Spoken by over 1,160,000 people, Dagbani (Dagbanli) is the major language of the Northern Region of Ghana. Dagbani is the language of the capital of the region, Tamale, and the second city, Yendi to the northeast. Yendi was the traditional capital of Dagbong, the territory of the Dagomba people.
It is classified as Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Southeast. There is one dialect called Nanuni (Nanumba). Dagbani [dag] has high lexical similarity with neighboring languages: 95% with Mampruli [maw], 90% with Farefare [gur], and 89% with Kusaal [kus].
Dagbani is a recognized language (1951, Laws of the Gold Coast, Vernacular Literature Board Ordinance, as amended by Ordinance No. 44). It is taught in primary and secondary schools and has literature, radio, and a grammar in the language.