Dagaare language


Dagaare is the maternal language of the Dagaaba people in Ghana and Burkina Faso. It has been described as a dialect continuum that also includes Waale and Birifor.

Native toGhana, Burkina Faso
EthnicityDagaaba people
Native speakers
1.1 million (2001–2003)[1]
Latin (Dagaare alphabet)
Dagaare Braille
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
dga – Southern Dagaare
dgd – Dagaari Dioula
dgi – Northern Dagara
Glottologsout2789  Central Dagaare
daga1272  Dagaari Dioula
nort2780  Northern Dagara
Languages of Burkina Faso.png
Majority areas of Northern Dagara speakers, in red, on a map of Burkina Faso.

Ethnologue divides Dagaare into three languages:

  • Southern/Central Dagaare language, which is spoken mainly in Ghana
  • Northern Dagara language, which is spoken mainly in Burkina Faso
  • Dagaari Dioula, which is spoken mainly in Burkina Faso, and has significant influence from the genetically unrelated Dioula language


The consonant and vowel sounds in the Dagaare languages:[2]


Front Central Back
Close i u
ɪ ʊ
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a


Labial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Labio-
Velar Glottal
voiceless p t t͡ɕ k͡p k ʔ
voiced b d d͡ʑ ɡ͡b ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced v z
implosive ʼh
Nasal plain m n ɲ ŋ͡m ŋ
implosive ʼm
Lateral plain l
implosive ʼl
Approximant j w

Allophones of /d, ɡ/ include [r, ɣ].[3]


  1. ^ Southern Dagaare at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Dagaari Dioula at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Northern Dagara at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Ali M, Grimm S, Ali M (2021). A dictionary and grammatical sketch of Dagaare (pdf). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.5154710. ISBN 978-3-98554-002-0.
  3. ^ Bodomo, Adams (1997). The Structure of Dagaare. Stanford University.

External linksEdit

  • Alphabet and pronunciation at Omniglot
  • Bodomo, Adams, "The Dagaare language and its speakers: Introduction"
  • PanAfriL10n page on Dagaare
  • Bibliography of Dagaare Studies
  • Journal of Dagaare Studies
  • Database of audio recordings in Dagara - basic Catholic prayers