Ghana Speak No.1 – Unless

There are many phrases and ways of saying things here in Ghana I thought I would put together a small explanation of some of them, just in case you were to visit!  Here is the first one!

The word ‘Unless’, according to the Pocket Oxford Dictionary it means: If not, except when.

It is used a lot here and can come under these forms;

  • Unless tomorrow – maybe tomorrow (so popular, I looked it up for this blog name, but it was already being used – to be honest wouldn’t have taken it, was just interested).  It is a much used saying and reflects the laid back attitude of the Ghanaians!  If they can’t do something at that moment and really don’t know when they can, or whether they can’t just be bothered it is ‘unless tomorrow’!
  • Unless I check – I don’t know until I check/I will check
  • Unless I ask – I don’t know without asking/I will ask
  • Unless Monday (put any day/date/month/year etc) Maybe I will find/get/have it on Monday. Often said in stores where they have run out of something, you ask when they will get it again, they answer ‘unless next week’ (or given day) etc.

Here is an example of ‘unless’ at work!

William, Delatu and Osmanu
The three Sabre drivers!

I was chatting to William, a driver who works for Sabre.  We were talking about his children, of which he has twin girls and a son.  I asked him how old his son was and he said, and I quote here ‘oh, I think seven or eight, unless I check’.  At the time I was more concerned that he had to check on his son’s age, but that is quite common here.  The women are almost wholly responsible for the children and most men would have a problem putting an age on their child.  Ok I generalise but it is common.  Often families live apart so the fact that he is happily married living with his wife is positive!

And finally:

This week we have mostly been cleaning window shutters ……..

Ochina! x


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