Ghana’s national language is English, a heritage of its former colonial status. It is the main language of government and instruction.
Ghanaians speak a distinctive West African version of English as a standard form, involving such usages as chop (eat) and dash (gift). English is invariably a second language. Mother tongues include over sixty indigenous languages.
Akan is the most widely spoken and has acquired informal national language status. In addition to the large number of native speakers, many members of other groups learn Akan as a second language and use it fluently for intergroup communication. Ga-Adangme and Ewe are the next major languages. Hausa, a Nigerian language, is spoken as a trade language among peoples from the north. Many Ghanaians are multilingual, speaking one or two indigenous languages beside their native dialects and English. Although Ghana is bounded by francophone nations on all sides, few Ghanaians are proficient in French.