Please enable JS

Languages Overview

Ghanaian Languages

The official language is ENGLISH.

A: GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED LANGUAGES

Languages Location
1 AKAN (Ashanti, Fante, Akuapem, Akyem, Kwahu) (Written Twi)
2 DAGAARE / WAALE Spoken in Upper Western Region (UWR)
3 DANGBE Spoken in Greater Accra.(G/A)
4 DAGBANE Spoken in Northern Region (NR)
5 EWE Spoken in Volta Region (VR)
6 GA Spoken Greater Accra Region (G/A)
7 GONJA Spoken in Northern Region (NR)
8 KASEM Spoken in Upper Eastern Region (UER)
9 NZEMA Spoken in Western Region (WR)

B: NON-GOVERNMENT SPONSORED LANGUAGES

Languages Location
1 ADELE Spoken in VR (Tutukpene &Nkwanta)
2 ANUFO/CHOKOSI Spoken in NR (Chereponi)
3 BULI Spoken in UER (Sandema)
4 BIMOBA Spoken in NR (Bunkpurugu)
5 BIRIFOR Spoken in UWR & NR(Bilema & Danvar)
6 BASSARI Spoken in UWR & NR(Bilema & Danvar)
7 CHUMBURUNG Spoken in NR & VR (Ekumdipe)
8 FRAFRA Spoken in UER (Bolgatanga)
9 GIKYODE/AKYODE Spoken in VR (Shiare)
10 HANGA Spoken in NR
11 KONKOMBA Spoken in NR (Saboba)
12 KUSAAL Spoken in UER (Bawku)
13 KASEM Spoken in UER (Navrongo)
14 KOMA Spoken in UER (Yipabongo)
15 BUEM/ LELEM Spoken in VR (Jasikan & Bodada)
16 MAMPRULI Spoken in NR (NALERIGU)
17 MO/ DEG Spoken in B/A&NR (New Longoro & Bole Dist.)
18 NAFAANRA Spoken in B/A (Banda Ahenkro)
19 NKONYA Spoken in ) VR (Akloba & Wurupong
20 NTRUBO / DELO Spoken in VR (Pusupu)
21 NAWURI Spoken in NR (Kitare)
22 SISAALA Spoken in UWR (Tumu)
23 TAMPULMA Spoken in NR
24 VAGLA Spoken in NR
25 WALI Spoken in UWR

Dialect names

FANTE (FANTI, MFANTSE), AKUAPEM (AKWAPEM TWI, AKUAPIM, AKWAPI), ASANTE (ASHANTE TWI, ASANTI, ACHANTI), AGONA, DANKYIRA, ASEN, AKYEM BOSOME, KWAWU, AHAFO

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Nyo, Potou-Tano, Tano, Central, Akan

Geographical region

The Asante are south central, Ashanti Province. The Akuapem are southeast, in areas north of Accra. The Fante are south central, between Winneba, Takoradi, and Obuasi

Population

7,000,000 (1991 WA); 44% of the population (1990 WA); 1,380,000 Asante Twi; 1,170,000 Fante; 230,000 Akuapem Twi (1978 SIL)

Bible printings

1871-1964

New Testament printings

1863-1981

Printings of whole books of Bible

1859-1957

Remarks

Dialects are largely inherently intelligible. The language of the Asante and Akuapem is called 'Twi'. An official literary language used for education through university, and in mother tongue authored literature. Roman alphabet

Grammar typology

SVO

Total speakers

7,000,000

DAGAARI, SOUTHERN (Ghana)
Alternate language names
SOUTHERN DAGARI, DAGARI, DAGARA, DEGATI, DAGATI, DOGAARI

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Northwest, Dagaari-Birifor, Dagaari

Geographical region

Northwest corner

Population

423,200 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

Printings of whole books of Bible

1970

Remarks

The people are called 'Dagaaba'. The language is spoken by all ages. Dagaari and Birifor are partially intelligible; Dagaari is more prominent politically and socially. It is an official literary language with Wali. It is distinct from Northern Dagaari in Burkina Faso

Total speakers

423,200

Religion

70% traditional religion, 30% Muslim

DAGBANI (Ghana)
Alternate language names
DAGBANE, DAGOMBA, DAGBAMBA

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Northwest, Dagaari-Birifor, Dagaari

Dialect names

NANUNI (NANUMBA)

