Akan (Twi)

About Akan (Twi)

Introduction to Akan Language

The Akan language belongs to the Kwa group of the Niger Congo phylum. Akan has unique linguistic features such as vowel harmony, tonal language, and nasalization.

Most Akan speakers reside in Ghana. Native Akan speakers makeup over 40 percent of the country’s population, or 22 million people. Ghana is a multilingual country, meaning that most people speak at least two languages. When taking this into account, nearly 80 percent of Ghanaians (of 54 million people) speak Akan as a first or a second language. Akan is spoken in the Western, Central, Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo regions and the northern portion of the Volta region in Ghana. These regions make up the southern two-thirds of the country. Outside of Ghana, Akan is also spoken in eastern Ivory Coast and central Togo.

Introduction to Twi Dialect

Twi is a dialect of the Akan language (see figure below) spoken mostly by people in the Central, Eastern, Ashanti, and Brong-Ahafo regions of Ghana and the eastern parts of Ivory Coast. Asante Twi is the most spoken sub-dialect of the Akan language with nine million speakers residing primarily in the Ashanti region of Ghana.

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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.