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So far, we have learnt about Akan (Twi) nouns, how to form their plurals, and how to join words, phrases, clauses and sentences together using a number of Akan (Twi) conjunctions. Now let’s turn our attention to Twi verbs. After all, we’ll need these if we intend forming complete sentences.
What is a Verb? | Adeyɔ ne Deɛn?
I’m sure you know what a verb is, but just so we are on the same page, let’s quickly borrow the Cambridge online dictionary’s definition of the term. The dictionary defines a verb as a word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience. In other words, verbs are those ‘activity’ words that signal actions and states of being. Examples include “to (throw)”, “nya (get)”, “soa (carry)”, “pra (sweep)”, etc.
Types of Verbs
From the definition of verbs above, we can deduce two main types: action verbs and stative verbs (state of being verbs).
In English, there is a third category of verbs known as helping verbs (auxiliary verbs). As its name suggests, helping verbs do not stand on their own in sentences; they typically help other main verbs to express grammatical tense, aspect, mood, and voice.
Examples of helping verbs are in bold and italicized in the following set of examples; the main verbs directly follow them.
1. I will come to your house.
2. He was made king.
3. I have eaten the food.
In Twi, fortunately for us, grammatical indications such as tense and aspect are done by way of inflections on the verbs and not as separate words (helping verbs). Let’s look at examples 1 – 3 above in Twi. The tense/aspect markers are in bold, italicized and underlined.
4. Mɛba wo fie (I will come to your house).
5. Wɔsii no hene (They made (enstooled) him king).
6. Madi aduane no (I have eaten the food).
Since the function of helping verbs are achieved by way of tense and aspect markers on the verbs and not as separate words, we will only look at the two (other) main types of verbs: action and stative verbs.
Action verbs express physical and mental actions. You need an action verb if you’d like to talk about someone or something doing something, be it physical or mental.
Examples of action verbs in Twi include “soa (carry)”, “popa (clean)”, “pagya (lift)”, “dwene (think, actively)”, “pia (push)”, “noa (cook)”, “bɔ (kick)”, etc. Click here to read more about Twi action verbs, and to check out more examples of same.
7. Menoa aduane
I cook food
8. Dwene wo ho.
Think about yourself
9. Pagya adaka no.
Lift the box.
10. Kofi soaa akonnwa no.
Kofi carried the chair.
11. Kwadwo, bɔ bɔɔlo no.
Kwadwo, kick the ball.
As opposed to action verbs above, stative verbs do not express actions; they express states of being. Twi examples include “hunu (see)”, “wɔ (have, possession)”, “te (hear)”, “dɔ (love)”, etc. For more on Twi stative verbs, click here.
12. Ama dɔ no.
Ama loves him/her.
13. Mehunuu Akosua.
I saw Akosua.
14. Ɔte deɛ mereka no.
He/she hears what I’m saying.
15. Mewɔ asomdwoeɛ.
I have peace.
Our next two lessons will be dedicated to exploring in little more detail the two main verb types introduced above. If you found this lesson useful, do spread the word. You may start by sharing our lessons on the various social media platforms.
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