Minimasthead

GLOSSARY OF NON-ENGLISH TERMS USED IN "AMA"



aban

Akan: palace

abosom

Akan: minor deities (singular: obosom)

abusua Akan: family, kindred, relatives, especially on the mother's side (plural: mmusua)
ackie

Asante unit of weight for gold dust; one sixteenth of a ounce; see peredwan

adae

Akan: festival day; see akwasidae

adowa

Asante dance

adwma o!

Akan: greeting to a person at work

adwma y

Akan: reply to the greeting adwma o! (literally work is good)

aggrey beads

coloured glass beads of uncertain origin, greatly valued in parts of West Africa

agg

Brazil: percussion instrument, consisting of two hollow iron cones, beaten with an iron rod

go

Akan: greeting on entering a house (is anybody there?); see m

Languages Akan

group of closely related languages including Asante, Fanti and Akuapem Twi

akoa

Akan: subject; used here as pawn; see donko below

akpeteshie

Akan (borrowed?): alcoholic beverage (usually distilled from palm wine)

akraf

Akan: male slaves (singular: okra) favoured by their master and destined to accompany and serve him in the next world

akwasidae

Asante festival celebrated  every sixth Sunday in which the Asantehene offers food and drink to the ancestral stools.

Alafin

ruler of Oyo

Ali Makeri

Hausa blacksmith who settled at Yendi around 1730

alu

m  

Akan: reply to go; (come in!)

amp

Akan: precisely; indeed

amp?

Akan: is that so? really?

Ananse

Spider-man; trickster hero of Asante folklore

anansesem

Akan: folklore; stories concerning Ananse

Angola Janga

see Palmares

Asante

West African kingdom and empire with its capital at Kumase; its people; its language. The founding states of the Asante confederation were: Kumase, Asumegya, Kumawu, Mampon, Offinso, Nsuta, Kokofu and Bekwae

Asante Kotoko, kum apem, apem beba

Asante war-cry: Asante porcupine: kill a thousand; a thousand will come.

Asantehemaa

Akan: queen-mother of Asante; leading female royal (but note: not necessarily the mother of the Asantehene)

Asantehene

Akan: king of Asante

Asanteman-hyiamu

Akan: assembly of the Asante nation

Asase Yaa

Akan:  female spirit of the earth (Thursday born)

ase ase ayo

Akan: Horn call of Koranten Pte. Literally it has been said, it has been said, it has been done

Asen, Akyem and Akuapem

Akan states, tributary to Asante and often in a state of rebellion

Asen-Praso

town on the Pra river at the southern border of the Asante heartland

Askia the Great

Askia Muhammad;  ruler of the Songhai Empire c.1493-1528

atumpan

Akan: royal talking drum of Asante

awura

Akan: lady

babalorix, babaloris

Yoruba: traditional priest

baeta

Port.: baize

bali

facial incision

baobab

tree of the African savanna (Adansonia digitata)

batakari

Akan: heavy cotton smock worn by men in northern Ghana; war-dress

bat

drum

Bedagbam

Bekpokpam name for Dagomba

Bekpokpam

a people of north-eastern Ghana, also known as Konkomba

Benekpib

Bekpokpam spirits of the bush

bloody flux

diarrhoea

boal

Brazil: slave recently arrived from Africa and as yet unbaptized

Bosom Tweneboa

deity of the people of Edina

bra

Akan: come

Bremanhene

Akan: king of Breman

Bron

a people living to the north-west of the Asante heartland

Cabindas

slaves from Cabinda in West Africa

caboceer

Port.: West African chief or elder

cabra

Brazil: half African, half Tupi

cachaa

Brazil: cheap rum distilled from sugar waste or molasses

cadeira

Brazil: curtained sedan chair

casa grande

Brazil: mansion, home of the senhor de engenho

cassia

tropical tree

chocalho

Brazil: musical instrument; similar to xaque-xaque but with a swelling at one end only

civet

nocturnal African mammal of the family Viverridae. Also called civet cat

civet perfume

musky perfume extracted from anal scent glands of the civet cat

Classis

supervisory board of the Dutch Reformed Church in Amsterdam

conta de terra

type of bead

cowrie

Indian Ocean shell formerly used as a currency in West Africa

Crioulo

Brazil: creole; African slave born in Brazil

Dagbon

country of the Dagomba

Dagomba

a people of northern Ghana (and their language)

dawa-dawa

tree of the African savanna

Denkyira

Akan state conquered by Asante

doek

head cloth

donko, odonko

slave from Asante's northern hinterland (plural nnonkofoo)


(entry in Christaller, Rev. J. G, Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language called Tshi (Twi), Second Edition, Basel, 1933 and see Languages

Edina

West African coastal town; site of Elmina Castle

Elmina Castle

slave-trading castle built by the Portuguese at Edina in 1482-86

engenho

Brazil: sugar mill, or plantation

Engenho de Cima

Upper Plantation

Engenho do Meio

Middle Plantation

enstool

elevate to the stool, i.e. install as king (amongst the Akans)

Escravos - Arago

Brazil: Arago's slave shop.

Fanti

West African Akan people; their states; their language

feitor-mor

Brazil: general manager

fly-whisk

tool made from the tail of an elephant or a cow, used to keep flies off the head of an important person

fontomfrom

Akan: talking drum

fufu

Akan: West African food made by pounding yam or plantain

gameleira branca

Brazilian tree (ficus doliaria martius) used by West African slaves for worship as a substitute for the iroko (odum) and nsanda.

Ganga-zumba

King of Palmares

garapa

Brazil: cheap rum distilled from sugar waste or molasses.

Golden Stool

(Akan: sika dwa) symbol of the unity of the Asante state

Gonja

a people living to the north of Asante; their country; their language

gonje

African stringed instrument

Grumah

state in northern Ghana

guinea corn

sorghum

guiney bird

slave newly arrived from Africa

harmattan

dry wind which blows from the Sahara across West Africa accompanied by a dusty haze

Hausa

people of the West African savanna; their country; their language

Ijebu cloth

cloth manufactured in the Yoruba area of Nigeria

Imam

Muslim cleric

irmandade

Brazil: fraternal organization within the Catholic church

Kambonse

Dagbon name for the Asante; also Dagbon musketeers

Kano

Hausa town in Nigeria

Katsina

Hausa town in Nigeria

kenkey

Ga: boiled maize-bread (=Akan: odokono)

kente

Akan: multi-coloured cotton or silk cloth hand-woven in strips

Kokofu

Asante state and its capital

Kokofuhene

king of Kokofu

kokoko

Akan: greeting giving notice of approach; knocking

kola, kola nut

reddish, fragrant, nutlike seed of tropical African evergreen plant

Konadu-krom

Konadu's town or village. Village named after Konadu.

Kongos

slaves from the Kongo in West Africa

Konkomba

see Bekpokpam

Kse

Akan: expression of sympathy. Sorry.

Kpembe

Gonja capital

Kpembewura

title of the Gonja king

Kpugnumbu

character in Dagomba history

Kumbong-Na

commander of the Royal Dagomba Archers

ladino

Brazil: slave who has been baptized and who understands Portuguese

lagarto

Brazil: large lizard

lobishomem

Brazil: werewolf-like creature of folklore

loofah

vegetable washing sponge

Maame

Akan?: term of respect used in addressing an elder woman

malam

Muslim teacher

malungo

Brazil: slave who was a fellow-traveller on a slave ship

Mampon

Asante state and its capital

Mamponhemaa

queen-mother of Mampon

Mamponhene

king of Mampon

Mamprusi

people of northern Ghana

Mande

people of the upper Niger river valley; their language

Manso

Fanti town where there was a large slave market

massap

Brazil: heavy clay soil suitable for the cultivation of sugar

mat

Brazil: tea-like beverage

milris

Brazil: unit of currency = one thousand reals

Mina

Brazil: slave from the West African Gold Coast or Slave Coast

Misericrdia

Brazil: Charitable Brotherhood of the Holy House of Mercy

mm yek

Akan: let's go

mmoatia

Akan: mythical dwarfs reputed to live in the forest (sing. aboatia))

mmusua Akan: plural of abusua, q.v. Families
mnsor

Akan: plural imperative of sor, get up.

