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[Mamandel 18:56, 9 May 2011 (UTC)]



Language summary

(Information primarily from Ethnologue, 2010-02-22)

  • ISO 639-3 code: ewe
  • Population: 2,250,000 in Ghana (2003), increasing. Total all countries: 3,112,000.
  • Also spoken in: Togo
  • Alternate names: Ebwe, Efe, Ehwe, Eibe, Eue, Eʋ+egbe, Eve, Gbe, Krepe, Krepi, Popo, Vhe.
  • Dialects: Adan, Agu, Anglo (Anlo, Awlan), Aveno, Awuna, Be, Gbin, Ho, Hudu, Kotafoa, Kpelen, Togo, Vlin, Vo. Westernmost language of the Gbe language subgroup.
  • Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Left Bank, Gbe

Linguistic notes


Ewe is written in the Roman alphabet with several additions, mostly based on IPA, and with diacritics (not always used) for tone and nasalization. Here is the alphabet in sequence:

a   b   d   ɖ   dz   e   ɛ   f   ƒ   g   gb   ɣ   h   i   k   kp   l   m   n   ny   ŋ   o   ɔ   p   r   s   t   ts   u   v   ʋ   w   x   y   z

The digraphs are treated as two-letter sequences for capitalization (e.g. "Dzebi", but "ABƆDZEINYANSAPƐ"). The non-ASCII characters have the following uppercase forms and Unicode values:

lowercase uppercase
ɖ (U+0256) Đ (U+0110)
ɛ (U+025b) Ɛ (U+0190)
ƒ (U+0192) Ƒ (U+0191)
ɣ (U+0263) Ɣ (U+0194)
ŋ (U+014b) Ŋ (U+014a)*
ɔ (U+0254) Ɔ (U+0186)
ʋ (U+028b) Ʋ (U+01b2)

*Uppercase engma (U+014a) has several rendering forms. See discussion and alternatives offered by SIL.

Linguistic resources


  • Dzablu-Kumah, Simon Wellington. 2006. Basic Ewe for Foreign Students. Institüt für Afrikanistik, Universität zu Köln. PDF
  • Kozelka, Paul R. 1980. Ewe (for Togo): Grammar Handbook. Peace Corps Language Handbook Series. ERIC #ED203709. -- No tone markings, according to Schuh
  • Warburton, Irene; Ikpotufe, Prosper; Glover, Roland. 1968. Ewe Basic Course. Indiana University - African Studies Program. ERIC #ED028444
    • Recorded materials at Indiana University Bloomington. (Internet Explorer & IUB Password required)


Topical word lists



  • Agbedor, Paul. 1994. Verb Serialization in Ewe. Nordic Journal of African Studies 3(1):115–135. PDF
  • Ameka, Felix K. 1995. The linguistic construction of space in Ewe. Cognitive Linguistics (includes Cognitive Linguistic Bibliography). Volume 6, Issue 2-3, Pages 139–182, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: 10.1515/cogl.1995.6.2-3.139. Published Online: 08/10/2009.
  • Ameka, Felix K. 2003. Multiverb constructions in a West African areal typological perspective. TROSS03 (Trondheim Summer School in Multi-Verb Constructions). PDF
    "My aim in this paper is to take a step back and examine the properties of multiverb sequences in the languages on the West African coast, mainly “Old” Kwa languages, especially Akan, Ewe, Likpe, Fon and Yoruba, in which “uncontroversial” cases of serial verb constructions have been found and to propose ways and means of distinguishing between the various multi-verb constructions."

Linguistic portals and bibliographies

(Prof. Russell G. Schuh of UCLA had a page of "References for Ewe", which was helpful in starting this resource page; but he has removed it from the Web as being long out of date. [p.c., 2010-02-23])

From Wikipedia

The following list is copied directly from Wikipedia [Accessed 2010-02-23]:

  • Ansre, Gilbert (1961) The Tonal Structure of Ewe. MA Thesis, Kennedy School of Missions of Hartford Seminary Foundation.
  • Ameka, Felix Kofi (2001) 'Ewe'. In Garry and Rubino (eds.), Fact About the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present, 207-213. New York/Dublin: The H.W. Wilson Company.
  • Clements, George N. (1975) 'The logophoric pronoun in Ewe: Its role in discourse', Journal of West African Languages 10(2): 141-177
  • Collins, Chris. (1993) Topics in Ewe Syntax. Doctoral Dissertation, MIT.
  • Capo, Hounkpati B.C. (1991) A Comparative Phonology of Gbe, Publications in African Languages and Linguistics, 14. Berlin/New York: Foris Publications & Garome, Bénin: Labo Gbe (Int).
  • Pasch, Helma (1995) Kurzgrammatik des Ewe Köln: Köppe.
  • Westermann, Diedrich Hermann (1930) A Study of the Ewe Language London: Oxford University Press.

Encoding and Fonts




Lists of Unicode fonts

  • Alan Wood’s Unicode Resources: Unicode fonts for Windows computers.
  • Wazu Japan's Gallery of Unicode fonts
  • WorldLanguage.com Ewe language fonts: AfroRoman® in Unicode™ is available for both Windows and Macintosh ... Unicode-encoded fonts in TrueType® OpenType® format in five typestyles... supports more than 1540 African languages, plus English and other west European (or Latin 1) languages.
    • N.B.: The product at the top of the page is an ASCII version. [Accessed 2011-05-19]


There may be some electronic text in Ewe that is not in Unicode. Although it concentrates on scripts of South Asia, this utility may be helpful:

  • Unicodify: From Lancaster University, producers of the Emille corpus. For Windows; source code available.


Data Sources

Monolingual Text


  • Kpodoga
  • Mortabiala
  • Nutifafa

Apparently these have all ceased publication. Kpodoga ran from 1976 to 1983 (Obeng-Quaidoo 1988, below, p.3). The launch of Nutifafa was announced in the English-language Ghanaian newspaper The Statesman (2007-05-22), but it is unclear whether it was ever actually published. (Web searches for "Nutifafa" yield many irrelevant search hits, many as a personal name.)

The article includes the sentence "Previous Ewe language newspapers were Mortabiala and Kpodoga", implying that Mortabiala was also extinct.

Confusingly, the article ends with the sentence, apparently referring to the nascent Nutifafa:

The tabloid size quarterly featured stories mainly on religious and social issues with a cover price of ¢5,000.
Studies of Ewe publications
  • Obeng-Quaidoo, Isaac. 1988. Assessment of the experience in the production of messages and programmes for rural communication systems: The case of the Wonsuom Project in Ghana. International Communication Gazette. Jan 1988; vol. 42: pp. 53 - 67. PDF.
  • Opare-Abetia, J. 1982. Kpodoga, an experiment in the uses of a rural community newspaper : a report on a workshop sponsored by Unesco on the use of a rural community newspaper in the use of the mother tongue in education and the preservation of cultural identit,[sic] Tsito, August 27-31, 1981. Legon : Institute of Adult Education, University of Ghana. Worldcat



  • Ghana Language Board. Schuh mentioned elementary school books produced by this group, probably included those shown in this Flickr album: "Photos of Ghana Science Books printed by the Ghana Language Board in the 1960s"

Word lists

Parallel Text



IPR notes


Tools and Other NLP Resources


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