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Akan is the most widely spoken and has acquired informal national language status.In addition to the large number of native speakers, many members of other groups learn Akan as a second language and use it fluently for intergroup communication. Hausa, a Nigerian language, is spoken as a trade language among peoples from the north.Many Ghanaians are multilingual, speaking one or two indigenous languages beside their native dialects and English.Although Ghana is bounded by francophone nations on all sides, few Ghanaians are proficient in French. As a relatively new nation, Ghana has not developed an extensive tradition of collective symbols.Ghanaian national dress, kente cloth, is another source of common identity and pride.It is handwoven into intricate patterns from brilliantly colored silk.There is no written documentation of the region's past prior to European contact.By the time the Portuguese first established themselves on the coast in the fifteenth century, kingdoms had developed among various Akan-speaking and neighboring groups and were expanding their wealth, size, and power.
The land rises gradually to the north and does not reach an altitude of more than 3,000 feet (915 meters).
Other important symbols derive from Akan traditions that have become incorporated into the national culture.