SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Twi-Fante at SOAS Language Centre

Twi-Fante are two mututally intelligible varieties of the Akan language – a language belonging to the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo family. They are spoken principally in Ghana, where the number of speakers appears to have reached and exceeded 10 million (In multilingual countries, it is very often difficult to establish how many speakers have a given language as their mother-tongue and how many acquire the language in question as an additional language). Other representatives of the Akan language are also spoken in the Ivory Coast, Ghana’s western neighbour, and Togo and Benin, to the east.

As with most languages of sub-Saharan Africa, whilst there may not be a long literacy tradition associated with Twi-Fante, there is a strong oracy tradition that has maintained itself in diaspora, when speakers of Twi-Fante were displaced to the West Indies and South America in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The cycle of Ananse stories – stories surrounding a wise spider - owes its origin to Akan culture. In more recent times, Akan people have been an important element in terms of the settlement of African communities in the United Kingdom. Twi-Fante can frequently be heard in London, alongside other African languages such as Yoruba and Igbo.

SOAS Language Centre offers the following for Twi-Fante: