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How Kumawood Murders Twiglish

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 Source: Mensah, Solomon

By Solomon Mensah

They stood on the corridor of one of the lecture halls at the Ghana Institute of Journalism arguing. As usual, they would chat in groups with each group trying to outweigh the other with what they term “journalistic facts” whenever a lecture was delayed. Flinging words against themselves as though mangoes hitting at walls in a torrential storm, they debated on soccer once again.

Peeping through the louver blade-window, I could have tapped on their shoulders to tell them to reduce the decibels of their voices had it not been the green netting of the window. As a matter of fact, I would not have ‘given my ears’ to them but for the sake that Benedict, a sports pundit, was today talking of Ghana’s movie industry. It was like gaping at a vegetarian seen eating meat. Clad in a faded brown khaki trouser with a Polo shirt which suspended at the edges of his black belt, he argued on how Kumawood movies “murder” Twiglish- that is Twi and English languages.

Although what pertains in the movie industry is not his funeral, he argued sensibly on its issues. To him, one must appreciate how Agya Koo and his cohorts “redeemed” Ghanaians from the hands of Nigerian Movies. As well, the Kumawood’s ability to put smile and laughter on the faces of many Ghanaians is a plus to the Kumasi base movie stars since it is their area of specialisation. However, he thinks we all must help bale the waters of pitfalls of the industry before it gets to the kneel level. One of such pitfalls is how the industry wrongfully spells some words and makes grammatical mistakes in both Twi and English Languages.

From this day of their argument, I have observed with unflinching eyes glued to my Orion television set the preview of new movies. If I am to call a spade a spade and not a big spoon, the Kumawood Movie Industry is, gradually but steadily as the fire burning on a refuse, dragging the Akan Language specifically Twi into a slippery mud.

Make a time to sit behind your television set and in no time you will find yourself becoming an editor editing their erroneous movie titles. Lend me your ears and let me share with you a few of such mistakes that have crossed my mind of late.

“Awrehosem,” “Free education: ‘Yebe dii keke” and “Medo wiase” are some of the numerous blunders of spelling that characterise the said movie industry.

In the first movie title mentioned, “Awrehosem’ should have been spelt “Awer3hos3m.” In the second title, “Free education: ‘Y3b3 dii k3k3,” the ‘Free Education’ was correctly spelt but its prefix I guess spelling it was as hard as pulling a string of hair from the nostrils. It should have been spelt “Y3b3 dii k3k3.” Lastly, “Medo wiase” should also have been spelt “Med) wiase.” Perhaps Kwame Dzokoto’s soothing voice that serves as a wrapper around these movies makes one forget to take a closer look at how the industry butchers the Twi Language.

Our elders say that if a man does not know where he is going, he should at least know where he is coming from. Ironically, one will not be an inch from the truth in saying that Kumawood cannot tell where it is coming from since it has lost on its own mother tongue.

In countries like Japan, China, and Germany, their mother tongues have been well institutionalised that one doing away with it becomes like trying to clap with one hand. Ghana has travelled far on the global landscape that we cannot keep fumbling with our own language. While the Whiteman is eager to learn how to say “Akwaaba” to add up to his already acquired tall list of vocabularies, we take for granted and undermine the need to learn that which belongs to us. Funny enough, for the English Language that we have madly fell in love with; it seems we have also not taken time to learn it well. Again, take a closer look at some of the Kumawood movies and the translations from Twi to the English Language will blow your mind. The least said about it, the better. It is about time we sat down to reflect on this issue and stop laughing over it for it is said that the death that will kill a man begins as an appetite. The Writer works as a freelance journalist.

Email: nehusthan4@yahoo.com

NB: “)” and ‘3” were used since the web text format does not have their corresponding Twi letters.

Columnist: Mensah, Solomon