Talk Talk like a Ghanaian

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.

Twi is a dialect of the Akan language spoken in Ghana by about 6–9 million Ashanti people 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 [1][3] and about a total of 17-18 million Ghanaians as either first or second languages.

What all this means is that if you can speak Twi, you should be able to communicate fairly easily with people in Ghana, regardless of where you are in the country. And if you have any interest in travelling to Ghana or doing business in Ghana, knowledge of Twi will certainly prove helpful. 

In Ghana, you can hardly hear any popular music in any other language apart from Twi and the reason behind this is that, Musicians make music that will sell and that is why you see Musicians who are not even Twi speaking natives making music in Twi.

We have 79 languages in Ghana.Nine languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: Akan, Dagaare/Wale, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema. However, two dialects of Akan, Twi and Fante, although not government-sponsored, are also widely-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.

About fifty percent Ghanaians are born with Twi being a mother’s tongue but more than 70% of Ghanaians speak a variety of the Twi language and most commercial activities and cultural events are conducted in Twi. The Twi language dominates our art and culture not because the Twi speaking people are forcing their language on others but as the golden rule states, whoever has the gold rules and in this case, the Twi speaking people have the numbers and a dominance in commerce to expand the influence of their language.

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