Twi (Akan: [tɕᶣi]; also known as Akan Kasa) is a dialect of the Akan language spoken in southern and central Ghana by several million people, mainly of the Akan peoples, the biggest of the about 17 major ethnicities/peoples in Ghana and forms about 29% of the Ghanaian population as a first and second language.[7][3] Twi is a common name for two former literary dialects of the Akan language; Asante (Ashanti) and Akuapem, which are mutually intelligible. There are about 9 million Twi speakers, mainly originating from the Ashanti Region[1][3] and about a total of 17–18 million Ghanaians as either first or second languages. Akuapem Twi was the first Akan dialect to be used for Bible translation, and became the prestige dialect as a result.[8] It is also spoken by the Southeastern people of Cote D'Ivoire.

Akan Kasa
Native toAshanti
EthnicityAsante people, Akuapem, Fante
Native speakers
9 million[1][2] (2015)[1][3][4]
Official status
Official language in
Ashanti City-State and the Ashanti City-State capital Kumasi
Ghana (both dialects used in national status)
Regulated byAkan Orthography Committee
Language codes
ISO 639-1tw Twi
ISO 639-2twi
ISO 639-3twi

Writing system

The 22 letters of the Twi alphabet are:

Majuscule forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)
Minuscule forms (also called lowercase or small letters)
a b d e ɛ f g h i k l m n o ɔ p r s t u w y

Letters C, J, V and Z are also used, but only in loanwords.[9]


Pronunciation of the Twi (Akan) letters:[10]


Twi consonants
Labial Alveolar Post-alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal voiced m ⟨m⟩ n ⟨n⟩ ɲ ⟨ny, n⟩ ŋ ⟨ng, n⟩
labialisation nʷ ⟨nw⟩
Stop voiced b ⟨b⟩ d ⟨d⟩ g ⟨g⟩
aspirated pʰ ⟨p⟩ tʰ ⟨t⟩ kʰ ⟨k⟩
labialisation kʷ ⟨kw⟩
Affricate aspirated t͡ɕʰ ~ c͡çʰ ⟨ky⟩
voiced d͡ʒ ⟨dw⟩ d͡ʑ ~ ɟ͡ʝ ⟨gy⟩
labialisation t͡ɕʷ ⟨tw⟩
Fricative voiceless f ⟨f⟩ s ⟨s⟩ ç ⟨hy⟩ h ⟨h⟩
labialisation hʷ ⟨hw⟩
Approximant j ⟨y⟩
Tap/Flap ɾ ⟨r⟩ ɽ ⟨r⟩
Trill r ⟨r⟩
Lateral l ⟨l⟩
Co-articulated consonants
Labialized velar
Approximant w ⟨w⟩
Letters Sounds
A a [a/æ]
E e [e/i]
Ɛ ɛ [ɛ]
I i [ɪ]
O o [o/ʊ]
Ɔ ɔ [ɔ]
U u [u]
Letters Sounds
ao [ao]
ei [ei]
ia [ia]
ie [ie]
ii [iː]
oo [oː]
ue [ue]
uo [uo]


Asante Twi numbers and Akuapem Twi numbers[11]
Number Asante akontaabudeɛ (Dodoɔ) Akuapem akontaabude
1/2 ɛfa fa
0 ohunu
1 baako baako/biako/koro
2 mmienu ebien
3 mmiɛnsa abiɛsa
4 nnan/ɛnan anan
5 enum/nnum anum
6 nsia asia
7 nson ason
8 nwɔtwe awɔtwe
9 nkron akron
10 edu du
11 du baako du baako
12 du mmienu du mien
13 du mmiɛnsa du mmiɛnsa
14 du nan du nan
15 du num du num
20 aduonu aduonu
21 aduonu baako aduonu baako
22 aduonu mmienu aduonu abien
30 aduasa aduasa
40 aduannan / aduanan aduanan
45 aduanan num / aduannan num aduanan num
46 aduanan nsia / aduannan nsia aduanan nsia
50 aduonum / aduonnum aduonum
58 aduonum-nwɔtwe/aduonnum-nwɔtwe aduonum-nwɔtwe
100 ɔha ɔha
200 ahanu ahanu
500 ahanum ahanum
1000 apem apem
2000 mpennu mpennu
8000 mpem nwɔtwe mpem nwɔtwe
9000 mpem nkron mpem nkron
10,000 ɔpedu ɔpedu
100,000 ɔpeha ɔpeha
1,000,000 ɔpepem ɔpepem
2,000,000 ɔpepennu ɔpepennu
1,000,000,000 ɔpepepem / ɔpepepeepee ɔpepepem


