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Trying to learn any language as an adult can be very difficult. Amongst linguists, especially language acquisition scholars, there has been a long-standing debate over the extent to which language acquisition is biologically linked to age. There is what has come to be known as the Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) which basically holds that there is a period in a person’s life (i.e. first few years of life) which lends itself well to the acquisition of language. Beyond this rather ‘critical’ period, the hypothesis holds that language learning becomes much more effortful and difficult.
This linguistic hypothesis aside, you may have noticed how fast and effortless children appear to acquire language as compared to adults. You see, as an adult, having to balance language learning with tight schedules at work, mainstream school, and engagements with family alone can be a great disincentive to your quest, consequently stalling your progress. This is why I believe inculcating certain practical and fun activities into your learning, just as children do, will help speed up the process.
So, today, I present to you five (5) practical and fun ways you can add to your Twi-learning routine to help speed it up.
1. Have regular Twi conversations with native speakers and other competent speakers.
I cannot stress this point well enough. For me, I don’t think there is any better way to improve, especially your oral competence, other than to constantly engage in conversations with competent speakers of Twi. By doing so, you don’t only get to practise what you’ve learnt thus far, you also get to receive corrections and general guidelines to help you improve quickly; what’s more, by engaging with a native or competent speaker of Twi, you’ll get to bond and understand us better. And, we will love you more for taking the time to know us as a people; everyone loves that, right?
2. Watch Akan (Twi) Movies
Around the world, audiovisual contents serve as great resources for language learning. As a kid, I remember how I used to rush home after school in order to catch an episode or two of my favourite cartoon series. It wasn’t until much later that I realised how that practice had positively impacted on my English.
It will be of much help if you made it a point to watch a Twi movie or two each week and pay particular attention to how the language sounds within natural conversational settings. Make sure you take note and memorise about five to ten Twi words and three to five Twi sentences per each movie you watch. Also, make sure you pay particular attention to the correct pronunciations of the vocabulary items you memorise, as pronounced by the character(s) in the respective movies.
If you need help with the meaning(s) of any word(s) or sentence(s), don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be happy to help. You can also make use of the English subtitles that come with some of the movies. Now, talking about Twi movies, a good platform to find and watch some for free is the ADOWA ENTERTAINMENT channel on YouTube. It hosts a large number of Twi movies that will aid you in your practice.
3. Listen to Twi songs
Did you know that, for some people, the motivation to learn Twi is solely borne out of their love for indigenous Ghanaian music? Yes, our music is that good. From highlife, hiplife, to gospel music, non-Twi speakers tend to fall in love with songs sang entirely in Twi. These non-Twi-speaking lovers of Twi songs often leave comments beneath YouTube videos of their favourite hits, asking others for the meanings of various lyrical lines in the respective songs.
So, listen to more Twi songs, pay particular attention to the lyrics and ask your Twi-speaking friends and acquaintances for their meanings. Be sure to write them down for future references. To listen to some classic highlife tunes, check out the YouTube channel GHANAMANKOFI. You will also find a playlist of hiplife HERE. For gospel, check out this VIDEO COMPILATION.
4. Be consistent
When it comes to language learning, consistency is key. For instance, whereas some people visit and learn from this blog every now and then, others have made it a point to commit about three to five days each week to be here. The difference, of course, is in the progress of each sect. Unless you possess an off-the-roof natural flair for language learning, you shouldn’t expect to make the same progress as those who commit more time to learn.
5. Read Twi books
This point should probably have come much earlier, but then again, it appears to follow naturally the point about consistency. You cannot always be here on the blog. To stay consistent, therefore, some forms of passive, impromptu learning that you do while waiting for someone at the park, during lunch breaks, during bus/flight waiting times, etc. could go a long way in helping you to improve significantly. Is there a better way to do this than to have a Twi book or two with you from which you can always take quick reads? Besides, books often contain much more detailed contents than you’ll find online.
I hope these few tips will be of help to you in your quest to learn the language. If you have more tips that weren’t included in the list, you can inform us and other learners about it by leaving them in the comments section below. Please don’t forget to share and subscribe to the website. Thank you for reading.