English is the official language, but most Ghanaians grow up speaking an indigenous language (e.g. Twi, Fanti, Ga, and Ewe) with English as a second language. It is important to speak slowly, as most Ghanaians are more accustomed to British accents, than those of North Americans.
The pronunciation of words vary from person to person.
The word for greeting people is "Akwaaba". You will see it at the airport, on buildings, signs and hear it. People love to joke and tease; many requests are not serious.
It can be quite helpful to know a few Twi phrases (this is one of the more common dialects in Ghana) such as those listed phonetically:
"Wo ho tay sane" or "Eh te sane" How are you?
"Me ho ye / eye" I'm fine
"Mah chee" Good morning
"Mah ha" Good afternoon
"Mah joe" Good evening
"Me dah see" Thank you
"Sain" How much
"May pa cho" Please
"Bra mu" Come in
"Ko bra" To go and come
"Afenhyiapa" Happy New Year
"Afe nko meto yen" Response to Happy New Year greeting, which means many Happy Returns
An "obroni" Is a foreign person.
You will also find some useful common Ghanaian expressions in the Etiquette section.
Tamale Institute for Cross-Cultural Studies
Produce a wonderful little book called An Americain's guide to Ghanian English.
Ghana Institute of Languages, Accra, hold courses on Twi and other languages.
026 454 3181, 027 702 1348, 030 222 2880