Anii language

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Native to Benin and Togo
Native speakers
49,000  (2011–2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 blo
Glottolog anii1245[2]

The Anii or Basila language (also Baseca, Ouinji-Ouinji ~ Winji-Winji) is spoken in central eastern Ghana, Benin, and central western Togo. It is part of the geographic group of Ghana Togo Mountain languages (traditionally called the Togorestsprachen or Togo Remnant languages) of the Kwa branch of Niger–Congo.

The name Anii was chosen by the Anii people as a name for the language because it is a word that is common to all the Anii dialects. It is an interjection meaning roughly ‘do you hear?’, or ‘do you understand?’.

There are four major dialect groups in Anii, which are quite different from each other, even to the point that some of the dialects are not mutually intelligible (Tompkins and Kluge 2009). These differences may include variation in phonology (including tonology), lexicon, syntax, and semantics. There are even significant differences from village to village within groups, particularly regarding pronunciation.

Like other languages of the Central-Togo group, Anii has a robust system of noun classes, contrasting with the reduced or absent systems of surrounding languages. It also has a strong system of vowel harmony based on the feature [ATR]. The Bassila dialect, on which the most linguistic research has been done, has two phonological tone levels, low and high, and exhibits both grammatical and lexical tone.


  1. ^ Anii at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Anii". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Bernd Heine, Die Verbreitung und Gliederung der Togorestsprachen. Berlin, Dietrich Reimer, 1968.
  • M.E.Kropp Dakubu, editor, The Languages of Ghana, Kegan Paul International, 1988.
  • Deborah Morton, "[ATR] Harmony in an Eleven Vowel Language: The Case of Anii". In: Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan M. Purvis, Editors. Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages in Context. Cascadilla Press, 2011.
  • Deborah Morton, "Exploring Temporal and Aspectual Reference in Anii". In: Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten, editor, Sula 6: Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on the Semantics of Under-represented Languages in the Americas and SULA-Bar GLSA, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2010.
  • Barbara Tompkins and Angela Kluge. 2009. “A sociolinguistic survey of the Anii-Akpe language area” SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2009-009. [1].