Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Nkpuru edemede = alphabets
These are the 36 alphabets of the Igbo language, in capital and accompanying small letters.
Aa Bb CHch Dd Ee Ff Gg
GBgb GHgh GWgw Hh Ii Ịị Jj
Kk KPkp KWkw Ll Mm Nn Ññ
NWnw Nyny Oo Ọọ Pp Rr Ss
SHsh Tt Uu Ụụ Vv Ww Yy
LETTER SOUND SOUND [IN ENGLISH]
Aa /ah/ An
Bb /bii/ Bin, a long i
CHch /t∫ii/ Change
Dd /dii/ Day
Ee /ey/ Egg
Ff /fii/ Fee
Gg /gii/ Give
GBgb /gbii/ [lips closed and upper palate lowered, sound comes
from upper throat]
GHgh /ghii/ [lips opened and back edge of upper palate
lowered, sound comes from upper throat]
GWgw /gwii/ [lips opened, as if to say ‘w’ and back edge of
upper palate lowered, sound comes from upper throat]
Hh /hii/ He
Ii /ee/ Feet
Ịị /ii/ It
Jj /jii/ Jet
Kk /kii/ Key
KPkp /kpii/ [lips closed and upper palate lowered, sound comes
from upper throat and molar teeth]
KWkw /kwii/ [lips oval as if to say ‘w’ and upper palate lowered,
sound comes from upper throat and molar teeth]
Ll /lii/ Leg
Mm /mii/ Man
Nn /nii/ Neck
Ññ /ngii/ [full nasal sound; lips opened and lower palate
raised, sound comes from nasal cavity]
NWnw /nwii/ [partial nasal sound; lips opened and lower
palate raised, sound comes from nasal cavity and lips]
Nyny /nyii/ [partial nasal sound; lips opened]
Oo /oo/ Open
Ọọ /ọọ/ Aunt
Pp /pii/ Pet
Rr /rii/ Rest
Ss /sii/ Set
SHsh /shii/ Shame
Tt /tii/ Tea
Uu /uu/ Rude
Ụụ /ụụ/ Put
Vv /vii/ Velvet
Ww /wii/ Wet
Yy /yii/ Yell
Zz /zii/ Zoo
Udaume = vowel
Aa Ee Ii Ịị
Oo Ọọ Uu Ụụ
Practise pronouncing these Igbo words.
Aha Agha Akwa Akwa
Biko Chedo De Ebe
Egbe Egbe Fee Ga
Gwa Iri Ịtụ Olu
After a successful study and completion of Exercise 1, the learner will realise the value of accentuation in Igbo language.
The next topic is the proper introduction of accentuation – rising, falling and levelling.
Onu ogugu = numbers
Otu Abuo Ato Ano Ise
Isii Asaa Asato Itenani Iri
In some dialects, itenani = itolu = 9.
Iri na otu = 11 Iri na abuo … = 12
Iri abuo = 20 Iri abuo na otu … = 21
Iri ato = 30 Nari = 100
Puku = 1,000 Nde = 1,000,000
Ijeri = 1,000,000,000
Voice modulation is indicated in writing by a grave or acute accent on a vowel.
The rising, lowering, and levelling tones hereby illustrated are for ease of study only, and has very little application in Igbo literature.
Before we commence this chapter, we must acknowledge the rarity of diacritics above any vowel of the Igbo language.
This is critical, for the learner of Igbo language is unlikely to come across such diacritics in written form of Igbo.
Context is the best key to understanding the meaning of each word.
Akaraelu = acute accent ÁáÉéÍíÓóÚú
Akaraala = grave accent ÀàÈèÌìÒòÙù
Akaransuda = macron
Practise pronouncing these Igbo words.
