Język Ewe - Ewe language - Eʋegbe

Ewe sounds and pronunciation

This page will serve as a reference to Ewe sounds and pronunciation. As with other sections, its beginnings are very modest, but it will gradually grow, becoming more comprehensive and better organised.


There are seven oral vowels in Ewe: i e ɛ a ɔ o u. Of these, i a and u are straightforward (as in Spanish or Italian). The remaining four form a closed-open pairs: ɛ is an "open e" and e is a "closed e". Similarly, ɔ is "open o" and o is "closed o".

All vowels apart from e and o have nasal counterparts, which are normally written down with a tilde (~) over the letter, but by far not all fonts support this.


Lets start with the easy consonants: p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, s, z, h, m, n, l, r, y, w need no explanation as they're pronounced more or less like their English equivalents. ŋ marks the sounds of ng in English word "singing" ny is the sound of ni in "onion". ts and dz are pronounced as one sound each, but before i they can sound like English ch and j. kp and gb are also pronounced as one sound (k and p or g and b are pronounced simultaneously) and are quite difficult sounds to make. x is the throaty ch sound in German Bach or Scottish loch and ɣ is x's voiced counterpart. ɖ is a d but with tongue curled backwards and touching the palate (not the teeth/gums). Lastly, ƒ ʋ are like regular f and v but pronounced with both lips coming close to each other (and not lower lip and upper teeth coming close)


There are two distinctive tones in Ewe, but they come in several variants and combinations. Altogether the number of acoustically different tones is five. As the topic merits a more serious discussion we shall return to it later on.

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