Kwa Languages

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kwa Languages


(Guinean languages), a family of languages spoken in the eastern part of the Ivory Coast, southern Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, and the southwestern part of Nigeria. The Kwa languages are spoken by approximately 34 million people (1967). According to the classification of the American scholar J. Greenberg, they constitute a subfamily of the Niger-Kordofanian language family. He includes in the Kwa language family the Kru, Ivory Coast Lagoon, Akan, Ga, and Adangbe language groups and the Ewe, Yoruba, Nupe, Bini, Ibo, and Ijo languages.

The Kwa languages are of the isolating type. The consonant system includes coarticulated labio-velars: voiced gb and voiceless kp. In Ewe an alveolar consonant is opposed to a retroflex consonant. Tones, including tonal combinations (rising or falling), play an important role in distinguishing words. Most roots are monosyllabic. The rudiments of a noun class system, without concord, exist in the morphology of some languages (for example, Twi). In many Kwa languages, nouns have a special prefix marker (vowel or nasal) that distinguishes them from verbs (in Twi, Yoruba, Ewe, and Nupe). In the verb, grammatical functions are expressed by means of affixes, auxiliaries, reduction, and word order, and, less frequently, by changes in tone (Twi, Azande, Ewe).


Hintze, U. Bibliographic der Kwa-Sprachen und der Togo-Restvölker. Berlin, 1959.
Greenberg, J. H. The Languages of Africa. Bloomington, 1963.
Westermann, D. Languages of West Africa. London, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kwa bofelong dub tse pedi tse o ne a di rata thata, di ile tsa nna le bonno mo botshelong jwa gagwe, ka jab o nnile sethakga le motshwantshi wa losika.
Debt service on KWA's outstanding bonds are secured by contractual payments from Genesee County and the City of Flint, which are secured by the GOLT pledges of the county and city for their respective contractual payments.
Sensitive as it is to its context, KWA's Athlone project owes little to Irish exemplars, even of a recent vintage.
Debra Rafe of KWA said: "People can get so caught up in learning about the company they are being interviewed by or what their CV contains in exact detail that they forget that a happy healthy smile and a firm handshake make the first impression," she said.
Wu Lan's quest for self-discovery also sparks an obsession with reading about the plight of ah kus in Singapore nearly a century earlier, women in whom she recognizes kindred spirits for reasons that Kwa never makes fully clear.
A unique feature of kwa disease is that the patients themselves do not seem to suffer, although anyone unfortunate enough to be in the audience most certainly does.
A re batsadi ba bana ba bone ba tsenang kwa Mogale le fa ba bilediwa ngwana a sa tsoga ga ba ke ba tsiboga, mo go felelang e nna morwalo wa barutabana.
Ms Amina Yusuf who lives in a house next to the trench narrated how two years ago two children were swept away by storm water while they were crossing the foot bridge and died.Students cross a makeshift wooden bridge in Kwa Rhonda estate in Nakuru as they go to school.
Agnes kwa parukanga mu mpatakani, pangurova uye ka kushonga pashure kurona yaUNAM shishongwa sha kuhamena ku lihungomwenyo (social work) okuno uye murughani kuUminisiteri waMina namukuhamitiri mo muliparu lyamunkarapamwe.
She joins KWA from employment law consultancy Peninsula Business Services, where she was responsible for developing new accounts in the business-to-business sector.
During a leave of absence from her work as a psychologist, Wu Lan (Kwa's most pronounced narrator) struggles to come to terms with her father's suicide, the disconnection from her family and culture in Singapore, and the loss of her lover.
Now gentle one-year-old Kwa Kwa can look forward to a long life of eating bananas and swinging from trees.