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Southeast

Geographical region

Northeast around Tamale and as far as Yendi. Also in Togo - settlers

Population

504,100 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

New Testament printings

1935-1955

Remarks

The people are called 'Dagbamba' or 'Dagomba', the language 'Dagbani'. 90% lexical similarity with Talni, 89% with Kusal. An official literary language. 2% literate

Grammar typology

SVO

Total speakers

504,100 or more

Religion

Muslim 60%, traditional religion 39%, Christian 1%

ENGLISH (Ghana)

Genetic affiliation

Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English

Primary country of language

United Kingdom

Population

Second language speakers: 1,000,000 (1977 Voegelin and Voegelin); 450,000,000 total (1991 WA)

National language

Yes

GA-ADANGME-KROBO
Alternate language names
AMINA, GAIN, ACCRA, ACRA

Dialect names

GA, ADANGME (ADANGBE, DANGME, DANGBE), KROBO

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Nyo, Ga-Dangme

Geographical region

Southeast, coast around Accra and inland. Also in Togo

Population

1,125,900 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 8% of the population (1990 WA)

Remarks

Ga and Adangme are separate official literary languages. Ga is the major language of Accr=A0, the capital

Grammar typology

SVO

Total speakers

1,125,900 Also in Togo

Religion

Muslim 60%, traditional religion 39%, Christian 1%

GURENNE
Alternate language names
FRAFRA, FAREFARE

Dialect names

GUDENI (GUDENNE, GURENNE, GURUNE), NAANI (NANKANI, NANKANSE),BOONI, TALNI, NABT

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Southeast

Geographical region

Northeast around Bolgatanga (Bolgatanga District) and Navrongo

Population

526,300 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC) including 400,000 in the Upper East Region, perhaps 100,000 in various towns and cities in other regions (1988 SIL); 25,100 in Burkina Faso (1991 Vanderaa);551,400 total

Remarks

They call themselves 'Gurunsi' and their language 'Farefare' or 'Frafra'. The dialects are named after towns or localities. They consider Mampruli, Kusaal, and Dagaati to be sister languages. Nabt and Talni may be considered dialects of Mampruli. 5 major dialects and many minor ones. Taught at the University of Ghana.
Dictionary in progress

Total speakers

551,400

Religion

90% traditional religion, 8% Christian, 2% Muslim Also in Burkina Faso

GONJA (Ghana)
Alternate language names
NGBANYITO

Dialect names

GONJA, CHORUBA (CHOROBA), DUMPO (NDMPO)

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Nyo, Potou-Tano,Tano, Guang, North Guang

Geographical region

West central, around the Upper Volta River

Population

138,500 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

Remarks

It is not intelligible with Chumburu. An official literary language

Total speakers

138,500

Religion

Muslim 98%, Christian 2%

GUA
Alternate language names
NGBANYITO

Dialect names

LARTEH-CHEREPON-ANUM-BOSO

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Nyo, Potou-Tano,Tano, Guang, Southern Guang

Geographical region

Anum: a pocket in Ewe area, Lete and Chiripon: a pocket between Ga and Twi areas

Population

156,200; 54,000 Cherepon; 36,000 Larteh; 30,000 Anum (1988 GILLBT)

Bilingual in

Akan

Status

Needs survey

Remarks

Speakers of all dialects use Twi (Akan) as second language Religion

Total speakers

156,200

HAUSA (Ghana)

Genetic affiliation

Afro-Asiatic, Chadic, West, A, A.1

Primary country of language

Nigeria

Geographical region

Mainly in Nigeria. Also in Niger, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Chad,Sudan, Burkina Faso

Population

22,000,000 total (1991); 35,000,000 first and second language speakers total (1991 WA)

Trade language

Yes

Status

Needs survey

Remarks

The trade language of northern Ghana

Religion

Muslim

KONKOMBA (Ghana)
Alternate language names
LIKPAKPALN, KPANKPAM, KOM KOMBA

Dialect names

LICHABOOL-NALONG, LIMONKPEL, LINAFIEL, LIKOONLI, LIGBELN

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Gurma

Geographical region

Northeast border area around Guerin, Yendi District, and into Togo. Many groups are scattered throughout north central Ghana

Population

220,000 in Ghana (1992 GILLBT); 50,100 in Togo (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 250,000 total

