Nzema language

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RegionGhana, Ivory Coast
Native speakers
412,000 (2013)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2nzi
ISO 639-3nzi

Nzema, also known as Nzima or Appolo, is a Central Tano language spoken by the Nzema people of southwestern Ghana and southeastern Ivory Coast.[3] It is partially intelligible with Jwira-Pepesa and is closely related to Baoulé.[4]

Although it is a Bia language, Nzema has had considerable influence from Akan languages, especially Twi and Fante.[5]



Labial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Alveolo-palatal Palatal Velar Labial-velar
plain labialized plain labialized palatalized nasalized plain labialized plain labialized plain labialized
Nasal plain m n ɲ ɲʷ ŋ ŋʷ ŋm


voiceless p tp dʑʷ k kp
voiced b db d tɕʷ ɡ ɡb
Fricative voiceless f s ɕ ɕʷ x
voiced v z ɣ
Trill r
Lateral l
Approximant j w


Front Central Back
Close i u
Near-close ɪ ʊ
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Near-open ɐ
Open a

Of Nzema's ten vowels, eight may be nasalized: /i᷈/, /ɪ᷈/, /ɛ̃/, /ɐ̃/, /a᷈/, /u᷈/, /ʊ᷈/, and /ɔ̃/.[5]


  1. ^ Nzema at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Nzima". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "Nzema". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  4. ^ Burmeister, Jonathan L. (1976). "A comparison of variable nouns in Anyi-Sanvi and Nzema". Annales de l'Université d'Abidjan. H (Linguistique 9): 7–19.
  5. ^ a b Berry, J. (1955). "Some Notes on the Phonology of the Nzema and Ahanta Dialects". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 17 (1): 160–165. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00106421. ISSN 1474-0699.

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