How to Tell the Time in Twi | The O’clocks Version

Having learned to count in Twi, and equipped yourself with our time-telling vocabulary, let’s now move on to see how to actually tell time in Twi. We begin with the o’clocks.

Video Lesson

The Twi term for ‘o’clock’ comes in two forms: there is the singular form dɔn, and the plural form nnɔn’. 

The singular form dɔn is ONLY used to tell 1 o’clock. From 2 o’clock, all the way up to 12 o’clock, we use the plural form nnɔn.

The following are the list of o’clocks in Twi.

dɔnko/dɔnkoroone (1) o’clock
nnɔnmienutwo (2) o’clock
nnɔnmiɛnsathree (3) o’clock
nnɔnnanfour (4) o’clock
nnɔnnumfive (5) o’clock
nnɔnsiasix (6) o’clock
nnɔnsonseven (7) o’clock
nnɔnwɔtweeight (8) o’clock
nnɔnkronnine (9) o’clock
nnɔnduten (10) o’clock
nnɔndubaakoeleven (11) o’clock
nnɔndumienutwelve (12) o’clock

Check out the parts that have been emboldened in the table above. Do they ring a bell? I hope they do. If not, go back to our lesson on how to count in Twi and check out the paragraph right before the tenth numbers (10, 20, 30, 40, 50… 100).

We’ve mentioned that to ask for the time in Twi, we ask “abɔ sɛn?“. Now, to tell the time, we simply follow “abɔ (it has struck)” with the current time. So by following abɔ with the o’clocks above, you will be saying, for example, it’s 1 o’clock, it’s 2 o’clock, it’s 3 o’clock, etc.

abɔ dɔnko/dɔnkoroit’s one (1) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnmienuit’s two (2) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnmiɛnsait’s three (3) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnnanit’s four (4) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnnumit’s five (5) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnsiait’s six (6) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnsonit’s seven (7) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnwɔtweit’s eight (8) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnkronit’s nine (9) o’clock
abɔ nnɔnduit’s ten (10) o’clock
abɔ nnɔndubaakoit’s eleven (11) o’clock
abɔ nnɔndumienuit’s twelve (12) o’clock

Lastly, to add a.m. or p.m., we just introduce the name of the time of day right before the o’clock. Find examples below:

abɔ awia dɔnkoit’s 1 p.m.
abɔ anwummerɛ nnɔnsiait’s 6 p.m.
abɔ anɔpa nnɔnsonit’s 7 a.m.
abɔ anɔpa nnɔnwɔtweit’s 8 a.m.
abɔ anadwo nnɔnduit’s 10 p.m.
prɛmo atoit’s midday; it’s noon

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STEPHEN AWIBA, known by his students as YAW, is the founding editor of LEARNAKAN.COM and LEARNAKANDICTIONARY.COM. He was born and raised in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital of Ghana, where Akan (Asante Twi) is spoken as the first language. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana and an MPhil in English Linguistics and Language Acquisition from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).


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