Lesson 17: Two-letter Words in Twi and their Meanings

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Whichever language(s) you speak, I’m sure you know quite a handful of its two-letter words. In English, for example, we have an, am, is, go, to, be, do, and a host of other two-letter words with complete, independent meanings. This is no different in Twi.

I welcome you to lesson 17 of the Twi Vocabulary course. The focus of this lesson is to introduce you to a number of two-letter words in Twi and their meanings. A very important point to note before we proceed is the fact that a two-letter Twi word (most, actually) may carry more than a single meaning. In most such cases, the distinctions are made through variations in certain phonological features such as tone and nasalisation.

Thus, pronunciation is key; a little error in the pronunciation of a two-letter Twi word and you’ll be referring to something completely different from what you intend saying.  But, in a text lesson like this, I can only list the various meanings a single word may carry. Many of you have expressed interests in one-on-one conversational Skype sessions. I believe this will help a great deal as learners will get the chance to learn new stuff, practise what they’ve learnt and receive corrections on their speech. So, we are currently working on setting up a page where you can book available days and time slots. I will e-mail all subscribers when it is ready.

OK, if you are ready, let’s start.

 

Two-letter Words in Twi

Two-letter Word (Twi) English
ba offspring
bo

chest (noun)

beat (verb)

booze (verb)

bu

break (verb)

swindle

respect (verb)

bi

some

a certain… (e.g. “akwadaa bi” meaning “a certain child”)

proverb

create (applicable to God’s creation)

kick (verb)

da

sleep (verb)

day

solidify (of oil, e.g. “ngo no ada” meaning “the oil has solidified”)

sweet (adjective)
di eat

weed (verb)

deep (adjective)

love (verb)

du

heavy (adjective)

reach/arrive

fa

take (verb)

half (noun)

festival (e.g. “Asanteman rehyɛ fa” meaning “Asanteman is celebrating a festival”)

fo

climb (verb)

cheap (adjective)

fi

filth

leave (verb)

fe vomit (verb)
fu

grow (plant/weeds’ growth, e.g. “nwura no afu” meaning “the weeds have grown”)

grow (in anger, e.g. “me bo afu” literally: “my chest has grown (in anger))

wet (verb)

beautiful/nice

age mate/co-equal

ka

bite (verb)

debt

ko fight (verb)
ku kill (verb)
go (verb)
sa

fetch

dance (verb)

apply the enema

so

big

top (adjective)

reach the required amount/quantity

si

wash (verb)

descend

happen

se

tooth/teeth

say (verb)

resemble (verb)

that (conjunction)

go loosen
gu

sow (verb, seed)

end something interesting (e.g. “Kofi agu agorɔ no” meaning “Kofi has ended/stopped the game)

place on (e.g. “fa gu fam” meaning “place on the floor/ground)

ha

worry (verb)

light (weight, adjective)

here (adverb)

hi wear off
there (adverb)
he? where?
hu

see

fear (noun)

ta

fart (noun, verb)

tool for preparing banku (a Ghanaian dish)

tool (small pestle) for grinding spices in earthenware pot)

to

throw (verb)

place (verb)

bake

buttock

te

tear (verb)

hear (verb)

buy (verb)

drop/fall (verb, applicable to rain)

die (idiom)

tu

dig (verb)

fly (verb)

pack out of residence

ti

pinch (verb)

head (noun)

hide (verb)
ma

give (verb)

full (adjective)

mu inside
me

(1st person singular subject pronoun)

me (1st person singular object pronoun)

my (1st person singular possessive adjective)

mo

you (2nd person plural subject pronoun)

you (2nd person plural object pronoun)

your (2nd person plural possessive adjective)

mo! kudos!/good job!
na and (for conjoining clauses)
ne

and (for conjoining individual elements)

defecate

ni this is (e.g. “Kofi ni” meaning “This is Kofi”)
nu harvest (verb, applicable to palm fruit e.g. “nu abɛ no” meaning “harvest the palm fruit”)
pa

good (adjective)

hip

uncover/expose (usually applicable to taking off a cloth to reveal one’s nakedness)

pe ejaculate (verb)
pu

bring (swallowed food) up into the mouth again

bring something up (e.g. “pu w’afu” meaning “bring your stomach up/make your tummy big”)

pi

heavily concentrated (applicable to soup and other soluble substances)

po

reject (verb)

sea

find/look for

only (adjective)

harmattan/dry weather

bleach (verb)

knot (noun)

lump

wa

long/tall

we

chew

wo

give birth

you (2nd person singular subject pronoun)

you (2nd person singular object pronoun)

your (2nd person singular possessive adjective)

wu

die

pound (verb)

ya

painful

yi

remove

shave (verb)

do (verb)

well/good

 

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4 Responses
  1. Melli

    Thank you for your awesome and helpful lessons!
    Is it possible for you to make a video lesson for this? I think it would be very helpful for practicing the pronounciation.
    Greatings from Germany
    Melli

    1. Yaw

      Greetings Melli. There’ll definitely be a video lesson for this. We are trying to resolve a technical issue with the YouTube channel; as soon as that is done, you’ll be seeing more videos. Thank you

  2. Osei Tutu Paul

    Yaw
    there has been an argument about the two word ‘Twaka’
    Eg: Esum need han no twaka

    I would like to know the meaning of the word *twaka*

    1. Yaw

      Hello Osei Tutu,
      The best English word I can think of for “twaka” would be “dealings”. So, “esum ne han nni twaka” means “darkness and light have no dealings (together)”.

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