|Ethnicity||Asante people, Akuapem, Fante|
|9 million (2015)|
Official language in
Ashanti City-State and the Ashanti City-State capital Kumasi|
Ghana (both dialects used in national status)
|Regulated by||Akan Orthography Committee|
Twi (pronounced [tɕᶣi]; also known as Akan Kasa) is a dialect of the Akan language spoken in southern and central Ghana by several million people, mainly of the Akan tribe, the biggest of the about 17 major tribes in Ghana and forms some 70% of the Ghanaian population as a first and second language. Twi is a common name for two former literary dialects of the Akan language; Asante (Ashanti) and Akuapem, which are mutually intelligible. There are about 9 million Twi speakers, mainly originating from the Ashanti Region and about a total of 17–18 million Ghanaians as either first or second languages. Akuapem Twi was the first Akan dialect to be used for Bible translation, and became the prestige dialect as a result. It is also spoken by the Southeastern people of Cote D'Ivoire.
Here are the Twi Alphabet (Also the Akan Alphabet - Akanfoɔ ntwereɛ)
The 22 letters of the Twi alphabet are:
|Majuscule forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)|
|Minuscule forms (also called lowercase or small letters)|
Letters C, J, V and Z are also used, but only in loanwords.
Pronunciation of the Twi (Akan) letters / alphabets - Twi Diphthongs.
(Sɛnea wo bɛ kan Akanfoɔ ntwerɔɛ no)
|Nasal||voiced||m ⟨m⟩||n ⟨n⟩||ɲ ⟨ny, n⟩||ŋ ⟨ng, n⟩|
|Stop||voiced||b ⟨b⟩||d ⟨d⟩||g ⟨g⟩|
|aspirated||pʰ ⟨p⟩||tʰ ⟨t⟩||kʰ ⟨k⟩|
|Affricate||aspirated||t͡ɕʰ ~ c͡çʰ ⟨ky⟩|
|voiced||d͡ʒ ⟨dw⟩||d͡ʑ ~ ɟ͡ʝ ⟨gy⟩|
|Fricative||voiceless||f ⟨f⟩||s ⟨s⟩||ç ⟨hy⟩||h ⟨h⟩|
|Tap/Flap||ɾ ⟨r⟩||ɽ ⟨r⟩|
|Nkontaa (Numbers)||Asante Akontaabudeɛ (Dodoɔ)||Akuapem Akontaabude|
|11||du baako||du baako|
|12||du mmienu||du mien|
|13||du mmiɛnsa||du mmiɛnsa|
|14||du nan||du nan|
|15||du num||du num|
|21||aduonu baako||aduonu baako|
|22||aduonu mmienu||aduonu abien|
|40||aduannan / aduanan||aduanan|
|45||aduanan num / aduannan num||aduanan num|
|46||aduanan nsia / aduannan nsia||aduanan nsia|
|50||aduonum / aduonnum||aduonum|
|8000||mpem nwɔtwe||mpem nwɔtwe|
|9000||mpem nkron||mpem nkron|
|1,000,000,000||ɔpepepem / ɔpepepeepee||ɔpepepem|
(number of times)
|5||mprɛ du-baako||mpɛn du-baako||eleven times|
|6||mprɛ ɔha||mpɛn ɔha||one hundred times|
|7||mprɛ pii||mpɛn pii||many times|
|borɔfokasa nkyerɛaseɛ (English translation)|
|1||Wo din de sɛn?||What is your name?|
|2||Yɛ frɛ me Kwaku Peter||My name is Kwaku Peter|
|3||Bra ha / Bra ɛha||Come here|
|4||Medaase / me da wo ase||Thank You|
|5||Ɛkɔm de me / kɔm de me||I am hungry|
|6||Akwaaba||You are welcome|
|7||Me retɔ adeɛ||I am buying something|
|8||Me retɔ kosua||I am buying egg|
|9||Ɛte sɛn? / Wo ho te sɛn?||How are you?|
|10||Ɛyɛ||I am good / It is good / I'm fine|
|11||Wo wɔ hene?||Where are you?|
|12||Me wɔ ha / me wɔ ɛha||I am here|
|13||Wo rekɔ hene? Wo kɔ hene?||Where are you going to?|
|14||Me rekɔ Kumasi||I am going to Kumasi|
|15||Onyame nyira wo / Nyame nyira wo||God bless you|
Conparison between Asante Twi and Akuapem Twi:
|borɔfokasa nkyerɛaseɛ (English translation)|
|1||Nnipa ahe na ɛbaeɛ?||Nnipa baahe na ɛbae?||How many people came?|
|2||Edu ne du yɛ aduonu||Du ne du yɛ aduonu||Ten plus (and) ten make twenty|
|3||Yi edu firi aduonu mu||Yi du fi aduonu mu||Subtract ten from twenty|
|4||Kyɛ deɛ wobɛnya no mu mmienu||Kyɛ nea wubenya no mu abien||Divide the answer that you will get by two|
