The Evolution of Ghanaian Languages

Ghanaians languages

The Evolution of Ghanaian Languages

The early Ga-Dangmes spoke Dangme which is an aboriginal language in it’s purest form as far as we know. Therefore, it was only Dangme that existed. The Ga language started to emerge as a distinct tongue following the founding of the kingdom of Ayawaso where the Ga identity and tribe was forged. Initially, the Proto-Dangme speakers appeared to have spread out along the East-West across the Accra plains.

The beginning of the dialect differentiation in Proto-Dangme appears to have been triggered by the penetration of borrowed words from Fante and Effutu/Awutu Guans.

Twi originated from Bono, the original settlement of ethnic Akans. After the fall of the Akan kingdom of Bono, clans started to separate and one of the first do so were the Fantes (Fa-atsew) – the half that separated. Later on, another major Akan polity, The Denkyira emerged in the area we know today as Adanse. They coined a new dialect of the Bono Twi. And since they were rulers of many Akan states such as Asante, Adanse, all subjects were to speak the same dialect.

All Akans who migrated from this kingdom around Adanse spoke this type of Twi that’s why you’ll fine it being spoken by more than one tribe; Ahafo, Adanse, Kwahu, Asante, Denkyira (the originators of this dialiect), some parts of Assin, Akyem, etc. They all speak this same dialect of TWI and thus is the widely spoken local language in Ghana.

Akuapem Twi was actually crafted by Akwamu and adopted by the Akwapims after the fall and sacking of Akwamu Kingdom/Empire.

Fante is not Twi but is its own distinct language crafted after Fantes arrived at the coast. The Fantes had to wage war on several kingdoms. Part of the strategy of the Fante was to learn the language of the already existing kingdoms. They only adopted a few language elements from the local kingdoms and fused it with their original Akan/Bono language and Mfantse language was born. In the end, the Borbor Fante settlers were victorious and their influence spread across what we know as the Central & Western Regions of Ghana today. The Fante identity is therefore no longer that of the Borbor Akans but also includes the local kingdoms that already existed.

Today, Fante comes in different dialects such as Agona Fantse, Takoradze Fantse, Oguaa Fantse, Gomoa Fantse, Borbor Fantse (the original founders of the Fante Nation made up of States such as Mankessim, Abura, Nkusukum, Ekumfi etc). and others.

Source: Nyamekye Fante on Facebook

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