Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yefre me Yaw Daniel...

Yefre wo sen (What is your name?)? Yefre me Yaw Daniel (I'm called or they call me Yaw Daniel). So, this is Twi. Unfortunately, there are Twi letters and sounds I can't replicate here, but this is close.

The Akan people and also people from other parts of Ghana who have adapted the Twi language are often named after the day of the week they were born. Hence, I am Yaw Daniel because I was born on Thursday. I've written about the family who I live with, Ama, Yaw Bimpe, Kwaku Baah. These names are all based on the days of the week. Here are the names of the other days:

Sunday: Kwasiada, Boy's name: Kwasi, Girl's name: Akosua.
Monday: Dwoada, Boy's name: Kwadwo, Girl's name: Adwoa.
Tuesday: Benada, Boy's name: Kwabena, Girl's name: Abenaa.
Wednesday: Wukuada, Boy's name: Kwaku, Girl's name: Akua.
Thursday: Yawoada, Boy's name: Yaw, Girl's name: Yaa.
Friday: (E)Fiada, Boy's name: Kofi, Girl's name: Afua/Afia.
Saturday: Memenada, Boy's name: Kwame, Girl's name: Amma.

This info was taken from my Twi book, A Comprehensive Course in Twi (Asante) for the Non-Twi Learner by Florence Abena Dolphyne.

According to my Bradt Guide, the Akan believe the person's soul is linked to the day of the week they were born. I was told by one Ashanti that there are different personality types for each day of the week. He said "Yaw", Thursday born, are strong. I've asked around, but the people I've talked to don't know the personality types for the days.

Also, according to Bradt: Eight days after the child is born, the parents decide on another name to be given, often that of a respected family member. Kwaku Baah was named after his grandfather on his father's side.

Mr. Atta, the father of the household I'm staying at, is named "Atta" because he was a twin. Other spellings are "Ata" or for a female, "Ataa"

Two three year old girls who were twins stopped by over the weekend and did some drawing. Their names were Sefenica and Levina(most people I've met also have an English name). I've met some people with beautiful English names such as: Gifty, Comfort, Patience, Lovejoy.

For boys, the name, Ebenezer, is alive and well in Ghana. I spose Dickens put the kabosh on this name in most other English speaking countries. It's refreshing to ask a little boy his name and he responds, "Ebenezer". Also, Emanuelle is more common here than what I've heard in the States.

Yefre wo sen?

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