Akan is a part of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo language family. In 2013 there were about 9.2 million speakers of Akan in Ghana. There are also some speakers of Akan in Ivory Coast / Côte d'Ivoire. 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, during the 17th and 18th centuries by Danish, German and British missionaries.
There are currently three standardized orthographies for Asante, Akuapem and Fante, there is also a unified Akan orthography which was created during the 1980s. Akan is taught in both primary and secondary schools in Ghana.
J and V are used used, but only in loanwords.
Hear the sounds of Akan
Download an Akan alphabet chart (Excel)
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.
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.
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)
Corrections by Oscar Tay
Page last modified: 09.08.21
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