Akan languages

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

Ghana , Cote d´Ivoire (Ivory Coast) , Togo
speaker about 8 million
Official status
Official language in one of the national languages ​​of Ghana
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


The word Akan refers to a group of languages ​​with approximately 8,300,000 speakers, which are assigned to the Kwa language family and are spoken in Ghana and the Ivory Coast . Speakers are the various so-called Akan peoples .

Division of Akan languages ​​/ question of affiliation

Within the Akan languages, a distinction is made between the following languages, which there is consensus about belonging to the Akan group:

Other sources distinguish between the languages ​​listed above (then called "Eastern Akan languages") and a group of "Western Akan languages":

According to SIL International , however, the two Akan groups are divided equally into "Akan" and "Bia" according to the "Central" branch of the classification scheme in the above info box. Nzema, Ahanta, Anyi and Baule do not belong to the Akan languages, but to the Bia branch.

In contradiction to this, PK Agbedor from CASAS speaks of "Complex 1" and "Complex 2" (roughly corresponding to the above "West Akan" or "East Akan") of the language forms of Ghana. The complexes are characterized by their mutual understanding.

Complex 1 is referred to there as r-Akan (mainly Twi, Fante, Akuapem, Akyem, Wasa, Bono, Asen, Akwamu, Kwahu spoken in Ghana and parts of Togo). These do not explicitly use the sound " L ". In contrast, there would be the group l-Akan (Nzema, Baule and other dialects that are mainly spoken in the Ivory Coast), which do not use the sound " R ".


The larger of these languages ​​also exist in written form. Abron is also widely used as a language, but it was never developed into a written language. The Bureau for Languages ​​of Ghana has compiled a list of words for three dialects with uniform spelling , which includes over 20,000 words. However, it is not yet widely used. Akan is one of the primarily government-supported languages ​​in Ghana. It is written in Latin letters with an extended alphabet .

Akan in South America

The language was brought to South America with the slaves . Descendants of escaped slaves in Suriname speak some form of this language, they have also retained the custom of naming their children by the day of the week they were born, for example Kwasi (for a boy) and Kwasiba (for a girl) who were born on a Sunday . The Anansi -Nsem spider stories are known in Suriname.

See also


  • Kweku Osam: Adjectives in Akan , Afrika und Übersee, 82 (1999) 189-209
  • William Everett Welmers: A descriptive grammar of Fanti , Language. Journal of the Linguistic Society of America, 22 (3, Suppl.), (1946)
  • M. Delafosse: Essai de Manual de la Langue Agni , Paris 1900
  • JC Christaller, JG: Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language called Tshi (Twi) , Basel 1881, (new edition 1933)

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