Dagaare is member of the Gur branch of Niger-Congo languages spoken in Ghana and Burkina Faso by about 1.1 million people. Some linguists classify Dagaare as part of a dialect continuum that also includes Waale and Birifor.

Ethnologue classifies Dagaare as three separate languages:

Dagaare alphabet (Burkina Faso)

Dagaare in Burkina Faso was first written by colonial administrators to record the names of people and places. French missionaries produced religious literature in the language, mainly during the 1950s and 1960s, using a spelling based on French. Since then Dagaare spelling has been reformed and improved a number of times, with the current orthography being established in 1998.

Dagaare alphabet used in Burkina Faso

There are three tones in the Dagaare of Burkina Faso: the high tone is indicated by an acute accent (á), the low tone with a grave accent (à), and the middle tone is not marked.

Dagaare alphabet (Ghana)

In Ghana the Dagaare Language Committee publish a Guide to Dagaare Spelling in 1976, and revised it in 1982.

Dagaare alphabet used in Ghana

Mid tones are unmarked and nasal vowels are marked with a tilde (˜).

Download Dagaare alphabet charts (Excel)

Details of Dagaare pronunciation and alphabets provided by Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample text in Dagaare

Nengsaala zaa ba nang dɔge so la o menga, ka o ne o taaba zaa sengtaa noba emmo ane yɛlɛsoobo sobic poɔ. Ba dɔgɛɛ ba zaa ne yɛng ane yɛlɛ-iruu k'a da seng ka ba erɛ yɛlɛ korɔ taa a nga yɔɔmine.


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)

Sample videos


Information about the Dagaare language

Gur languages

Berba, Birifor (Northern), Birifor (Southern), Dagaare, Dagbani, Frafra, Gourmanchéma, Kabiye, Kasem, Konkomba, Kusaal, Láá Láá Bwamu, Mampruli, Moba, Mossi, Paasaal, Safaliba, Sisaali, Tammari, Tem, Tumulung Sisaala, Turka, Waama, Western Sisaala

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 04.09.22


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