By Timayo Ogunro
Depending on what part of the world you find yourself, slang acts as a modest, yet intricate means of communication. Probably the most popular form of slang, is cockney rhyming slang. In mid-19th Century London, petty criminals coined the term ‘cockney rhyming slang’, as a cryptic means of conveying information, while at the same time, preventing local police from understanding their conversations.
But enough of that, today, our story takes us to the sandy shores of Shatta Wale and Shito. Commonly referred to as Pidgin English, this reconstruction of the English language does not discriminate on what class of society you belong.
Whether it’s to lighten the mood, humour others, or insult your grandchildren’s destiny, Ghanaian slang is understood by people from all walks of life- from the businessman stuck in traffic, to the hawker selling Gala by the side of the road.
The Gold Coast is home to an array of native languages. Each with its own unique intonation- from Twi to Fanti- and everything in between, Ghanaians have managed to construct a fluid, seamless version of Nigeria’s Pidgin English. (trust Ghanaians to copy us, right?!)
For those of you visiting the great nation for the first time, there are a couple of words and phrases one should familiarize themselves with- make dem no go sell you for Warri!!
For GH dem no dey use padi to call friend, nah chale. When I hear am, I no believe but my guy talk say dem no get danfo for Ghana, dem dey call am trotro. Abeg wetin be dat? E dey sound like malaria medicine.
Normal greeting for Ghana nah akwaaba, which means welcome. Abongoman nah anybody wey dey hustle up an’ dan. In Ghana, alomo nah girlfriend, but for where I dey Alomo nah d ogbonge beverage. But d drink bitter sha, maybe nah why dem call am Alomo.
If you no sabi wetin abeg be, please I no fit help you. You see dat palasa wey dey your hand, boys for Ghana dey call am battle commander– I no know why.
If you be JJC, or if your visa finish and Home Office don deport you, you come back to d motherland with one fake phonẹ no forget say dem dey call dat oyinbo land, Babylon.
Or if you dey the middle of Accra, the heat don hold your soul, and you dey look for correct mama put, just tell person say you dey find chopbar. For d streets, man no dey chop Jollof or spag that one nah for big man bellẹ, when you enter mama put, you go sit dan, settle well, collect one ice cold mineral (mortuary standard) and request for island aka fufu and soup.
When dem born you for Nigeria, you go sabi wetin we call ‘monkey post’, which basically describes street football, but if you be GH national, nah gutter-to-gutter. Nah why Ghana national team no fit enter world cup- wetin be gutter-to-gutter?
And while all these small girls with big god are called slay mama in Nigeria, Ghanaian call them guarantee. Who needs assurance when you can get a guarantee.
So to end am, wetin I dey tell una be say… wait my slang too strong? Oya no vex.
Did we leave out any of your favourites?
Photo credit: nda.org
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