The Kwa languages are a subgroup of the Southern Volta -Congo branch of the Niger - Congo languages .
Together with the Benue - Congo languages , they form the south branch of the Volta - Congo. The approximately 75 - Kwa languages are spoken by 21 million people in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and southwestern Nigeria. Neighbors to the north are the Gur languages , in the east the central Nigerian languages in the West Mande and Kru languages. All neighboring language groups thus also belong to the Niger - Congo.
Significant Kwa languages
The most significant Kwa languages are:
- Akan ( Twi and Fante ): one of the main languages ( or language groups ) of Ghana with 10 million speakers
- Ewe: 4 million speakers in Southeast Ghana and Togo
- Baule: 2 million speakers in Ivory Coast
- Fon 1.7 million speakers, mainly in Benin
- Ga - Dangme: 1,4 million speakers in the district of Accra
- Anyin: 1 million speakers in the Ivory Coast and Ghana
The name " Kwa " was introduced in 1885 by Gottlob Krause. The summary of the Kwa languages was first to typological criteria ( presence of Labiovelaren, tonal languages , the absence of almost all the morphological elements such as Klassenaffixe and derivational ). For Diedrich Westermann ( 1927) Kwa formed a sub-group of Westsudanischen, for Joseph Greenberg (1963), a primary branch of the Niger - Congo. He shared the Kwa languages in eight subunits and built the central Togo languages ( "Togo residual languages," Today Na - Togo and Ka - Togo) in the Kwa group. Bennett and Sterk (1977 ) Greenberg's Kwa reduced by
- The little uniform eastern Kwa sub-groups added as " West Benue - Congo " to the Benue - Congo,
- The Ijoiden languages established as an independent primary branch of the Niger - Congo and
- The Kru as an independent unit of the North Volta - Congo auffassten.
The remaining "new" Kwa is consistent with Greenberg's "West -Kwa ". His position in the Niger - Congo is derived from the following diagram:
Position of the Kwa within the Niger - Congo
- Niger - Congo Volta - Congo Southern Volta - Congo Kwa
- Benue - Congo
This approach is generally accepted today with minor modifications. The internal classification of the (new ) Kwa follows Williamson Blench ( in Heine Nurse 2000), there are all Kwa languages listed with their numbers of speakers (based on the below links).
Internal classification of the Kwa languages
- Kwa Ega: Ega (3 thousand)
- Avikam - Alaidian: Avikam (20 thousand), Aladian (25 thousand)
- Agnéby: Abe (170 thousand), Adyukuru (100 thousand), Abidji (50 thousand)
- Attie: Attie (400 thousand)
- Potou - Tano Potou: Ebrie ( Tyama ) (80 thousand), Mbato (25 thousand)
- Tano ( Volta Komoe ) Krobu: Krobu (10 thousand)
- Abure - Beti: Abure (55 thousand), Beti (3 thousand)
- Akan - Bia Akan Akan ( Twi - Fante ) ( 8 million, with a second language 10 million), Abron (750 thousand), Vasa (180 thousand), Basa
- Bia: Baule ( 2 million), Anyin ( 1 million), Sehwi (200 thousand), Anufo (100 thousand); Nzema (350 thousand), Ahanta (100 thousand); Jwira - Pepesa
- North: Gonya (250 thousand), crashes (60 thousand), Chumburung (40 thousand), Nkonya (20 thousand), dwang (10 thousand), Foodo (15 thousand), Giklyode (10 thousand), Kplang (10 thousand), Nawuri (15 thousand), Anyanga (10 thousand), Nchumbulu, Dompo
- South: Awutu - Efutu (100 thousand), Gua ( Larteh - Anum - Boso - Cherepon ) (150 thousand)
- Lelemi: Lelemi - Lefana (40 thousand), Siwu (20 thousand); Sekpele (15 thousand), Sele ( Santrokofi ) (10 thousand)
- Logba: Logba (5 thousand)
- Anii -Adele: Anii (10 thousand), Adele (20 thousand)
- Avatime - Nyangbo: Avatime (15 thousand), Nyangbo (5 thousand), Tafi
- Kposo - Bowiri: Akposo (100 thousand), Bowiri (10 thousand), Igo ( Ahlo );
- Kebu Animere: Akebu (40 thousand), Animere
- Ewe: Ewe (3-4 million)
- Gen: Mina (Gen ) (300 thousand, with second speakers 1 million)
- Aja: Aja (500 thousand), Gun ( 500 thousand), Ayizo (230 thousand), Tofin (65 thousand), Weme (60 thousand), Xwala (30 thousand), Toli, Seto
- Fon: Fon ( 1.7 million ), Maxi ( 100 thousand)
- Waci: Waci (500 thousand)
- Other: Xweda (55 thousand ), Co (20 thousand), Aguna, Kpessi, Saxwe, Wudu, Ci
The Kwa languages have varying degrees of noun class systems; while that of the Ega is fully established, other Kwa languages reduced or rudimentary systems. Usually in the morphology of prefixes are used, there are some Pluralsuffixe. The Anlautkonsonant can alternate, but has no semantic, but only phonetic reasons. Causatives, Reflexive ( "self- love" ) and reciprocal ( " love each other " ) are formed by means of verbal derivations suffixes. There are independent and dependent personal pronoun subject, object and possessive pronouns. The third person pronouns distinguish animate and inanimate categories. The word order is SVO, usually no prepositions and postpositions are used. The noun phrase has no uniform structure, are often genitive noun, possessive noun, noun adjective, however, noun noun numeral and demonstrative.
Examples of noun phrases formation from the Akan (without sound mark ):
- Ghana Man " the country of Ghana "
- Abofara no Nhoma lit. " The child his book ," " the book of the child" (here with the possessive no)
- Mmara foforo " a new law " ( mmara "law" foforo "new")
- Mmara ha " this Act "
Several Kwa languages have a serial verb construction. If a number of verbs in the same tense - mode - aspect function occur in succession that have the same subject and object pronominal subject and object are only marked the first verb.
Almost all Kwa languages are tonal languages , there are usually two, sometimes three different pitches (eg in the Akan and Ewe ), in some Kwa languages even four basic tones. The clay structure is by so-called key lowering further complicated the in a gradation of tone ( step down ) or a Tonabgleiten ( downglide ) can exist. In some Kwa languages , there are vowel harmony; thus determines the vowel harmony in Akan ( tense and lax vowel series / i, e, a, o, u / and / ɨ, ɛ, ɑ, o, ʋ / ), the vowel structure of possessive and Subjektspronomina function of the vocal coloration of the trunk.