Bilingual in

Twi, Bassari, Hausa, English

Remarks

'Likpakpaln' is the self name for the language, 'Bikpakpaln' for the people. Patrilineal, patrilocal

Subsistence type

Agriculturalists: yams

Total speakers

250,000

Religion

60% traditional religion, 25% Muslim, 15% Christian Also in Togo

KUSAAL, EASTERN (Ghana)
Alternate language names
KUSALE, KUSASI

Dialect names

ANGOLE, TOENDE

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central,Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Southeast, Kusaal

Geographical region

Northeast corner, Bawku District

Population

400,000 (1992 GILLBT)

Bilingual in

Hausa

Remarks

Dialects are inherently intelligible. Distinct from Western Kusaal of Burkina Faso. Kusasi are the people, Kusaal is the language. 2% literate

Total speakers

400,000

Religion

Traditional religion 88%, Muslim 7.5%, Christian 4.5%

MAMPRULI (Ghana)
Alternate language names
MAMPRULE, MANPELLE, NGMAMPERLI

Dialect names

NABT (NABNAM, NAMNAM, NABDAM, NABDE, NABIT, NABTE, NABDUG, NABRUG), TALNI (TALENSI, TALANSI, TALENE, TALLENSI)

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central,Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Southeast

Geographical region

East and west of Gambaga. Talni is north central, around Tongo.Some in Togo

Population

226,800 Mamprusi (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

Bilingual in

Gurenne, Bimoba, Bissa

Status

Work in progress

Remarks

The people are called 'Mamprusi'. The speakers of Talni are 'Talensi'. 50% intelligibility with Dagbani. Some people are bilingual in Gurenne, Bimoba, or Bissa

Total speakers

226,800 or more

Religion

60% traditional religion, 35% Muslim Also in Togo

MOORE (Ghana)
Alternate language names
MOSSI, MORE, MOLE, MOSHI

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Northwest

Primary country of language

Burkina Faso

Geographical region

Mainly in Burkina Faso. Also in Benin and Cte d'Ivoire

Population

4,700,000 total or more (1991); 19,700 in Togo (1991); 17,000 in Mali (1980)

Bilingual in

Gurenne, Bimoba, Bissa

Status

Work in progress

Remarks

Have come to Ghana to work

Religion

Traditional religion, Muslim

NZEMA (Ghana)
Alternate language names
NZIMA, APPOLO

Genetic affiliation

Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Nyo, Potou-Tano,Tano, Central, Bia, Southern

Geographical region

Southwest corner and into Cte d'Ivoire

Population

285,800 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 46,500 in Cte d'Ivoire(1991); 332,300 total

Bilingual in

Fante

Status

Work in progress

Remarks

An official literary language

Religion

Traditional religion

Total speakers

332,300 Also in Cote dIvoire

ABRON

606,600 in Ghana (1991); 114,600 in Cte d'Ivoire (1991); 791,200 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

ADELE

9,500 in Ghana (1991); 7,000 in Togo (1991); 16,500 total (1991 L. Vanderaa 1991)

AHANTA

97,200 (1991 L. Vanderaa 1991)

AKAN

7,000,000 (1991 WA); 44% of the population (1990 WA); 1,380,000 Asante Twi; 1,170,000 Fante; 230,000 Akuapem Twi (1978 SIL)

AKPAFU-LOLOBI

16,100 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

AKPOSO

5,400 in Ghana (1991); 94,900 in Togo (1991); 100,300 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

ANIMERE

2,000 (1988 GILLBT)

ANUFO

30,700 in Ghana (1991); 41,800 in Togo (1991); 10,000 in Benin (1991); 82,500 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

ANYIN

122,800 in Ghana (1991); 487,900 in Cte d'Ivoire (1991); 610,700 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

AVATIME

11,600 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

AWUTU

100,000 (1988 GILLBT)

BIMOBA

73,700 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

BIRIFOR, GHANA

63,200 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

BISSA

119,100 in Ghana (1991 Vanderaa); 400,000 in Burkina Faso (1991 SIL); 50,000 emigrants in Cte d'Ivoire; 3,000 in Togo (1991 SIL); 572,100 total

BOWIRI

10,000 (1988 GILLBT)

BULI

100,000 in Ghana, including 80,000 in the Sandema District (1991 SIL); possibly 60,000 in Burkina Faso; 160,000 total possibly

CHAKALI

4,000 (1988 GILLBT)

CHALA

2,000 (1988 GILLBT)

