a beach in Ghana

Welcome to Twi/Akan at the CLC!

Twi ([tɕᶣi]) is a variety of the Akan language spoken in southern and central Ghana by about 4.4 million speakers. Learn more about this fascinating language by taking a class at the Critical Languages Center!

About the Akan/Twi Language

Akan/Twi is a member of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo language family and it is mainly spoken in Ghana. it is encoded in the alphabetic writing system, which is well-established and widely used. Akan/Twi is a language group with several regional varieties. The three most prominent are Asante Twi, Akuapem Twi, and Fante. Over 40% of the Ghanaian population speak various dialects of the Akan language as their mother tongue, while the remainder speaks varieties of the language as their second or third language. Akan/Twi enjoys prestige in terms of literary production and its status as the linguistic entree to Ghana. The much applauded “proverbial Ghanaian hospitality” is symbolized with “Akwaaba” (Akan word which means welcome) sashes and Adinkra ( Akan cultural symbols) symbols woven into Kente Cloths. Most Ghanaian patriotic songs are also written and sung in the dialects of Akan/Twi. The Akans of Ghana have an extraordinary tradition. They have a rich repertoire of folk tales, proverbs, riddles, traditional songs, and poems. The unique cultural markers of the Akan people include the weaving of the Kente Cloth, the artistic uses of the proverb –lore, and the Adinkra symbols. The standard Akan/Twi alphabetical system has 31 graphemes including 9 diagraphs. These graphemes comprise 24 consonants and 7 vowels.

Why Study Akan/Twi at the Critical Languages Center?

The choice of this variety of the Akan language is primarily because of the literary attention given to it in Ghana and the fact that the dialects of the Twi variety (Asante and Akuapem) are mutually intelligible. Twi and Fante (a variety of the Akan language, spoken in the western and Coastal areas) are also mutually intelligible. It is in quintessence the most popular language in the country, spoken by a majority of the people. Visitors to Ghana should have no problem communicating with the people if they know Twi.


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IMPORTANT NOTE for Native/Near-Native Speakers

Critical Language courses are for enthusiastic students seeking practical language skills. Native /near native speakers are NOT allowed to take any CLC courses in their native languages. 101 classes are strictly for total beginners. Any students with background knowledge (including heritage students) of the selected language must contact the CLC director for appropriate class level BEFORE registration. CLC classes are self-instructional and are best suited for highly motivated and disciplined students. Please feel free to explore the languages offered by the CLC.