• Language: Éwé
  • Alternate names: Ebwe, Efe, Eibe, Eue, Eve, Gbe, Krepe, Krepi, Popo, Vhe
  • Language code: ewe
  • Language family: Niger-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa Volta-Congo, Gbe, Western Gbe, Eweic
  • Number of speakers: 3112000
  • Script: Braille script. Latin script, used since 1850s, primary usage.

More information:


    Ewe is a language spoken in Togo and southeastern Ghana by approximately 4.5 million people as a first language and a million or so more as a second language. Ewe is part of a cluster of related languages commonly called Gbe; the other major Gbe language is Fon of Benin. Like many African languages, Ewe is tonal.

    The Éwé Verb

    Ewe is an aspect rather than a tense language. Habitual aspect is the only category marked on the verb by a toneless suffix (n)a which inherits its tone from the preceding syllable. Preverbal markers express various modal and aspectual categories such as vá ‘ventive, eventually’.

    Landscape in Togo
    Landscape in Togo.

    A bare verb or the aorist form has a past semantics. For active verbs this signals a past occurrence of the action. For inchoative verbs it indicates the prior occurrence of the change of state, hence the state is current. The POTential can have future time interpretation in context. All these temporal interpretations can be reinforced by adverbials. The POTential and the SUBJUNCTive are mutually exclusive with the HABitual.

    Éwé Verb Conjugation

    yi 'to go' profixed with subject pronouns mè, è, mí, mì, and wó.
    PersonAoristProgressive PresentProgressive Past
    Sg.1 mèyi mèle yiyiḿ mènɔ yiyiḿ
    Sg.2 èyi èle yiyiḿ ènɔ yiyiḿ
    Sg.3 èyi èle yiyiḿ ènɔ yiyiḿ
    Pl.1 míyi míle yiyiḿ mínɔ yiyiḿ
    Pl.2 mìyi mìle yiyiḿ mìnɔ yiyiḿ
    Pl.3 wóyi wóle yiyiḿ wónɔ yiyiḿ

    As shown in the table above, transitive verb forms the progressive by reduplicating the verb whereas transitive verbs simply attach the ending -ḿ.