywonn, i loved the sayings…what a fun thing to do. Penny and I were in Pakistan one time and there was a new zealander there whom we often quote: “Biff it in the bin” = “Throw it out” ha. It is English, but….
      How are you doing??? Feeling? Home yet?
      I think of you often. How is alan’s back?? Love,Jane

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