The Akan (Twi-Fante) Language: Its Sound Systems and Tonal Structure


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Akan, the most widely spoken language in Ghana, is also the most studied Ghanaian language, with a large number of publications in and on the language. Three of its dialects, Akuapem, Asante and Fante, have literary status, and each has an orthography that reflects the peculiarities of the particular dialect. The differences between the dialects exist more in the sound systems than in the grammar. Some of these have been discussed in academic journals in a language that only a specialist in Linguistics can understand.

This book presents in a relatively non-technical language, a comprehensive discussion of the sound systems and tonal structure of the language as a whole, pointing out the differences between the major dialects, and explaining the rationale for the Unified Akan Orthography. The last chapter summarises the major decisions of the Akan Orthography Committee on the Unified Akan Orthography.

FLORENCE ABENA DOLPHYNE is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ghana. She has many publications on Akan phonology.

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Florence A. Dolphyne

Professor Florence Abena Dolphyne is a retired professor of Linguistics.

Prof. Dolphyne served the University of Ghana for 36 years after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Ghana in 1958 and a PhD in Phonetics and Linguistics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1965. From a lecturer in the department of Linguistics, she rose through the ranks to become the Head of Department and later the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, currently known as the School of Arts. She was later promoted to the status of a Professor in Linguistics and advanced to become the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University. She taught at the University in the Department of Linguistics from 1965 to 2001.

In 2004, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University. She was also a member of the University of Ghana Council. She has served on many boards and societies in Ghana.

She has published several books, including The Akan (Twi-Fante) language: Its Sound Systems and Tonal Structure, A Course in Oral English and the accompanying Teachers’ Handbook, and the best-selling Emancipation of Women: An African Perspective.

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The Akan (Twi-Fante) Language: Its Sound Systems and Tonal Structure


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