Àkwá = egg Àkwà = bed
Ákwá = cry Ákwà = cloth
Egbe = gun Egbe = eagle
Iri = 10 Iri = to eat
Ọgụ = fight Ọgụ = hoe
Àzu = fish Àzu = back
Ázu = trade
Ire = tongue Ire = to sell
Oji = black Ọjị = kola
Ukwu = large Ukwu = hip
Without the diacritics, Igbo words appear the same.
Moreover, Igbo words are written without the differentiation of vowels: Ịị Ọọ Ụụ.
Thus Ndị Ụlọ = family, will be written Ndi Ulo.
With practice, the learner will soon the meaning of written words, even without the accentuations.
Izu = week
Ubochi = day; Abani = night, implies a full day
In Igbo culture izu is made of four days [ubochi ano]. The izu forms a cycle of four market days, namely:
Nkwo Eke Orie Afo
For the seven-day week:
Ubochi uka/ abani asaa = Sunday
Abani mbu = Monday Abani abuo = Tuesday
Abani ato = Wednesday Abani ano = Thursday
Abani ise = Friday Abani isii = Saturday
Onwa = moon = month; Aho = year
Onwa mbu = July Onwa abuo = August
Onwa ato = September Onwa ano = October
Onwa ise = November Onwa isii = December
Onwa asaa = January Onwa asato = February
Onwa itolu = March Onwa iri = April
Onwa iri na otu = May Onwa iri na abuo = June
The learner of asusu Igbo will identify the digits that combine with onwa to form the names of the months of the year.
As such, the learner might have already noticed that August is the second month of the Igbo calendar.
Thus, July is the first month, for mbu = first.
Nri = food
Osikapa = rice Ahuekere = groundnut
Agwa = beans Ede = cocoyam
Ji = yam Ona = wateryam
Jiakpu = cassava Ose = pepper
Akwukwo ugu = fluted pumpkin leaves
Ayim = onions Okwuru = okro
Egwusi = melon seed Ugba = oil bean
Oka = corn/ maize Aku bekee = coconut
Jinwanu/Nduko = potato Okpa = locust beans
Ero = mushroom Oji = kolanut
Mkpuru osisi = tree products = fruits
Ukam/Ogede/jioko = plantain Ube = pear
Una/Unene = banana Oroma = orange
Akwu oru/nkwuaba = pineapple
Oroma nkirisi = lime Okwuru bekee = pawpaw
Udara = star apple Ukpa = walnut
Icheku = berry/ velvet tamarin
Ukwa = breadfruit Udara bekee = apple
Ube bekee = avocado Nkwu ozara = date
Nkpuru nkwu/akwu = palmfruit
Aku = palm kernel Añara = garden egg
DOMESTIC & WILD
Nnunu = bird
Okuko = chicken Torotoro = turkey
Ogazi = guinea fowl Obogwu = duck
Okwa = goose Nduru = pigeon
Ndò = dove Icheoku = parrot
Chekeleke = egret Ikwikwi = owl
Nza = sparrow Ugo = eagle
Nkwo = kite Egbe = hawk
Enyi nnunu = ostrich Udele = vulture
Eneke ntioba = swallow Okpoko = stork
Otukpokpo = woodpecker Egule = weaver bird
Anumanu = animal
Anu ulo = domestic animal [literal: animal house]
Ehi = cow Nwonogbo = cat
Ewu = goat Ebune = ram
Inyinya = horse Inyinya ibu = camel
Osa = squirrel Mgbada = antelope
Aturu = sheep Jaki = donkey
Nchi = grasscutter Ewii = rabbit
Ene = deer
Anu ohia = wild animal [literal: animal bush]
Agu = tiger Enyi = Elephant
Odum = lion Agwo = snake
Enwe = monkey Nkita ohia = hyena
Awolo = leopard Adaka = chimpanzee
Nyanwuruede = fox Iguana = ngwere aghu
Ezi = pig Usu = bat
