Kabiye (Kabɩyɛ / Kabɩyɛ Tɔm)

Kabiye is member of the Gur branch of Niger-Congo language family spoken mainly in northen Togo, and also in Ghana and Benin. In 2014 there were about 1.2 million speakers of Kabiye, which is also known as Kabiyé, Kabiyè, Kabye, Kabyé, Kabyè, Kabire, Kabure, Cabrai or Cabrais.

Kabiye is a national language of Togo, along with Ewe, and is used in the media and education.

Kabiye first appeared in print in the 1930s. The first grammar of the language was published in 1976 by Jacques Delord, a missionary-linguist. It has also been used in books of folktales, poetry, medicine, agriculture, politics, religion, educational material and translations of the Bible.

Kabiye alphabet and pronunciation

A standard orthography for Kabiye was created in the 1980s by the Comité de Langue Nationale Kabiyè, part of the education ministry in Togo. Another spelling system, devised by R.P. Adjola Raphael, is used by Catholics.

Kabiye alphabet and pronunciation


Kabiye has tones which are marked with acute (á) and grave (à) accents.

Download an alphabet chart for Kabiye (Excel)

Sample text in Kabiye

Palʊlʊʊ ɛyaaa nɛ pa-tɩ yɔɔ wɛʊ kpaagbaa nɛ pɛwɛɛ kɩmaŋ wala ɛsɩndaa. Palʊlʊʊ-wɛ nɛ pɔ-lɔŋ nɛ pa-aɣzɩm; mbʊ yekina nɛ pɔsɔɔlɩ ɖama se pɛkɛ ɛyaa pa-tɩŋgɛ.


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 video in Kabiye


Information about the Kabiye language

Gur languages

Dagaare, Dagbani, Kabiye, Kasem, Mossi, Tammari, Tem, Waama

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21

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