Lesson 20: Twi Relative Pronouns | Twi Grammar

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Having mentioned the name of a person, place, thing, animal, or idea, you may want to refer back to it within the same sentence in order to show:

  • Which person, place, thing, animal, or idea that you mean.
  • More about that person, place, thing, animal, or idea.

To do any of that, we make use of what we call relative pronouns. Today, we look at relative pronouns in Twi. I promise this is going to be a very simple lesson.

What is a relative pronoun?

A relative pronoun is a pronoun used to refer to a hitherto-mentioned noun or noun phrase. There are only a handful of relative pronouns in English, with the most common being who, whom, which, that, whose, whoever and whomever. Other less-common ones are what, when, and where.

Important Note: Do not confuse the wh-words listed above with question words, i.e. words used to ask questions. The above are used in such contexts as:

  • The boy who failed the paper is back
  • The man to whom the dowry was paid is here
  • The woman whose farm caught fire is crying

For question words, you may refer to this lesson. If we are clear on the distinction, let’s continue with the lesson.

Relative Pronouns in Twi

The function that relative pronouns play in English is achieved with a single-letter particle: (pronounced áà). Let’s see how this particle is used with some examples.

TWIENGLISH
maame no a gya tɔɔ n’afuom no resuThe woman whose farm caught fire is crying
Kofi waree ɔbaa a na ɔnhuu no daKofi married a woman that he had never met.
papa no a ɔbaa ha no atu kwanthe man who came here has traveled
woasum aberewa, baabi a ɔbɛkɔ akɔtɔ deɛ, ɛfa wo ho bɛn?you’ve pushed an old woman, as to the place where she’ll land, how does it concern you?
wokae berɛ a na wonni sika no?do you remember the time when you didn’t have money?
akwadaa no a ne nan mu abuo no kɔ ayaresabeathe child whose leg is broken has gone to the hospital
aduro no a wode maa me no asathe medicine that you gave me is finished
merehwehwɛ obi a ɔyɛ kwadwofoɔI’m looking for someone who is lazy
ɛdan no a yɛdaa mu nnora no adwiri aguthe building in which we slept yesterday has collapsed

Now, how about the relative pronouns whoever, wherever, whichever, and the likes?

We have previously looked at Twi indefinite pronouns, the likes of obi (someone)obiara (everyone)baabiara (everywhere)baabi (somewhere)biribi (something), etc.

Now, to form the relative pronouns whoever, wherever, whichever, etc., we simply follow up the appropriate Twi indefinite pronoun with the particle a.

For instance:

INDEFINITE PRONOUNPLUS PARTICLEEQUALS
obiara
everyone
obiara + a
everyone + who
obiara a
whoever
biribiara
everything
biribiara + a
everything + that
biribiara a
whatever
baabiara
everywhere
baabiara + a
everywhere + where
baabiara a
wherever
(e)biara
any; every
biara + a
any/every + that
biara a
whichever

Some examples

TWIENGLISH
Awurade nhyira wo, obiara a woboaa me noGod bless you, whoever helped me
ɛdan anaa kaa, ebiara a wopɛ no, mɛtɔ ama woa house or car, whichever you like, I’ll buy (it) for you
wiase afɛɛfɛdeɛ yi nyinaa, biribiara a yɛamfa anwo yɛn no, yɛbɛwu agya hɔall the(se) niceties of the world, whatever we weren’t born with, we’ll die and leave them behind
yi baako, obiara a w’ani gye ne hochoose one, whomever you like

And this brings us to the end of the lesson. Please don’t forget to share and subscribe to the website for notifications on future publications. And, if you need to purchase a copy of our vocabulary e-book, you may do so here.

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