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The People of Ghana, Ethnic Groups and Languages

Dagomba, Kwahu, Nzima, Gonja, Fante

Over 100 linguistic and ethnic groups have been identified in Ghana. However, the population is classified into two major linguistic families: the Kwa and the Gur. The Kwa speakers, traditionally associated with the area south of the Volta, make up about 75 percent of the population. The major Kwa linguistic subgroup is the Akan speakers, who are further subdivided into the Ashanti, Bono, Fante, Akuapem, Akyem, and Kwahu, among others. The Ashanti and Akuapem peoples speak similar Akan dialects, collectively known as Twi. Other Kwa linguistic groups include the Nzima, Ga, Gonja, Adangbe, and Ewe. Members of the Gur linguistic family live mainly in the northern regions of the country. The principal Gur language is Dagbane, and the major Gur ethnic groups are the Dagomba and Mamprusi peoples. Due to the similarities in the various dialects and to the increasing mobility of the population, a typical Ghanaian understands at least one of five major languages—Akan, Nzima, Dagbane, Ga, or Ewe—as well as English, which is the official language of the country.

Article key phrases:

Dagomba, Kwahu, Nzima, Gonja, Fante, Ashanti, official language, Twi, Ewe, Volta, Bono, northern regions, similarities, Ga, percent, population, country, area, Members, English


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