Mossi, Moshi

People of Burkina Faso and northern Ghana

Na

title of Dagomba king

Na Gariba

Dagomba king

Na Gbewa

Dagomba king

Na Yagasi

Dagomba king

Nag

Brazil: Yoruba

Nakpali

Dagomba frontier town

Nana

Grandfather/grandmother; title of respect for an Akan chief or elder; plural: nananom, ancestors

Nanumba

people of northern Ghana

nsanda

Ki-Kongo: West African tree, often sacred.

Nsuta

One of the founding states of Asante

odum

Akan: West African tree, often sacred. (Yoruba: iroko)

odwira

Yam festival

ohemmaa

Akan: queen-mother

ohene

Akan: king

oheneba

Akan: royal prince; son of a king

okmf

Akan: priest

okro mouth

a gossip

olaria

Brazil: pottery

omankyeame

Akan: royal spokesman

onyame-dua

Akan: god's tree; household shrine

Onyankopon Kwame

Akan: God (Saturday born)

Onyankopon Kwame, Asase Yaa, nananom, agyanom, enanom


Akan: God, Spirit of the earth, ancestral spirits, fathers, mothers.

oponko

Akan: horse

osofo

Akan: priest

Oti

river in north-east Ghana

oware

Akan: a board game.

Owner of the Land

traditional priest

palanquin

a covered litter carried on poles on the shoulders of two or four men.
Ceremonial vehicle for an Akan king.

Palmares

Os Palmares; Angola Janga; famous seventeenth century quilombo in Brazil

peredwan

Asante unit of weight for gold dust; 36 ackies; two and a quarter ounces; see ackie

pini do

Akan: shift up, make room

pito

alcoholic drink made from fermented corn

Predikant

Dutch: preacher

quilombo

Brazil: colony of escaped slaves

Recncavo

Brazil: sugar growing region in Bahia

sa

Akan: so, thus

safra

Brazil: sugar harvest season

sanko, osanku

Akan: stringed musical instrument

sasabonsam

Akan: mythical ogre of the forest

senhor de engenho

Brazil: master of the sugar mill; owner of a sugar plantation

sese

Akan: West African tree used for carving

senzala

Brazil: slave cabin, hovel

Shang

Yoruba deity: deified fourth king of Oyo

shea butter

fat obtained from the seeds of the shea tree, used as food, for illumination, for cosmetic purposes and for making soap.

Simbew

Fanti town famous for its slave market

skin

symbol of office of a king in many states of northern Ghana

stool

Akan symbol of royal office

Tano

River in Ghana; name of the spirit which lives in the river

tarefa

Brazil: daily task; standard plot of sugar cane

Tempu

Kongo deity

Tindan Na

Guardian of the Land; Bekpokpam priest

Tohajie

semi-mythical ancestor of the Dagomba

tokoo

Asante unit of weight for gold dust; one-sixth of an ackie

Tolon-Na

Commander-in-Chief of the Dagomba King's army

Tsetse

bloodsucking African flies which transmit sleeping sickness to livestock; particularly virulent in the forest zone

tweapea

Akan: stick used to clean one's teeth; the tree from which it is cut

wofa

Akan: maternal uncle; term of respect for an older man

xaque-xaque

Brazil: hollow metal instrument shaped like a dumb bell, with pebbles in each swollen extremity

Ya Na Sitobu

Dagomba king Sitobu

Yendi

Dagomba capital

Yendi-Na

Dagbon: king of Yendi

Zabzugu

Dagomba frontier town

Zamfara

Nigerian town where the Dagomba stayed during their migration to Ghana

Zangina

Dagomba king

Zaria

Hausa town

zongo

suburb of an Akan town inhabited by people from the north or Muslims

Zuarangu

town in northern Ghana

Zumbi

commanding officer of the army of Palmares