The importance of greetings in daily life can
hardly be overstated. Learning how to greet is an important part of learning
how to function in Akan society and how to establish and maintain personal
Therefore: Pay full attention to details of greeting
rituals in this and the following dialogues and drill sessions.
In this session, we practice the initial exchange
of greetings between two individuals or groups of individuals. Observe
the following points:
1. Who greets first? Generally, the younger person greets
first. Alternatively, the person who enters a room or joins a group will
be the one to greet first.
2. Gestures: Usually one shakes hands.If several
people are involved in the greeting, handshakes proceed from right to left.
3. Different formulas are used according to time of day
for initiating the greeting.
4. Use the correct address formula! Never just say
/ Maahæé. / Maadwoá.".
With a younger person, a colleague or friend, you
may use the person's name, e.g.: "Kwadwoá,
maakyø.é / AÁmmaá, maadwoá."
In all other cases, you must use the appropriate
title of respect, for instance:
maakyøé". "AÁgyaà, maakyøé" (for
men older than EGO), "Awuraáa,
maakyøé" or "ÑÁnaà,
maakyøé" (for women older than EGO).
A person of one's own generation and social standing
may be addressed as onuaá"brother/sister".
Response to a greeting: The standard response to an
initial greeting is Yaa
at any time of the day. But note that the correct address term is an obligatory
part of the response formula:
(Note that the normal low-high tone sequence on
following the response particle yaa
becomes high-low in the address form: Yaa,
aágyaà. / Yaa, ñánaà.
|Important note: After the
initial exchange of greetings, do not at once broach the subject or simply
go your way! Inquiring about the other person's health and well-being is
part and parcel of the normal greeting interaction in Akan and, indeed,
in most African societies.
-> Inquiry about well-being (->1.4)
-> Saying goodbye (2.2)
-> More greetings (4.1)