A Study of Parallel Proverbs in Akan (Twi) and Kiswahili
Dr. Ọbádélé Kambon and Dr. Josephine Dzahene-Quarshie
LAG 2015 ||| TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2015 ||| 8:30AM
KNUST ||| COLLEGE OF SCIENCE

TwiSwahili or KiswaTwili: A Study of Parallel Proverbs in Akan (Twi) and Kiswahili
Abstract
In Akan and Kiswahili, there are several proverbs that express the same underlying idea, oftentimes in the exact same or similar ways. Examples of these include:
1. a. Kikulacho kinguoni mwako
That which eats you (up) is in your clothing
b. Aboa bi bɛkawo a, naɛfiri wo ntoma mu
If a bug will bite you, it’s from in your cloth
2. a. Chakula chema hakihitaji kawa
Good food needs no coverlet against the flies.
b. Adepa tɔn ne ho
A good thing sells itself.
c. Nkyene nkamfo ne ho.
Salt does not praise itself.
There are several possible reasons why these parallel proverbs exist. In one line of thinking, the similarities may be due to contact phenomena such as shared cultural and/or historical experiences. Another perspective may be due to the demonstrably genetic relationship between Akan and Kiswahili languages. 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, these proverbs attest to a shared African worldview.