Ga belongs to the Ga-Dangme group of languages,
which consists of Ga plus the Dangme or Adangme language.
(Dangme in turn has several dialects, including Ada, Krobo and Shai.)
Accra is an Akan or Guang name, somewhat Europeanised. The Ga people call Accra, and themselves, ‘Ga’ [ gã ] *. Labadi originally meant a particular branch of the La people. Osu seems to be from an Akan word for ‘river’ (nsu) – Osudoku, or ‘old Osu’, is on the Volta river in Dangme-speaking country. Nungua apparently originated from ‘Ningo-wa’, meaning ‘small Ningo’. (Ningo is a Dangme-speaking town farther east, and ‘–wa’ is an Akan diminutive suffix.) The origins of the names of Chorkor, Teshie and Tema are not known. Although Teshie looks as though it could mean ‘under the rock’, it is not pronounced that way. Tema-Manhean [maŋheaŋ] means ‘Tema New Town’. Kpone (now pronounced [kpoŋ]) means ‘at a hill’.
-man, -mang: Many Ga town names are combinations of two nouns, in which the first noun is a man’s name and the second noun is maŋ (usually spelled ‘man’ or ‘mang’) which means ‘town’, for example Ashongman, Dansoman, Darkuman.
-shi, -shie: Some names consist of an ordinary noun plus a postposition, such as shĩ ‘underneath’, sometimes spelled ‘shie’. Examples are: Kaneshie [kane-shĩ] - ‘under the lamp’, Shiashi [shia-shĩ] - ‘under sand’, and Bawaleshi - ‘under the Bawale tree’. (Bawale was the name of a deity.)
-no: Another postposition is no [nɔ ] meaning ‘on top of’. The ɔ sound is commonly spelled ‘o’ in English. Examples are: Tesano [tɛ-saa-nɔ] - ‘on the flat rock’, Odorgonno [odɔ-gɔn-nɔ] - ‘on Odor’s (or Odaw’s) hill’, Korlegonno [kɔɔle-gɔn-nɔ] - ‘on Korle’s hill’, Sakumono [sakumo-nɔ] - ‘on the Sakumo (lagoon)’, Ajiringano [ajiri-ŋa-nɔ] - ‘on Ajiri’s field’. Odor and Korle are traditional deities, but Ajiri (a Twi name) was probably a person who farmed or had cattle in that area.
-naa: A few names end in naa meaning ‘mouth, edge’. They are usually connected with rivers, e.g. Odawnaa, ‘mouth of the Odaw river’, Faanaa ‘by the river’.
Several Ga place names come from other languages. These include names from Twi such as Mamprobi, meaning ‘royal mausoleum’, Mayera ‘I have got lost’, and Nkwantanan ‘four roads’ (crossroads). There are also names from Hausa such as Adabraka ‘blessing’, Tudu ‘hill’, Sabon Zongo ‘new camp’, and Madina ‘town’.
The names of most of the rivers and lagoons along the coast are also names of traditional deities, and have no known meaning. They include Sakumo, Chemu, Korle, Odaw [Odɔ].