At a cursory glance, it seems like all of Africa speaks French, English, or Arabic. Indeed, most African countries have set one of these three languages as their lingua franca, uniting their ethnically diverse populations with these imported languages. But the truth of Africa’s linguistic situation is more complicated than that. Africa is home to more than 2,000 indigenous languages, many of which are still spoken in their local communities. Locals simply learn the national and regional lingua francas to communicate with those from farther away.
If we go to West Africa, we find the Gbe languages nestled in the midst of the region’s rich linguistic diversity. Spoken in a dialect continuum along the coasts of eastern Ghana, Togo, Benin, and western Nigeria, the Gbe languages collectively represent around 20 distinct languages and more than 23 million speakers. Some of the languages, such as Ewe, the biggest Gbe language, are widespread and vigorous—Ewe even has status as a national language in Ghana and Togo. Others are small and endangered by the larger, more predominant languages in the area. But what all Gbe languages have in common is a scarcity of translation services, something that we at TranslationServices.com would like to change. That’s why we put together our own translation team for the Gbe languages.
Why not check out a free quote for our Gbe languages translation services? Just reach out and ask!
A more detailed profile of the Gbe languages
The Gbe languages form a branch on Africa’s most prolific language family, the expansive Niger–Congo family, which spans from the westernmost reaches of West Africa all the way down to the southern tip of South Africa. While the Bantu languages are the most well known and plentiful of the family, the Gbe languages come from the Kwa subfamily, a smaller family along the southern West African coast. While there are around 20 Gbe languages in total, they come in five primary groups:
Gen (Gɛ̃, Gɛn gbe, Gebe, Guin, Mina, Mina-Gen, Popo)
Phla–Pherá (Phla alternatively known as Pla, Kpla, Xwla, Hwla, and Fla; Pherá alternatively known as Peda, Fida, Péda, and Houéda)
Ewe is by far the biggest Gbe language, boasting a whopping 20 million speakers in Ghana and Togo. In second place is Fon, recognized as a national language of Benin, trailing far behind with 2.2 million speakers. The Phla–Pherá languages, scattered across Benin, Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria but concentrated in Benin, have around 1.1 million speakers collectively. Finally, Aja is spoken in Benin and Togo by around 550,000 people, while Gen, to a large degree mutually intelligible with Ewe, has around 330,000 speakers also in Benin and Togo.
Regarding grammar, the Gbe languages are tonal and isolating, meaning they prefer to express grammatical relationships through particles and word order than through inflection. Their default word order is subject-verb-object, just like English, although different sentence elements can be brought to the front of the sentence for emphasis. Gbe languages also feature serial verb construction, where two verbs are strung together with no conjunctive markings to indicate consecutive or simultaneous action.
Our Gbe translators are eager to work with you.
The Gbe languages are plentiful, and our Gbe translators have no shortage of passion for their precious languages. Our team is staffed with translators for not only Ewe but also Fon, Gen, Aja, and all other Gbe languages, so regardless of what you need, we’re here for you. What do we translate? Here are some ideas:
Business documents. We have a business translation team all ready to help professionals translate between English and Ewe, Fon, Aja, and other Gbe languages. This could include internal company memos or contracts as well as customer-facing materials like ad copy or press releases. We translate both to and from Gbe languages.
Educational content. Immersing children is the cornerstone of keeping minority languages alive, and educational content is a great way to immerse native-speaking Gbe kids in their own languages. If you want to translate pedagogical materials into Ewe or another Gbe language, let our translators help!
Books, poems, games, website, and apps: Our Gbe translators also specialize in entertainment materials! Whether it’s a nice, long novel or a fun new video game, we can translate all sorts of stories and literary content to and from Gbe languages. This is an excellent way to spread Gbe culture abroad as well as bring exciting new content to an eager audience in West Africa.
Let’s get started with translation to or from Gbe languages today! Contact our team to discuss your needs.