What Languages Are Spoken In Togo?

Togolese women in Sokodé.
Togolese women in Sokodé.

What Languages Are Spoken In Togo?

Togo is a multilingual country, the official language is French, and national languages are Ewé and Kabiyé. French is also the formal written language in Togo. Besides, the Togolese have a French-modeled government structure. Togolese speak little English. Mina is the working language in Mobaa, Tem, and Fula. In total Togo has more than forty languages both imported and native languages. The Togolese people usually speak their African mother tongue but when in school French becomes a mandatory language. However, deaf education uses American Sign Language which was introduces by Andrew Foster, an American missionary.

French, The Official Language Of Togo

French has a long history in Togo. Since the country was a French Colony during the colonialism error, the language managed to infiltrate every sector and home in Togo. Today French is the official language. The language is spoken in public, used by the government and it is the trade language. Since it is a national language, Francais becomes alternate French name with an Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Galo-Romance, Galo-Iberian, Western, and Italo-Western. 30%-37% of the population speaks French. In the last 15 years, the use of French as an official and national language has developed considerably especially since French forms an important part of Togolese schools’ curriculum. Even though French is a foreign tongue, it has gradually attained a Togolese identity, and it has also embraced the cultural realities of the country. During independence, the government made French the National language of Togo, and hence it became the most type of written language in the country.

National Languages Of Togo


The Ewe language is one of the two national languages of Togo, the other being Kabiyé. It is spoken in the Maritime and Plateau areas of Kpalime, Notse, Atakpame, and Tsevie. Ewe is the predominant language of southern Togo. Ewe dialect belongs to Gbe, a group of related languages the other being Fon. Ewe is tonal in that pitch differences distinguish one word from another, a common characteristic of African languages. For example, to ‘mortar’ is a rising tone, to ‘mountain’ a high tone, and to ‘buffalo’ a low tone. When in written form, the African Reference Alphabet is applied such that when written, Ewe appears like a mixture of the International Phonetic Alphabet and Latin.


Kabiyé is also a national language dominating the regions of Kozah and Binah prefectures, the Central and Plateau regions, and Soutouboua, Wawa, and Amlane prefectures. Kabiyé is an Eastern Gurunsi language. By 1999 about 23% of the population spoke Kabiyé. As the national language in Togo, Kabiyé is promoted in national media and also used as an optional exam subject in the 9 and ten grades. Like the Ewe language, Kabiyé is also a tonal language. The contrasts may occur in lexical terms like a dalu-elder brother, and dalu-intestinal worm, or in a grammatical context such as, ɛɛkɔŋ́ to mean he isn’t coming and ɛ́ɛkɔ́ŋ to say he comes. When in written form, writers use the modified Roman script based on the African reference alphabet.

Other Languages Of Togo

The Gen language is predominant in Southeast Togo and some Maritime regions. The neighboring countries call the Gen speakers “Mina.” Tem is also a widely spoken language especially in the Kara region, the Central region, the Bafilo sub-prefecture, as well as Sokode, Sotouboua, and Bafilo. The Gbe language is also common in southern Togo. Gbe concentrates in Vogan, Tagligbo, and Attitigon. It is part of the Gbe language subgroup.

Togo has three types of languages, the national and official language which is French, the Kwa languages such as Gbe spoken in the South, and Gur languages like Kabiyé spoken in the north. Living in Togo requires one to know French. Every sector of the economy uses French as the trading language. Also, printed materials are also in Francais.

What Languages Are Spoken In Togo?

RankCategory Of LanguageLanguage
1Official languagesFrench
2National languagesEwé; Kabiyé
3Interethnic languagesFrench, Mina

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