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Akan languages

From Academic Kids

The term Akan is used to denote a group of languages belonging to the Kwa language family that are spoken in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

  • Agona
  • Ahafo
  • Akuapem
  • Akyem (Akyem Bosome)
  • Anyi
  • Asen
  • Asante (Ashanti)
  • Attiι
  • Baule
  • Brong
  • Chakosi
  • Dankyira
  • Fante (Fanti, Mfantse)
  • Guang
  • Kwahu
  • Twi

Akan is also the name of a major language spoken in Ghana with the variants

  • Asante (Ashanti)
  • Fante language (Fanti, Mfantse)
  • Akuapem

These variants have all written forms. In terms of numbers of speakers Brong should be included also but never has been layed down in written form. The Bureau of Ghanian languages compiled a 20'000 word list of a unified orthography for this three variants which is not in widespread use yet. The Akan language is one of the primary government-sponsored languages in Ghana. It is written in the Roman alphabet.

The language came to South America, notably Suriname, with the slaves. Escaped slaves in the interior of Suriname still use a form of this language, including the custom of naming children the day of the week that they were born e.g. Kwasi (for a boy) or Kwasiba (girl) born on a Sunday. In Suriname also the Anansi spider stories are well known.


According to work done by P K Agbedor of CASAS , Mfantse and Twi (together known as Akan) belong to Cluster 1 of the speech forms of Ghana. Clusters are defined by the level of mutual intelligibility. The Abron(Bono) and Wasa dialects are considered part of this cluster.

Precisely Cluster 1 comprises: Akan (Niger-Congo – Atlantic Congo – Volta Congo – Kwa – Nyo – Potou-Tano – Tano – Central) Abron (Niger-Congo – Atlantic Congo – Volta Congo – Kwa – Nyo – Potou-Tano – Tano – Central – Akan) Wasa (Niger-Congo – Atlantic Congo – Volta Congo – Kwa – Nyo – Potou-Tano – Tano – Central – Akan)

Cluster 1 may better be named r-Akan (mainly Twi, Fante, Akuapem, Akyem, Wasa, Bono, Asen, Akwamu, Kwahu spoken mainly in Ghana, parts of Togo) which do not explicitly have the letter “l” in their original proper use. On the other hand l-Akan, refers to the Akan cluster comprising Nzema, Baule, and other dialects spoken mainly in the Ivory Coast, whose use of the letter “r” in proper usage is very rare.


External links

Template:InterWiki Dictionary of Standard Written r-Akan  (http://kasa.ghanathink.org)es:Idioma akan Template:Nc-lang-stub


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