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Friday, July 31, 2009

Writing 1: Basic Forms


In order to write in Igbo there are 11 basic forms you must master.

All the consonants are made up of two parts:


The radicals are joined to the stems by a horizontal bar, like so:

The following video demonstrates writing the basic forms that make up the script:

Different consonants are formed by combining different stems and radicals.
The chart below shows how to do this, and can be used as a reference when reading.

The consonants in the chart are grouped according to STEM. Each horizontal stem line represents a sound group.


Vowels on the other hand have to be memorized. Since vowels are used so frequently in Igbo you should have very little trouble becoming familiar with the vowels with practice. There are eight vowels in Igbo broken into three sub-groups:

  • High-Tone vowels
  • Mid-Tone vowels
  • Low-Tone vowels

Please refer to Lesson1 for the video on how to pronounce the letters


  1. Thanks for this! I have a question. how do you write "God is with us" in Igbo? I'm thinking of getting it tattooed.

  2. @Retromus: Hi. There are many ways you can make that particular statement. 'God is with us' translates as

    "Anyi na Chukwu/Chi di"
    "Chukwu/Chi nolu anyi"
    "Anyi na Chukwu/Chi no"
    "Anyi na Chukwu/Chi bi"
    "Chukwu/Chi bili anyi"

    and so on.

    The use of Chukwu/Chi is because Igbos today use Chi and Chukwu interchangeably to refer to the Christian God.

    However, originally/traditionally in Igbo culture, Chi and Chukwu refer to two very different Igbo gods.

    If you're asking how it's written in the Ndebe script, I can put it up for you in the next post.

  3. yes, itd be cool if you could write it in ndebe script. thanks, again;)