Number Asante


(number of times)



English translation
1 prɛko pɛnkoro once
2 mprɛnu mprenu twice
3 mprɛsa mprɛsa three times
4 mprɛnan mprɛnan four times
11 mprɛ du-baako mpɛn du-baako eleven times
100 mprɛ ɔha mpɛn ɔha one hundred times
many mprɛ pii mpɛn pii many times

Common phrases

Asante English translation
Wo din de sɛn? What is your name?
Yɛfrɛ me Kwaku Peter My name is Kwaku Peter
Bra ha / Bra ɛha Come here
Medaase / meda wo ase Thank you
Ɛkɔm de me / kɔm de me I am hungry
Akwaaba Welcome
Meretɔ adeɛ I am buying something
Meretɔ kosua I am buying an egg
Ɛte sɛn? / Wo ho te sɛn? How are you?
Ɛyɛ I'm good / It is good / I'm fine
Wowɔ hene? Where are you?
Mewɔ ha / mewɔ ɛha I am here
Worekɔ hene? Worekɔ he? Where are you going to?
Merekɔ Kumasi I am going to Kumasi
Onyankopɔn nhyira wo / Nyankopɔn nhyira wo God bless you

Comparison between Asante Twi and Akuapem Twi:

Asante Akuapem English translation
Nnipa ahe na ɛbaeɛ? Nnipa baahe na ɛbae? How many people came?
Edu ne du yɛ aduonu Du ne du yɛ aduonu Ten plus (and) ten make twenty
Yi edu firi aduonu mu Yi du fi aduonu mu Subtract ten from twenty
Kyɛ deɛ wobɛnya no mu mmienu Kyɛ nea wubenya no mu abien Divide the answer that you will get by two
Fa nsia yɛ ɛnan ahoroeɛ Fa Asia yɛ anan ahorow Multiply six by four
Kan wo nsateaa Kan wo nsateaa Count on your fingers
Wobɛtumi akan adeɛ akɔsi apem? Wubetumi akan akosi apem Can you count up to one thousand?
Matwerɛ me yere prɛko Makyerɛw me yere pɛnkoro pɛ I wrote my wife once
Ɔtwerɛɛ nkrataa nwɔtwe nnora Ɔkyerɛw nkrataa awotwe nnɛra S/he wrote eight letters yesterday
Woatwerɛ wo nuabaa mprɛ pii Woakyerɛw wo nuabea mpɛn pii You have written your sister many times
Abarimaa no abu ano (nkonta) mmiɛnsa Abarimaa no abu ano (nkontaa) abiɛsa The boy has made three calculations
Ɔpɛ anobuo (nkonta) Ɔpɛ anobu (akontaabu) He likes arithmetic


Akan is used in local media, such as programming on GTV (Ghana) and Asempa FM, and is used in education.

The first doctoral thesis in Twi was published in 2017 by Nana Anima Wiafe-Akenten.[12]

Naming system

The Ashantis use a system of giving the first name to a child, based on the day of the week that the child was born, which is commonly done in Ghana. Almost all the tribes and clans in Ghana do a similar thing.

The Ashanti (Asantes) day naming system is as follows:

Day Male name Female name
Ɛdwoada (Monday) Kwadwo, Kojo Adwoa
Ɛbenada (Tuesday) Kwabena Abena
Wukuada (Wednesday) Kweku, Kwaku Akua
Yawoada (Thursday) Yaw Yaa
Efiada (Friday) Kofi Afia
Memenda / Memenada (Saturday) Kwame Ama
Kwasiada (Sunday) Akwasi (Kwasi) Asi (Akosua)


  1. "Asante » Asante Twi (Less Commonly Taught Languages)". University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. University of Michigan.
  2. "Asante – Asante Twi".
  3. "Asante » Asante Twi".
  4. Akan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  5. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Akuapem". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  6. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Asante". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  7. Jane Garry, Carl R. Galvez Rubino, "Facts about the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present", H.W. Wilson, USA, 2001, page 8
  8. Ager, Simon. "Omniglot". Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  9. "Language Guide". The African Linguists Network Blog. 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  10. "Akan languages, alphabet and pronunciation". Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  11. "Numbers in Twi (Twi Akontaabudeɛ/Dodoɔ)". Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  12. "Nana Anima Wiafe-Akenten becomes first PhD holder in Twi". 2017-07-30. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
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