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Entertainment of Tuesday, 29 December 2020


Newly discovered words of 2020 that joined the Ghanaian dictionary

File photo: Some of these words already existed in some Ghanaian languages File photo: Some of these words already existed in some Ghanaian languages

Every year, Ghanaians make up new words, as attempts to douse tensions which come with politics, public offices and social pressures. These words more often than not, gain attention on social media and spread to various spheres of Ghanaian life.

They are then used to ridicule personalities involved, as well as make issues light for casual conversations.

Some of these words already existed in some Ghanaian languages but some new meanings were given to them as they re-emerged in some controversies and trends.

In this article, GhanaWeb sheds some light on the top five words which made it to the Ghanaian dictionary in 2020 with new meanings.

1. Papa no.

‘Papa no’ in the local dialect Twi means ‘That man’ or ‘The man’ but in 2020 it entered the Ghanaian dictionary with a new meaning.

It first gained popularity during a social media battle between two Ghanaian public figures – singer Mzbel and actress Tracey Boakye.

‘Papa no’ in their banters was a code name of a man who they both reportedly had an amorous relationship with.

Since then, the simple meaning of the term metamorphosed into one which connoted a ‘sugar daddy’ – an older man who spends money on a younger lady in exchange for sex.

2. Kumerica

Call it the Ghanaian ingenuity, but many refer to it as the Ghanaian way of having fun. In the middle of the year, Kumerica was creatively carved from Kumasi, the capital city of the Ashanti Region and America by some upcoming artistes.

This was not only to sell their music or celebrate their city but also gave rise to a whole movement which was heavily endorsed by several public figures.

Disciples of this movement and for that matter all people who live and identify themselves as people from the Ashanti Region were called ‘Kumericans’.

Faux flags, currencies, cloths and several other symbols of a sovereign entity were developed, in this regard.

3. Flip-flop

The word flip-flop is widely known as a type of sandals, though it has quite a significant meaning in electronics.

But in 2020, it entered the Ghanaian dictionary as a political term which was used to ridicule the opposition National Democratic Congress.

‘Flip’ which was consistently used by Director of Elections for the NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah during a press conference after the December 7 polls, courted some attention.

By using the word, the party communicated their confidence in capturing some parliamentary seats which initially belonged to the NPP.

The NPP, on the other hand, later added ‘flop’ to it to also call the bluff of the NDC.

“Flip-flop” since then to several Ghanaian, has become a political term for the two dominant parties in the country.

4. Yagyae

“Yagyae” in the local Twi dialect literally translates as “We’ve stopped”.

But how did this word enter the Ghanaian dictionary again? Some few weeks to Christmas, some Ghanaians started tweeting about things they intend to put a stop to, particularly in their relationships.

Not only that, it was also used to communicate some archaic practices people intend to discontinue in the new year.

It is not yet clear who started the trend but it was, as a matter of fact, heavily patronized.

5. Fellow Ghanaians

Yes, Fellow Ghanaians is English and it is well understood. However, in 2020, shortly after the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus it became synonymous to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s occasional address to the nation.

The president, during the period of lockdown (March – April) began to update Ghanaians on measures his government put in place to combat the virus.

Whether intentional or not, the president usually preceded his address with “Fellow Ghanaians”. Not long after, Ghanaians adopted the term and began using it for casual conversations, making jokes, and as a form of greeting amongst others.

More often, prior to the president’s addresses, “Fellow Ghanaians” would top social media trends all in anticipation of what government had to deliver.

6. Akyem Mafia

‘Akyem’ is an Akan word used to describe a group of four states: Akyem Kotoku, Akyem Bosome. Asante Akyem and Akyem Abuakwa.

In the midst of extreme controversy over the Agyapa Royalties deal, the Bolgatanga Central MP Isaac Adongo, used the term, ‘Akyem Mafia and Sakawa Boys’ to describe President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his relatives in government who have their roots in Akyem.

Though this did not settle well for those involved, it did not stop some Ghanaians from adopting as part of their everyday conversation. The term went as far as taking top spots on social media trends.

As it stands, the term is synonymous to a specific group of people in government who share family ties with the president.

7. La Hustle and La Wu

The two terms are often used concurrently. They are part of the terms couched by the creative minds of social media fanatics to communicate the essence of hard work amongst the youth.

According to some tweeps, ‘La Hustle’ literally means ‘you have to work’ or simply ‘work hard’ and ‘La Wu’ which mostly comes after the former means “you’re doomed” or ‘you’re dead.’

An example of how it has been variously used is; “La Hustle nyE saa La Wu” to wit “You have to work hard or else you’re dead.”

Though these terms existed, it was given prominence after award winning rapper, Medikal highlighted them in his song. The song titled ‘La Hustle’.