|5||Fa nsia yɛ ɛnan ahoroeɛ||Fa Asia yɛ anan ahorow||Multiply six by four|
|6||Kan wo nsateaa||Kan wo nsateaa||Count on your fingers|
|7||Wobɛtumi akan adeɛ akɔsi apem?||Wubetumi akan akosi apem||Can you count up to one thousand?|
|8||Matwerɛ me yere prɛko||Makyerɛw me yere pɛnkoro pɛ||I wrote my wife once|
|9||ɔtwerɛɛ nkrataa nwɔtwe nnora||ɔkyerɛw nkrataa awotwe nnɛra||S/he wrote eight letters yesterday|
|10||Woatwerɛ wo nuabaa mprɛ pii||Woakyerɛw wo nuabea mpɛn pii||You have written your sister many times|
|11||Abarimaa no abu ano (nkonta) mmiɛnsa||Abarimaa no abu ano (nkontaa) abiɛsa||The boy has made three calculations|
|12||ɔpɛ anobuo (nkonta)||ɔpɛ anobu (akontaabu)||He likes arithmetic|
The Ashantis use a system of giving the first name to a child, based on the day of the week that the child was born, which is commonly done in Ghana. Almost all the tribes and clans in Ghana do a similar thing.
The Ashanti (Asantes) day naming system is as follows:
|Day||Male Name||Female Name|
|Ɛdwoada (Monday)||Kwadwo, Kojo||Adwoa|
|Wukuada (Wednesday)||Kweku, Kwaku||Akua|
|Memenda / Memenada (Saturday)||Kwame||Amma|
In Ghana today, the most prominent Akan dialects are Asante Twi, Fante and Akuapem Twi, which are all closely related. For a number of different reasons, Asante Twi has become the leading Akan language (and leading native language) spoken in Ghana. Historically, the Asante kingdom played a powerful and dominant military role in this part of West Africa for a number of centuries until it was defeated by the British in 1901 and annexed as a crown colony. At the height of its power the Asante kingdom controlled an area roughly the size of modern-day Ghana which would have included many traditional Akan and non-Akan territories.
These were times when rival Akan kingdoms fought among each other primarily for control of the regional trade in gold and slaves, and the area was known as the Gold Coast. Although Ghana today is an independent country with a democratic system of government, most of the traditional tribal chiefs still possess a high degree of influence, power, authority and respect among their respective people. Among the traditional chiefs in Ghana, the king of the Asantes, who is called the Asantehene, is still a very powerful and highly respected royal figure. Due to the strong influence (past and present) of the Asante people, Asante Twi has long been a language of trade among Ghana's diverse tribal groups. Asante Twi has also gained prominence by becoming the main language of Ghana's musicians, with most of the country's (older) highlife and (newer) hiplife songs being performed and recorded in Twi. Some popular Ghanaian singers may sing in Twi, though they themselves are not Akan. Officially, Ghana's national language is English, but many radio stations broadcast news and programs in Twi as well as English.
The successful spread of Twi in Ghana is no doubt also because Twi is mainly a spoken language as opposed to a written one. Regardless of the literacy rate in the country, people still prefer to communicate verbally with each other.
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- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Asante". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Jane Garry, Carl R. Galvez Rubino, "Facts about the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present", H.W. Wilson, USA, 2001, page 8
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