Although the official language in Ghana is English, we still find ourselves in dismay when it comes to knowing the names of some common things in English.
At a point, even our English teachers had to lie to us about the names of some of these things and we all believed it while the world never knew anything about these words.
A typical example is “Aluguntugui” which was propagated to be Sweet Apple when in fact, the name is nowhere close to that.
This is not the only thing you will find in the country that most Ghanaians do not know it’s English name. There are many and today we wish to bring to you 13 of such common things.
1. “Mpi” – Rheum/Gound
Whenever you wake up in the morning, there is this mucus that discharges from your eyes, mouth (Ano toto), and sometimes your nose and when you develop ‘apollo’, it gets worse. For decades, many are those who can’t tell its name in English and have resorted to all sort of names which are not even close to it. I’ve personally heard someone refer to it as eye pomade before.
Today we wish to reveal to you the English name, and it’s RHEUM or GOUND. So the next time someone asks you the name in English, handle it with ease and don’t go lying to your students either.
2. “Look me, Look London” – Strabismus/Crossed Eye/Squint
Sometimes you meet someone and while having a conversation, the person seems to be looking elsewhere while looking at you. In Ghana, such people have been termed, “look me, look London” and shortened to, “alookumi”.
This condition is usually the abnormal alignment of the eyes.
If we should step out on the streets of Ghana right now and begin asking people to give us its name in English, trust us, we will get all sort of funny names.
Well FYI, the medical name for the condition is Strabismus, commonly referred to in English as crossed eye or squint.
3. “Apollo” – Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis
If you should mention Apollo to a foreigner or an expat, all they will be thinking about is a theater, NASA’s Apollo aircraft that traveled to the moon or the movie Apollo. However, in Ghana, it means something totally different.
Growing up as children, we were fed with the lie that the astronauts that traveled to the moon came back with sand from space and when they got to Earth, the sand dispersed causing the reddening of the eye, hence the name Apollo, in reference to the rocket that went to the moon.
However, this condition is just a common ailment that has been with us for ages. It is commonly referred to as conjunctivitis but the medical name is acute haemmorrhagic conjunctivitis.
4. “Beduru/Kwahu Nsusua” – Turkey Berry/Solanum Torvum
This type of fruit is very common in Ghana but ask most people around you and you will find them ‘wanting’. It is commonly used to prepare palm nut soup. In some homes, it is used to prepare stew and eaten with plantain or yam.
Unfortunately, many are those who can’t tell you the name in English. Well don’t fret much from now on, it’s commonly known as, Turkey Berry and oh! don’t bother trying to get the botanical name, just stick with the common name.
They are usually small and round and green in nature, very nutritive and a good source for blood. Some people even use it as blood tonic.
5. “Alasa” – African Star Fruit/Chrysophyllum Albidum
Alasa is a very common fruit in Ghana and most of us here in the country have tasted a considerable quantity but when it comes to mentioning it’s name in English, it’s going to be war.
Most of us don’t know the name in English but I guess after reading this, it wouldn’t be much of a problem anymore. The English name is African star fruit, so take note of that.
6. “Aluguntugui/Sweet Apple” – Soarsop
There is even a song that was titled after this fruit and it’s a very tasteful fruit that is loved by many Ghanaians but ask any Ghanaian what the English name is and they will not mince words to tell you it’s sweet apple…wrong!!!.
Sweet apple is actually the regular apple you know but “aluguntugui” is never sweet apple, the name in English is Soarsop.
7. “Yooyi/Black Berry” – Tamarind Velvet
So many are those who refer to “Yooyi” as black berry … Sorry!!! You’ve deviated.
Black berry is a whole different fruit and so using the name that way is confusing. Akosua Tumtum, as some call it, has an English name and it’s Tamarin Velvet.
8. “Dadesen” – Cauldron
In a Ghanaian home where most of us love ‘banku’, definitely a metal pot wouldn’t be absent in our homes but unfortunately many of us don’t even know the name in English. Well in case you missed it, the English name is Cauldron and not metal pot as many refer to it.
9. “Bentua” – Enema Bulb Syringe
So this type of tool is very common in Ghana and there’s even a proverb to it that says, “Akodaa n’asu)den no, bentua mpa ne to da” to wit, “The enema syringe never ceases to find its way to the anal region of a stubborn child”. With all this, many are those who don’t even know the name of this tool in English.
Some tried but ended at enema without adding the syringe. Enema is actually the act of pushing the contents from the syringe into the body of the person through the anus, but the tool itself is a syringe hence the name Enema syringe.
There are many types but the particular one we use in Ghana is known as Enema Bulb Syringe.
10. “Asanka/Apotoyiwa” – Earthenware bowl
This type of bowl is very common in most Ghanaian homes but few are those who know the name in English. In case you’ve had difficulties trying to find the name in English, there you have, it’s an Earthenware bowl.
11. “3gyir3/Teeth Gap” – Diastema
There are some people who naturally have these beautiful spaces in between their teeth and in Twi it is referred to as “3gyir3” but unfortunately, majority of us don’t even know how to describe it in English when the need arises.
“3gyir3″‘s english name is DIASTEMA, kyir3 s3, sim’ gyir3.
12 “Koti Ano” – Meatus
Step on the streets of Ghana and ask many Ghanaians to tell you the English name given to the hole through which men pee and you will find yourself in a state of hysteria. You might laugh your lungs out.
Truth is, many do not know the name of this part of the body except the medical students and some few curious people who love to read and might be reading this right now. The name for this hole through which men pee and also leads to the urethra is known as MEATUS. So if you never knew, now you know.
You may want to find out here, some foods Ghanaians eat when times are hard and since we are talking about English words, here are some everyday things Ghanaian pronounce wrongly all the time.