Talensi or the Tallensi are people from Nothern Ghana who communicate using Gur language, which is a subdivision of Niger-Congo language family. The Talensi cultivate millet and Sorghum as their staple food. They also keep goats, sheep and cattle on their farms but on a small scale basis. These people have families that follow a polygamous structure where the man of the house lives with his sons in the same compound together with his unmarried daughters. Sometimes, this includes even the man's grandsons. The married daughters leave their fathers compound and go to live with their spouses.
The Talenis family structure follows a patrilineal system. These people bequeath a lot of significance on inheritance as well as the tension that exists between parents and their children. According to their cultures, it is very crucial for a man to have a son if he wants to be great and successful. This also will make it possible for him to make it to the list of respected ancestors after his death. Nonetheless, when a firstborn son is brought to life, or a daughter, though is a smaller extent, it marks the highest peak of the rise of a man in the universe as well as the beginning of his decline.
How do u say hello in Ghana? What is the most spoken language in Ghana? What is the first language of Ghana? Well, learn this and many more about Ghana and the people of Talensi here.
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Talensi basic phrases
The Talensi people communicate using the Talni language. This is a subdivision of the Gur language that is found under the broader Niger-Congo language phylum. While Gurune, Nankani, Booni, Talni, and Nab’t in combination with other languages are referred to as Frafra dialects, Nab’t and Talni would easily pass as dialects of Mampruli.
- Ne y beoogo - Good morning.
- Ne y wĩndga - Good afternoon.
- Mam yʋʋr la a Akwasi - My name is Akwasi.
- Ne y yungo - Good night.
- Wend na sõnsg laafi - Have a nice day.
Talensi interesting facts
What do you know about the Talensi people? Here are some of the interesting facts about what will get you up to speed with these group of people in Ghana.
- When the firstborn boy child reaches the age of five or six, he begins to be subjected to some taboos. These include the child is not permitted to eat from the same plate as his father, forbidden to wear the same cap as his father, not allowed to use his dad's bow. The son is also forbidden from meeting his father at the entrance of the compound, as soon as he turns adolescent.
- Somewhat similar taboos exist to limit the relationship of the mother and the firstborn daughter.
- When a father passes on, either his firstborn daughter or boy takes the lead of his burial celebrations and rituals. For the son, he is allowed to wear his father's cap or tunic during these proceedings. And in such a time, a tribal leader holds the dead man's bow as he leads the firstborn child into his father's granary or storage room and shows him everything.
- A son is considered man enough after the death of the father and gets responsible for conducting all the cultural rites, that include performing ceremonies to ancestors. Among these ancestors is their father, who is a recently deceased man; who is considered the middle man between the living and the hard to reach ancestors.
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- The Talensi believe in a sacred crocodile. These sacred crocodiles have a special place in the heart of the Talensi, and no man from this ethnic group would dare kill or harm the sacred crocodile. According to the Talensi, these crocodiles are the different forms of the reincarnated significant ancestors of their clans. Killing such a crocodile would be qualified as killing a person and would attract disaster for the entire clan.
- The Talensi's method of ancestral worship has attracted tourists from across the world in search with the aim of understanding their concept of worship. Their traditional worship of ancestors revolves around popular shrines that have led tourists to flow into their land in a bid to learn and understand their way of worship.
- Family land is inherited from father to son based on age or by generation.
- In Talensi, a divorce rarely happens. However, if the woman cheats by committing adultery, the marriage might break, forcing each party to head their separate ways.
- All things in Telansi are aligned to keep the balance between the dead ancestors and the secular lineage. According to the living, the ancestors constantly demand recognition for good things happening; thus they need to offer them blood sacrifice and libation.
- The Talensi community have gone to extreme lengths to preserve the Tongo-Tengzuk so as they can keep it for their future generations.
Talensi people have one of the best patrilineal family systems in Africa. These systems are well thought out and organized to meet the needs of the family quite well. As for their language, you can also learn a thing or two about it quickly as it is closely related to the languages of the Northern part of Ghana.