Languages of Ghana
|Languages of Ghana|
|Regional languages||Government-sponsored languages: Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Ewe, Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangme, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Mfantse, Nzema|
|Main immigrant languages||Chinese, Hausa, Hindi, Lebanese Arabic,Sindhi, Yoruba|
|Sign languages||Ghanaian Sign Language
(American Sign Language)
Adamorobe Sign Language
Nanabin Sign Language
Ghana is a multilingual country in which about eighty languages are spoken. Of these, English, which was inherited from the colonial era, is the official language and lingua franca. Of the languages indigenous to Ghana, Akan is the most widely spoken.
In a relatively small country like Ghana, with a population of only about twenty-four million people (2012), there are over seventy different tribal groups, each with its own distinct language. However, languages that belong to the same ethnic group are usually mutually intelligible. The Dagbanli and Mampelle languages of Northern Region for instance, are mutually intelligible with the Frafra and Waali languages of the Upper East Region of Ghana. These four languages are of Mole-Dagbani ethnicity. Eleven languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: four Akan ethnic languages (Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Mfantse and Nzema) and two Mole-Dagbani ethnic languages (Dagaare and Dagbanli). The rest are Ewe, Dangme, Ga, Gonja, and Kasem.
There are nine government-sponsored languages. They are supported by the Bureau of Ghana Languages, which was established in 1951 and publishes materials in them. During the periods when Ghanaian languages were used in primary education, these were the languages which were used. All eleven(11) languages belong to the Niger–Congo language family, though to several different branches.
As part of the Kwa branch of the Niger–Congo family, the Akan languages appear in a diverse number of dialects. With regard to official status however, only three (3) are recognised; Asante Twi, Fante and Akuapem Twi. It is the most-widely spoken language in Ghana.
Ga is the other Ga–Dangme language within the Kwa branch. Ga is spoken in south-eastern Ghana, in and around the capital Accra.
The languages of Ghana belong to the following branches within the Niger–Congo language family. Older classifications group them as Kwa, Gur, and Mande:
- Kwa languages (Akan, Bia, Guang in Tano; Ga and Adangme)
- Gbe languages (Ewe)
- Gur languages (Gurunsi, Dagbani, Mossi, Dagaare, and Frafra in Oti–Volta)
- Senufo languages (Nafaanra)
- Kulango languages
- Mande languages (Ligbi)
- "The Bureau Of Ghana Languages-BGL". Ghana Embassy Washington DC, USA. 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "The Bureau Of Ghana Languages-BGL". National Commission on Culture. 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Ghana Institute of Languages". gil.edu.gh. Ghana Institute of Languages. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Immigration into Ghana Since 1990". Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), University of Ghana, Legon. 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Indian Community in Ghana". indiahc-ghana.com. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Ghana," in: Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2014. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 17th ed. Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
- Bernd Kortmann Walter de Gruyter, 2004 (2004). "A handbook of varieties of English. 1. Phonology, Volume 2". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Introduction To The Verbal and Multi-Verbalsystem of Akan". ling.hf.ntnu.no. 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulai and John M. Chernoff (1992). "Master Drummers of Dagbon, Volumes 1 and 2". Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- R.S.Rattray Journal of the Royal African Society Vol. 30, No. 118 (Jan., 1931), pp. 40-57. "The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland” (1932)". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- "The Online Encyclopaedia of Written Systems Languages". Omniglot. 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Richard Asante & E.Gyimah-Boadi (2004). "Ethnic Structure, Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector in Ghana". United Nations Research Institute For Social Development (UNRISD). Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Ethnologue listing for Ghana
- Ethnologue map of languages in Ghana
- Owu-Ewie, Charles. 2006. The Language Policy of Education in Ghana: A Critical Look at the English-Only Language Policy of Education. In Selected Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, ed. John Mugane et al., 76-85. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
- PanAfrican L10n wiki page on Ghana
- L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde page on Ghana