Lingua Franca: What Is The Official Language Of Ghana?


Language in Africa is a thing of tribe culture and region, but beyond that, it is also a thing of colonialism because as much as Africa can boast of over a million languages, the idea of  lingua franca still revolves around the question ‘ who colonized them?’ Ghana is a multilingual nation just like most other countries in Africa and just as different sources give different figures for the number of Languages in Ghana as spoken by the different tribes, there can only be one official language understood by all the tribal groups, and that is the colonial English language and lingual franca. In Ghana, there are about eighty (80) languages which are diverse in all regions of Ghana.

There are nine (9) government-sponsored languages spoken in Ghana supported by the Bureau of Ghana languages which was established in 1951. At the period when Ghanaian languages were used for primary education, these languages were used which belongs to the Niger – Congo language family.

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Official Ghana Languages According to Ranks

Akan is part of the Kwa languages of the Niger-Congo region and also the most widely used with 45.3% of the ethnic group. The Akan is made of four dialects , viz: Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Fante and Nzema. However, among these dialects only three are officially recognized; Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi and Fante.

Éwé besides being a Ghana language is also spoken in Togo and Benin with a trace of it in west Nigeria. The Ewe is a Gbe language, part of Volta-Niger branch of the Niger-Congo family with increasing population of about 2,250,000 in Ghana(2003).

ghana people

Dagbani is made of two ethnic languages; Dagaare and Dagbanli. The Dagbani is one of the Gur language (in Niger-Congo language), which belongs to the larger Mole-Dagbani ethnic group found in Ghana and Burkina Faso. It is spoken by Dagombas in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Dangme, also known as Adangme is spoken in Greater Accra (Ghana), in south-east Ghana and Togo. Classified as one of the Ga-Dangme lanuages within the Kwa branch. The language is largely spoken by population of about 800,000 (2004) and the dialects include: Ada, Krobo, Ningo, Gbugbla, Osu, Shai.

Dagaare Is a maternal language of the Dagaaba people in Ghana and Burkina Faso with a growing population of about 1,000000 since 2003. It’s a language spoken in the Upper West Region of Ghana, There are no known dialect attached to Dagaare language.

Ga is the name of the tribe and a Kwa language which is a part of the Niger- Gongo family and closely related to Adangme and together they form the Ga – Dangme branch within Kwa. Ga is spoken in the south-eastern Ghana,in and around the capital, Accra. Although English is the official language of Ghana, Ga is one of the languages in which the Bureau of Ghana Languages publishes material.

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Nzemaa Closely related to Akan, it is spoken by the Nzema people in southwestern Ghana and southeast Ivory Coast. The population of people who speak Nzemaa are 262,000 in Ghana and 328,700 in other countries.

Kasem language is spoken in the Upper Eastern Region of Ghana and also in Burkina Faso

Gonja is spoken in the Northern Region of Ghana and Wa, with a population of 230,000(2004).

The other languages include: Awutu, Avatime, Anyin, Anufo, Animere, Akposo, Ahanta, Adele, Adangbe, Adamorobe sign language, Abron, Buli, Bisa, Birifor, Bimoba, Chumburung, Cherepon, Chala, Chakali, Dwang, Dpmpo, Delo, Deg, Fulfulde, Farefare, Gikyode, Gua, Ghanaian Pidging English, Hanga, Hausa, Jwira-pepesa, Kabiyé, Kamara, Kantosi, Konkomba, Konni, Kplang, Krache, Kulango(Bouna and Bondoukou), Kusaal, Lama, Larteh, Lelemi, Ligbi, Logba, Mampruli, Nafaanra, Nawdu, Nawuri, Nchumbulu, Nkami, Nkonya, Ntcham, Nyangbo, Nzema, Paasaal, Safaliba, Sehwi

Suffice it to say that even though all of these Ghanaian languages are official and are well recognized, English is generally used in all the regions that speaks these languages and has been upheld as the official language of Government and all other business purposes.