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Akan

The Akan languages are part of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo languages. There are about 7 million Akan speakers in eastern Ivory Coast, south-central Ghana, and central Togo. There are numerous dialects of Akan, including Twi, Fante, Bono, Wasa, Nzema, Baule and Anyi, with a high level of mutual intelligibility between them.

Akan languages started to be written down, mainly in religious publications, by Danish, German and British missionaries during the 17th and 18th centuries.

There are currently three standardized orthographies for Asante, Akuapem and Fante, there is also a unified Akan orthography which was created during the 1980s.

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i J j K k L l M m
N n O o P p Ɛ ɛ R r S s T t U u V v W w Ɔ ɔ Y y Z z

Letters in italics are only used on loanwords.

Akan pronunciation

Akan pronunciation

Notes

  • There are quite complex rules of vowel harmony governing which vowels can appear in the same word.
  • Akan languages are tonal with three tones: high, mid and low.

Sample texts in Akan languages

Akuapem Twi

Wɔɑwo ɑdesɑmmɑ nyinɑɑ sɛ nnipɑ ɑ wɔwɔ ɑhofɑdi. Wɔn nyinɑɑ wɔ nidi ne kyɛfɑ koro. Wɔwɔ ɑdwene ne ɑhonim, nɑ ɛsɛ sɛ wobu wɔn ho wɔn ho sɛ ɑnuɑnom.

Asante

Nnipa nyinaa yɛ pɛ. Na wɔde adwene ne nyansa na abɔ obiara. Ɛno nti, ɛsɛ sɛ obiara dɔ ne yɔnko, bu ne yɔnko, di ne yɔnko ni.

Fante

Wɔwo ɑdɑsɑ nyinɑ to fɑhodzi mu, nɑ hɔn nyinɑ yɛ pɛr wɔ enyimnyɑm nɑ ndzinoɑ mu. Wɔmɑɑ hɔn nyinɑ ɑdwen nɑ tsibowɑ, nɑ ɔwɔ dɛ hɔn nkitɑhodzi mu ndzeyɛɛ dɑ no edzi dɛ wɔyɛ enuɑnom.

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Tower of Babel in Akan

Links

Information about the Akan languages (including Twi)
http://www.bisharat.net/wikidoc/pmwiki.php/PanAfrLoc/Akan

Online Akan lessons
http://kasa.ghanathink.org/akan/lg/languageGuide.htm
http://www.akan.org

Akan Language Writing Guide
http://africathink.ghanathink.org/?q=guide

Your name in Twi
http://www.fiankoma.org/schoolsite/yourname.htm

Kwa languages

Akan, Ga, Twi

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet


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