Learn Dagbanli (Dagbanli Bɔhimbu)

What Is The Dagbanli Language?

Dagbanli is a language spoken by the Dagombas, primarily located in Ghana. The Dagbambas (or Dagombas in literature) are one of the most widespread and numerous peoples of Northern Ghana. They have two principal centres, Tamale and Yendi, centred in the Northern territories.

The language, Dagbani or Dagbanli, is widely known as a first or second language in north-eastern Ghana.

Dagbanli is a Gur language, meaning, it belongs to the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 70 languages belonging to this group. They are spoken in the Sahelian and savanna regions of West Africa, namely: in Burkina Faso, southern Mali, northeastern Ivory Coast, the northern halves of Ghana and Togo, northwestern Benin, and southwestern Niger.

Dagbanli is a tonal language in which pitch is used to distinguish words. The tonal systems of Gur languages are rather divergent. Most Gur languages have been described as following the model of a two tone downstep system.  A phenomenon in tone languages in which if two syllables have the same tone (for example, both with a high tone or both with a low tone), the second syllable is lower in pitch than the first.

Native Dagbanli speakers are estimated to be over 1,160,000 (2013). It is a compulsory subject in primary and junior high school in the Dagbon Kingdom of Ghana.

Dagbanli has a major dialect split between Eastern Dagbani, centred on the traditional capital town of Yendi, and Western Dagbani, centred on the administrative capital of the Northern Region, Tamale.

The dialects are, however, mutually intelligible, and mainly consist of different root vowels in some lexemes, and different forms or pronunciations of some nouns, particularly those referring to local flora.

The words Dagbani and Dagbanli given above for the name of the language are respectively the Eastern and Western dialect forms of the name, but the Dagbani Orthography Committee resolved that “It was decided that in the spelling system <Dagbani> is used to refer to the language, and <Dagbanli> … to the life and culture”;[5][original research?] in the spoken language, each dialect used its form of the name for both functions.

Dagbani is written in Latin alphabet with the addition of the apostrophe, the letters ɛ, ɣ, ŋ, ɔ, and ʒ, and the digraphs ch, gb, kp, and ny.

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Lesson by:
Rasheeda Yehuza