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Akan language

NativenameTwi, Fante
StatesGhana, Suriname
Speakers20 million
EthnicityAkan people
Fam2Atlantic Congo
Fam4Potou Tano
Fam6Central Tano
- Government-sponsored languages of Ghana
AgencyAkan Orthography Committee
Lc1fat|ld1=Fanti language
Lc2twi|ld2=Twi language|ll2=none

     Home | Language | Twi

Akan, also known as Twi -aktɕɥi and Fante, is an Akan language that is the principal native language of Ghana, spoken over much of the southern half of that country, by about 52% of the population, and to a lesser extent across the border in eastern Côte d'Ivoire. Three dialects have been developed as literary standards with distinct orthographies, Asante, Akuapem (together called Twi), and Fante, which despite being mutually intelligible were inaccessible in written form to speakers of the other standards. In 1978 the Akan Orthography Committee established a common orthography for all of Akan, which is used as the medium of instruction in primary school by speakers of several other Akan languages such as Anyi, Sefwi, Ahanta as well as the Guang languages.

The Akan people and those who have either lived around Akans or have absorbed Akan people into their population speak Kwa languages, of which Twi/Fante is just one. Twi Fante consists of the following dialects:

* Asante (Ashanti), which together with Akuapem is commonly called Twi

* Akuapem (Akwapem)

* Akyem

* Agona (commonly considered Fante)

* Kwahu

* Wassa

* Fante (Fanti or Mfantse:Anomabo, Abura, Gomua) - Spoken in east coastal Ghana.

* Brong - Spoken in west central Ghana and along the border in Côte d'Ivoire

The Bureau of Ghana Languages has compiled a unified orthography of 20,000 words.

The adinkra symbols are old ideograms.

The language came to the Caribbean and South America, notably in Suriname spoken by the Ndyuka and in Jamaica by the Jamaican Maroons known as Kromanti, with enslaved people from the region. The descendants of escaped slaves in the interior of Suriname and the Maroons in Jamaica still use a form of this language, including Akan naming convention, in which children are named after the day of the week on which they are born, e.g. Akwasi (for a boy) or Akosua (girl) born on a Sunday. In Jamaica and Suriname the Anansi spider stories are well known.

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