Ozodimgba = gorilla Eke = python
Eke ogba = boa Ugwumagana = chameleon
DOMESTIC & WILD
Mmiri = water
Azu = fish Okporoko = stockfish/ codfish
Isha = crayfish Eju = snail
Nchiko = crab Isam = periwinkle
Azu asa = tilapia
Aguiyi = crocodile Utobo = hippopotamus
Mbe = tortoise Mbe mmiri = turtle
Awo = toad Idide = earthworm
Mbara = frog
Ulo = house
Efere = plate Ngaji = spoon
Ite = pot Iko = cup
Mma = knife Uzo = door
Olanti = earrings Akpati = suitcase
Ulo nri = kitchen Ugegbe = mirror
Ime ulo = room Ulo isa ahu = bathroom
Ncha = soap Ulo mposi = toilet
Ute = mat Ogbo = sponge
Mkpuru = bedroom Uwe/akwa/afe = clothes
Ocha = white Ndu = green
Nzu/ntu = ash Oji = black
Mme mme = red Anunu = blue
Edo = yellow Uhie = brown
Olaedo = gold Olaocha = silver
Oroma = orange Ododo/ugo = purple
Uri/ocha elu igwe = sky blue Uhie ocha = pink
Ere = indigo Awo = grey
Unyi = dark grey Ncara = dark brown
Aa, Ee, Ii, Ịị, Oo, Ọọ are singular pronouns
Unu, Ha, Anyi are plural pronouns
Aa and Ee = depends on structural context.
1. Passive voice
2. Follows the pronominal suffix that occurs immediately after the active verb.
Ii and Ịị = you Oo and Ọọ = he/she/it
Anyi = we Unu = you Ha = they, them
Anyi = our Unu = your Ya = he/she, his/hers
A, mu, m = I, me Gi = you, your Ya = him/her
Ahu = body
Aka = hand Ukwu = leg
Ogbe aka = arm Obe ukwu = foot
Mkpisi aka = finger Mkpisi ukwu = toe
Mbo mkpisi aka = fingernail Mbo mkpisi ukwu = toe nail
Anya = Eye Onu = mouth Imi = nose
Ire = tongue Nti = ear Nti = cheek
Agba = chin Eko = elbow Ikiri ukwu = ankle
Ubu = shoulder Chest = akpu obi Ntutu isi = hair
Afo = stomach Ikpere = knee Isi = head
Apata = thigh Ihu = face Otubo = navel
Abu = armpit Egedege ihu = forehead
Ekene = greeting
Nkem: Ndeewo. Ututu oma. Nkechi: Isala chi?
Nkem: Ehihie oma. Nkechi: Ndeewo.
Nkem: Ndeewo. Nkechi: Ndeewo.
For retiring for the night –
Nkem: Ka chi boo. Nkechi: Ka obo.
Ilu = proverb
Ugwu muta mgbaji ukwu,
Agadi nwanyi amuta agakata ezue ike.
When the mountain learns to cause hip dislocation,
The elderly woman learns to walk and rest.
Mmiri riri enyi ka mbe huru na-awa ogodo;
O ga-efe mmiri efe, ka o ga-awu ya awu?
The river that drowned the elephant prompted the tortoise to adjust its clothing;
Is it to fly or leap over the river?
This treatise is nothing but a glimpse at the introduction of the language of Ndi Igbo.
Igbo For Beginners comprises Central Igbo and Isuikwuato Igbo.
With popular demand, I expect to expand this introduction to contain audio recordings of the lessons and exercises.
I hope the reader enjoys perusing this document as much as I relished composing it.
Download UST5 – Igbo For Beginners – Asusu Igbo Nke Ndi Na-Ebido Imuta Ya, as a slideshow or UST5 – Igbo For Beginners – Asusu Igbo Nke Ndi Na-Ebido Imuta Ya, as a Microsoft Word file.
1000 Proverbs In English And Igbo Languages- Inu Igbo
The Official Igbo Orthography; Onwu Committee, 1961
Igbo Alphabet – Lesson 3 Replacement Version