So I wasn’t taught Twi. I only managed to pick up bits and pieces by listening closely to conversations being had around me. But for as long as I can remember, whenever I’ve been asked by uncles, aunties, or random older people who find out I’m Ghanaian, whether I can speak Twi or not, my response has always been, “I can understand it but I can’t speak it”. They respond with an “ooh okay” and then give me that meek Ghanaian smile and end the conversation. In that moment it’s hard not to feel only half Ghanaian, instead of the full Ghanaian I’d like to see myself as. A bond could have been developed between us but spoken English would not have been a sufficient agent. It’s easy to say that the outsider feeling is self-imposed but try interrupting two Ghanaians speaking Twi, flowing together, with English, and the palpable rupturing of the conversation says it all.
Whenever I’ve tried to speak Twi in the past, the person I’m speaking to would correct me, appreciate it, but only after they had finished laughing. It’s not their job to teach, but it’s a shame that some discourage.