TwiSwahili Or KiswaTwili

A Study of Parallel Proverbs in Akan (Twi) And Kiswahili


  • Ọbádélé Bakari Kambon University of Ghana - Institute of African Studies
  • Josephine Dzahene-Quarshie University of Ghana - Department of Modern Languages



In Akan and Kiswahili, there are several proverbs that express the same underlying idea, oftentimes in the exact same or similar ways. There are several possible reasons why these parallel proverbs exist. In one line of thinking, the similarities may be due to contact phenomena facilitating shared cultural and/or historical experiences. Another perspective is that the similarities may be due to the demonstrably genetic relationship between Akan and Kiswahili as languages of the Niger-Congo phylum. In this study, however, we will examine these proverbs in parallel or near-parallel and demonstrate that regardless of the facts of the two aforementioned lines of inquiry, they attest to a shared African worldview and can be analyzed in terms of measured proximity and similarity.

Author Biographies

Ọbádélé Bakari Kambon, University of Ghana - Institute of African Studies

Ọbádélé Kambon completed his PhD in Linguistics at the University of Ghana in 2012 winning the prestigious Vice Chancellor's award for Best PhD Thesis. The article featured in this volume is the first of a series of collaborations comparing Akan (Twi) and Kiswahili proverbs; most recently including a presentation in October 2017 at SOLCON II given entirely in Twi entitled Ɔpɔ Ne Nteteɛ Pa Ho Hia Wɔ Akan Ne Kiswahili (KiswaTwili) Mmɛ Mu on manners and good upbringing as fixtures of parallel Akan and Kiswahili proverbs. He is interested in utilizing existing and developing new indigenous theoretical and conceptual frameworks to understand, describe, explain, classify, evaluate and predict African phenomena as manifested throughout the global African world. His website is

Josephine Dzahene-Quarshie, University of Ghana - Department of Modern Languages

Josephine Dzahene-Quarshie is a Senior Lecturer of Kiswahili. She holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her research interests and publications include topics on Syntax of Inalienable Possession, Language Contact phenomena between English and Kiswahili and also other African languages, and Language in education Policies in Africa,  as well as other Sociolinguistic topics such as the globalization, globalization and localization of popular culture genres in Africa.

Kambon and Dzahene-Quarshie Thumbnail




How to Cite

Kambon, O. B., & Dzahene-Quarshie, J. (2017). TwiSwahili Or KiswaTwili: A Study of Parallel Proverbs in Akan (Twi) And Kiswahili. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 6(2), 116–153.

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