You must have heard the history of the transatlantic slave trade that took place in Africa a long time ago and you must have heard the arrival of the Portuguese led by Prince Henry The Navigator.
Until March 1957, Ghana was referred to as Gold Coast. The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Mina – meaning Mine.
They settled around the coastal areas upon their arrival and put up such structures as the Castelo de São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine Castle) better put, the Elmina Castle.
According to history, when the Portuguese arrived on Ghana’s shores, they tried to teach our forefathers some words in their language, however, our forefathers got them wrong and the corrupted ones became what we are used to today.
Their language largely influenced the people who lived along the shores. To date, Gas, Fantis/Ashantis and Ewes still use these corrupted words in their everyday lives. Here are a few we could dig up.
A Fanti indigene may buy “paanoo” on the way to visit his/her family in his hometown whiles a Brazilian family may have “pão” for breakfast.
Quite uncommon but I remember my uncle once asked me to pass him the “faka” (“faca” in Portuguese) during my JHS days in Cape Coast. Hey, did you know Cape Coast was called “Cabo Corso?” Well, that’s for another article.
A carpenter uses “taaboo/taabow” in his work and this comes from the Portuguese word “tabua.”
The “kopow” is largely known in the Fanti land as a utensil used to drink water. Interestingly, its name was derived from “copo” in Portuguese.
Also the clothing suffered influence from the Portuguese language. A Ga man can buy a “kamisaa” made of “seda” and a pair of “aspaatere”. “Kamisaa” comes from “camisa” (shirt), “seda” (a term also common in Ewe) from “seda” (silk) and “aspaatere”, also used as “asopaatsee” (Fanti) or “asapatere” (Ashanti) from “sapato” (shoe).
The word “prego” (nail) was integrated into Fanti (“pregow”) and Ga (“plekoo”).
The Akan word “saafee” (key) comes from “chave.”
The Fanti and Ga words “fononoo” and “flonoo” are from “forno” (oven in Portuguese).
9. Plate – Prato
A Fanti eats his meal from a “pretse”, which comes from “prato” (plate).
The Ga fishermen use a specific word for their needle with which they sew their nets, called “agulia”. It comes from “agulha” (needle).