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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Read Me

Hello everyone, this is the preliminary post before I start putting up the proper material from the Igbo Academy and the Ndebe Project.

I hope everyone will enjoy using this blog to learn and I want everyone to understand that language is a group process. Language is all about communication so the aim of this blog is for Igbo speakers to FINALLY be able to communicate EFFECTIVELY through the Igbo language by introducing some much needed structure to our existing language.

I hope that everyone that uses this site will try to use some of the lessons learned here in their everyday speech, and I believe that if we all resolve to apply the same rules to our Igbo then we will eventually be able to communicate effectively.

The whole point of language is to help you put the picture in your head in another persons head so they can see the same picture you see. Until now Igbo hasn't been able to do that very well because a lot of the Igbo language is far too vague. (e.g. the use of mmili in the following ways - Mili - water, mili - lake, mili - stream, and they all have the same tone. It won't work)

Maybe our ancestors were able to communicate with Igbo as it is now because they didn't have the things we have now and they didn't venture very far from their own land anyway, but today we need NEW, UNIQUE DESCRIPTORS and simply trying to spread the meaning of the same word over too many things just won't work. (e.g. Akwukwo = leaf, book, school, education } a.k.a. perfect recipe for confusion)

In plain English. We are going to make up words. Yes, we will make up new words wherever there are none. We shall not resort to the tomfoolery of borrowing words from English (e.g. Bisa = Visa } Hausa language or Ofisa = Officer} Igbo language) We will do this according to the rules of Igbo grammar, and all our words shall be IGBO.

All languages are made up of words that individual members of the group made up in their heads and taught to the others and as such any words we come up with here should be regarded as authentic Igbo words. And please don't argue that some other people might not use the same word: God knows we need synonyms in Igbo.

Another important thing that you should know as a user or reader of this blog is that all lessons and examples will be in Anambra Igbo.

This is because:

  • There is unity in diversity. (It is important for Igbo speakers to become familiar with other Igbo dialects so learning Igbo in Anambra Igbo will help you become familiar with another dialect)

If you're not clear on anything please leave questions in the comments section. Ask and you shall receive.

Please do not claim the Igbo Academy or the Ndebe Project is not orthodox, authentically Igbo or anything else. I am Igbo, this is Igbo, therefore everything here is 100% Igbo. Your Igbo is not always my Igbo but if you're Igbo then you already know that.

Sweet, let's get to work.


  1. Leaf = mkpa akwukwo
    School = Ulo akwukwo
    Education is not akwukwo.
    Only book is called akwkwu in Igbo.

    Now i do not think you are right by saying that 'Igbo izugbe' is made up two langauges.

    Igbo izugbe was arrived at by Ogbalu committee that is made up representatives from different dialects.

    Anyway you should be talking about Anambra Igbo web 2.0 nor Igbo web 2.0

  2. @Agaba: Actually you should go look at the history of Central Igbo. Yes, it was formed by a committee and it IS based on only TWO Igbo dialects which is completely ridiculous as that is hardly expansive or inclusive of all Igbo.

    Seriously, I have done months of research about this. It is true. If you don't believe me go find out for yourself.

    That being said, just because the blog will be in Anambra Igbo does not mean that we will not be discussing ALL of Igbo here. It does not mean that as many other Igbo dialects as possible will not be included.

  3. chukwuemeka nwachukwu o.July 7, 2009 at 8:46 AM

    it seems like your youtube videos have gone POOF

  4. @chukwuemeka: Oh dear, I apologize. I've been having some problems with YouTube and I think opening a new account and simply re-uploading everything is the solution. My apologies. They'll all be up tomorrow.

  5. came to your by way of your StandTall interview. I started from the most recent post and worked my way down. Yes, I had to translate some of the words out of the Anambra Igbo, to the dialect I am most comfortable with (ca mix of central and Ohuhu Igbo), but still maintained my excitement until I came upon this post. I find that your criticism about Central Igbo is quite divisive. I can understand when Achebe decided to embrace the Ogidi dialect in his writings and speeches, because that is his mother tongue and I have no qualms about you embracing the "anambra dialect" since that is the tongue you either grew up with or are most familiar with. Yes, Abia/Imo is quite diverse and central Igbo does not represent fully its diversity (check out how radically different Abiriba Igbo is from anything you've ever heard; and my parents lived a 20 minute drive from each other, but to communicate, use central Igbo).

    However, central Igbo, regardless of how it came about, is what unites a countless number of Igbos. It is a real dialect, regardless of who founded it. Who founded it, is not the definition of a dialect. If you had argues that you won't use central Igbo because you, personally, are not familiar with it, than fine or that you would rather use a dialect that can ascribed to a particular group...fine. (This would exclude Anambra Igbo, because I am sure that Anambra Igbo is an amalgamation of several different dialects, just like Central Igbo...just that the amalgamation was a bit In the same way with central Igbo, this does not invalidate it as a credible Igbo dialect that is spoken by the people).

    Central Igbo is used by a countless number of our people on a daily basis. Because you, personally, are not familiar with central Igbo, does not mean that you should decry it as, "onerous to speak and that one can develop mouth ulcers." I think that is insulting. Remember, central Igbo did not come from a vacuum and is largely a reflection of what some may call "Owerri Igbo." Many of the words, phrases and accents are common to many of the Igbo sub-groups who speak it. Yes, there is unity in diversity, and I grew up in a household where my father taught us to be all things to all people; meaning that if you are in Isiukwuato, you greet people as they are greeted there, if you are in Ogidi, you use their greetings, same with Etiti, Umuawa, Isuawa etc. Likewise, I embrace the opportunity to learn your dialect. However, considering the sensitive nature of relations between different Igbo sub-groups, I would beg for caution when next you decide to denigrate a dialect that so many Igbos speak and rely on...

  6. @nneoma: Thanks for putting forth your opinion on Central Igbo. I will admit that I was a bit narrow minded and I allowed my personal dislike for Central Igbo to influence me to be a bit harsh towards it. I apologize for this.

    The whole point of this project is to make sure that everyone is comfortable speaking their own dialect and that others gain the tools they need to immediately understand the dialects of others without necessarily speaking it themselves.

    This particular post contradicts that aim and I will amend it to be more embracing of Central Igbo. I did study Central Igbo in school so I can read it, but I personally don't speak it.

    Nevertheless, my personal preferences are irrelevant as far as this project is concerned and I apologize if I have offended you and any Imo/Abia speakers out there.

    I agree that many of the words are common to most of Igbo and it is not my intention to promote the Anambra dialect only.

    The posts are only written primarily in the Anambra dialect for convenience. Posts in other dialects will be coming up shortly.

    I hope you stay to learn more about the Ndebe Project and it's important to know that this is not simply MY project, it's OUR project. It won't work if it isn't inclusive of all Igbo sub-groups and I admit I haven't been the most inclusive person myself, but that changes today.