Learn Dagbanli (Dagbanli Bɔhimbu)

What Is The Difference Between Dagbanli and Dagbani

“We use “Dagbanli” when we talk about the language, “Dagbaŋ” when we talk about the kingdom and culture, and “Dagbamba” to reference the people of this community, instead of “Dagbani,” Dagbon” and “Dagomba” respectively as an act of resistance and steps toward decolonization.


In this project, we use the correct spelling of these words to not only challenge the colonial spelling but to truly represent how these words are used by Dagbamba, the people who speak the language in Ghana.”

– Dr. Wunpini F. Mohammed, Ph.D – Assistant Professor at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Georgia, USA

So why do we see Dagbani everywhere instead of Dagbanli?

“When it comes to education, we refer to the language as Dagbani. We know that it is Dagbanli in Tomo dialect and Dagbani in Nayahili dialect, but those who study the language, who we refer to as Dagbani linguists decided that we should refer to the language of study as Dagbaani (I am following the pronunciation here). It is a new name. It is neither Dagbani as it is pronounced by the people of Yendi and its environs nor Dagbanli by the Tomo people. It is a coinage but written as the way the Nayahili speakers write it. We do not want to use two names for it. It will not speak well of us.


The speakers of Dagbani are Dagbamba (singular, Dagbana) and not Dagomba. That’s how we refer to ourselves. They could not say Dagbamba but Dagomba. We prefer the way we call ourselves to that of the whiteman.
Dagbamba refer to the current Dagbamba, ŋmampirisi and Nanumba. They all speak Dagbani, each has its own dialect. So, I want say that Dagbanli, Dagbani and Nanunli are all dialects of Dagbani. But we do not study each dialect. We rather study Dagbani.”

Mr Pazzack Adam – University of Education, Winneba, Ghana · Department of Applied Linguistics


On this site, we have chosen to use Dagbanli as the name of the language, to truly reflect how the people call it. We are not an academic source of learning the language and do not claim to be. We do not represent a source for higher language acquisition nor a source of study for official language tests. We are pushing an initiative to digitize the Dagbanli language and culture and to seek support from professionals in creating quality content. Every lesson is up for review and as such, we welcome all corrections and suggestions.

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