Glide Over “r” in Certain Twi Words and Constructions | Twi Phonology

Quite often, you hear learners of Twi pronounce certain words and phrases just as written. Like any other world language, however, there are phonological conventions to guide speakers of Twi, and ensure a smooth, natural flow.

For instance, there are certain Twi words and phrases which contain the letter ‘r’, but we tend not to pronounce the /r/ sound that they represent when we say them. What we do instead is to (sort of) slide over the ‘r’ with the vowels that come right before them. It is this set of words/phrases that we are looking at in today’s lesson.

Do note that you would not necessarily be wrong to say them as written (with the /r/ sound), and it is possible to hear some of them being pronounced as such by some Twi speakers. In my experience, however, I find that we tend to say the underlisted words/phrases without the /r/ in most natural communicative situations.

I highly suggest that you play the embedded video lesson below to hear exactly how the entries would sound in natural speech.

Video Lesson

ENTRYENGLISHPRONOUNCED
obiaraeveryone; everybody/obiaa/
(e)biaraany/(e)biaa/
biribisomething/biibi/
biribiaraeverything/biibiaa/
saa arajust like that/saa/
sei arajust like this/seiaa; seyiaa/
pa aravery/paa/
ɔno ara(he/she) himself/herself/ɔnoaa/
nko araalone; only/nkoaa/
barimaman; male/bææma/

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Tikya Yaw
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