CHUMBURUNG

40,000 (1992 GILLBT), including 2,000 Yeji

DAGAARI, SOUTHERN

423,200 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

DAGBANI

504,100 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

DEG

17,200 in Ghana (1991); 1,100 in Cte d'Ivoire (1991); 18,300 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

DELO

5,100 in Ghana (1991); 5,000 in Togo (1991); 10,100 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

DWANG

10,000 (1988 GILLBT)

ENGLISH

Second language speakers: 1,000,000 (1977 Voegelin and Voegelin); 450,000,000 total (1991 WA)

EWE

1,615,700 in Ghana (1991); 13% of the population (1990 WA); 861,900 in Togo (1991); 2,477,600 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 3,000,000 including second language users (1991 WA)

FULFULDE, MAASINA

7,300 in Ghana (1991); 610,000 total

GA-ADANGME-KROBO

1,125,900 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 8% of the population (1990 WA)

GHANAIAN SIGN LANGUAGE

GIKYODE

10,000 speakers, 8,000 in the traditional area (1991 SIL)

GONJA

138,500 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

GUA

156,200; 54,000 Cherepon; 36,000 Larteh; 30,000 Anum (1988 GILLBT)

GURENNE

526,300 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC) including 400,000 in the Upper East Region, perhaps 100,000 in various towns and cities in other regions (1988 SIL); 25,100 in Burkina Faso (1991 Vanderaa); 551,400 total

HANGA

5,000 including 3,000 in the traditional area, 2,000 elsewhere (1992 GILLBT)

HAUSA

22,000,000 total (1991); 35,000,000 first and second language speakers total (1991 WA)

JWIRA-PEPESA

17,500 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

KABIYE

520,000 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 489,200 in Togo (1991 Vanderaa); 1,200,000 including second language speakers (1991 UBS)

KANTOSI

2,000 possibly in Ghana, including 200 to 300 in Sandema District, possibly 1,000 in Kpaliwongo (1991 P. and N. Schaefer SIL)

KASEM

80,000 in Ghana (1990 SIL); 100,000 in Burkina Faso (1990 SIL); 180,000 total (1990 SIL)

KONKOMBA

220,000 in Ghana (1992 GILLBT); 50,100 in Togo (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 250,000 total

KONNI

2,600 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

KPLANG

7,700 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

KRACHE

60,000 (1988 GILLBT)

KULANGO, BONDOUKOU

10,000 in Ghana (1991); 81,600 in Cte d'Ivoire (1991); 91,600 total (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

KULANGO, BOUNA

15,500 in Ghana (1991); 155,000 in Cte d'Ivoire (1991); 170,500 total

KUSAAL, EASTERN

400,000 (1992 GILLBT)

LELEMI

30,570 (1988 SIL)

LIGBI

10,000in Ghana (1988 GILLBT); 4,000 in Cte d'Ivoire (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 14,000 total

LOGBA

5,000 (1988 SIL)

MAMPRULI

226,800 Mamprusi (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

MOORE

4,700,000 total or more (1991); 19,700 in Togo (1991); 17,000 in Mali (1980)

NAFAANRA

45,000 (1992 GILLBT)

NAWDM

(112,000 in Togo)

NAWURI

13,900 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

NCHUMBULU

1,300 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC

NKONYA

20,000 (1988 GILLBT)

NTCHAM

100,000 total (1992 SIL); 62,300 in Togo (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

NYANGBO

3,900 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

NZEMA

285,800 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 46,500 in Cte d'Ivoire (1991); 332,300 total

PASAALA

50,000, with 25,000 Pasaali, 25,000 Gilbagala (1991 GILLBT)

SAFALIBA

4,000 (1988 GILLBT)

SEHWI

150,000 total (1988 GILLBT)

SEKPELE

15,000 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

SELE

6,000 (1988 GILLBT)

SISAALA, TUMULUNG

121,200 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

SISAALA, WESTERN

20,000 (1988 GILLBT)

TAFI

2,900 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

TAMPULMA

35,000 (1992 GILLBT)

TEM

300,000 total (1987 SIL); 75,000 in Benin (1978 MARC); 156,446 in Togo (1981 census)

VAGLA

10,000 in Ghana (1992 GILLBT); 37 in Cte d'Ivoire (1975 census); 10,000 total

WALI

99,100 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)

WASA

175,000 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC)