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- Alternate names & spellings: Twi, Fante.
- Language ISO code: ak/aka
- Number of speakers: About 7 million speakers.
- Writing system: Latin alphabet
- Spoken in: Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo.
The Akan language is the language of the Akan people originally from Ghana. The language is also spoken in central and eastern part of Ivory Coast and central Togo.
Akan is part from the group Kwa which in turn belongs to the Niger- Congo language family. It is the most spoken indigenous language in Ghana, as a first and second language, being English the official language. Out of the African continent, Akan is also spoken in South America (Suriname and Jamaica) where was introduced as a result of the slave trade.
The Akan ethnic group is related in history to the archaeological monuments from the West African Iron Age (5th AD) such as metal and wood artefacts. Later on, in the thirteen century they migrated from the north to the coastal areas of the south. Historically, the Akan people from Ghana are well-known from their rich culture, all of it usually expressed in proverbs as well as in symbolic drawings found in carvings, making them really interested for the historians.
As it is usual with African languages, Akan was started to be used in written documents with the arrival of the European missionaries from 17th and 18th centuries on.
Today the language is taught in primary school and studied in university and it is used in some radio broadcasts in addition of being studied in prestige American universities.
There are three different Akan standard forms at the time, each of them with a different orthography. These three forms, Asante, Akuapem and Fante, were developed in the nineteenth century and although they are mutually intelligible, each form is understandable to speakers of other dialects.