Igbo (Igbo: Ásụ̀sụ̀ Ìgbò) is a Niger-Congo language spoken primarily in Nigeria. There are between 18-25 million Igbo speakers living primarily in southeastern Nigeria in an area known as Igboland. Igbo is a national language of Nigeria and is also recognised in Equatorial Guinea. Igbo is made up of many different dialects which aren't mutually intelligible to other Igbo speakers at times. A standard for Igbo called 'Igbo izugbe' has been developed. Igbo is written in the Latin alphabet introduced by British colonialists and missionaries. Secret societies such as the Ekpe use nsibidi ideograms to write Igbo and other languages around its area of influence. Nsibidi is an ideographic writing system used for over 500 years.
Major cities where Igbo is most spoken include Onitsha, Enugu, Owerri (oh-weh-reh), Port Harcourt, and Asaba (in Igbo, ah-hah-bah).
Through the transatlantic slave trade, the Igbo language has influenced many creole languages in the Americas, especially in the former British Caribbean, including islands such as Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Variations of Igbo known as Suámo can be found in Cuba. Igbo is spoken by a significant number of people on Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea, formerly known as Fernando Po, and in micro-communities in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, and it is also spoken by recent migrants of Igbo descent all over the world.
Igbo is a tonal language with a high, mid, and low range, in addition there are rising and falling tones. Accents are used to indicate the high and low tones; an acute accent such as 'ó' are used for high tones, and a grave accent such as 'è' is used for a low tone. There are further accents that indicate nasal tones. The lower dotted accent such as 'ọ' combined with a grave accent ('ọ̀') is used to indicate a low nasal tone, and an upper dotted accent such as 'ė' or a lower dotted accent with an acute accent ('ọ́') is used for a high nasal tone. The trema (¨) such as 'ö' or a simple dot underneath is used for a mid nasal tone. Other diacritics include the caron (ˇ) for rising tones, the circumflex (ˆ) for falling tones, and the macron (¯) for long vowels.
Vowels in Igbo are very similar to those in English when there is little tone stress on them. Most of the times vowels in Igbo are written with accents indicating this tone.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| like 'a' in "father"
|| like 'a' in "gate" but without the final 'i' sound
|| like 'ee' in "seen"
|| short 'i' like the 'i' in "bit"
|| like 'o' in "coat"
||short 'o' like the 'o' in "dog"
|| like 'oo' in "pool"
|| short 'oo' like the 'oo' in "book"
Consonants do not have a tone in Igbo apart from 'n' and 'm' which are the only letters that can be written with accent marks.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| like 'b' in "bit"
|| like 'd' in "dim"
|| like 'f' in "feline"
|| like 'g' in "give"
|| like 'h' in "hinge"
|| like 'j' in "jelly"
|| like 'k' in "kettle"
|| like 'l' in "limb"
|| like 'm' in "mint"
|| like 'n' in "nit"
|| uncommon in English, but sounds like the 'ng' in " 'king"
|| like 'p' in "pit"
|| like 'r' in "rent"
|| like 's' in "seam"
|| like 't' in "tea"
|| like 'v' in "villa"
|| like 'w' in "win"
|| like 'y' in "yield"
|| like 'z' in "zink"
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| English equiv.
|| like 'ch' in "cheese"
|| an explosive sound not found in English, but a 'b' sound is made while shaping the mouth for 'g'
|| like the greek 'ghamma' when it comes before 'a' or 'o' (a 'h' sound is made while shaping the mouth for 'g')
|| like 'gw' in Welsh "Gwyn"
|| not in English, but a 'p' sound is made while shaping the mouth for 'k'
|| like 'q' in "queen"
|| like 'w' in "wag", but nasal like a baby crying
|| like 'ny' in "canyon"
|| like 'sh' in "ship"
Igbo is considered an agglutinative language. A number of affixed phonemes denote the tense of a verb in addition to the other modifications of a verb root; an example using òjéḿbà, "traveller", can be split into the morphemes: ò, pronoun for animate and inanimate objects or "he, she", jé verb meaning "travel, walk, embark", ḿbà "town, city, country, foreign lands, abroad" resulting in "he/she/it-go[es]-abroad".
Nouns in Igbo have no grammatical number and there are no gendered pronouns or objects. Igbo grammar generally maintains a subject–verb–object clause order; mádụ̀ àbụ́ghị̀ chúkwú, "human[s]-[it]is[not]-God", "man is not God". Adjectives in Igbo are post-modifiers, although there are very few Igbo adjectives in the closed class; many so called "adjectives" in Igbo are considered nouns, especially when the word is a pre-modifier like im ágádí nwóké transliterated as "elderly man". Igbo features vowel harmony between two vowels and commonly features vowel assimilation where a preceding vowel influences the articulation (or the elision with /a/) of the next such as in ǹk'â, "this one", analysed as ǹkè "of" and â "this". Igbo syllable shapes are CV (consonant, vowel) which is the most common, V, and N which are syllabic nasals, there are also semi vowels like /CjV/ in the word bìá (/bjá/) "come" and /CwV/ in gwú /ɡʷú/ "swim".
Using special greetings when addressing elders of the society and those generally significantly older than you is expected in Igbo society. In smaller communities such as villages, it is also expected of non-elders to greet every elder whenever you first see them in a day. Here are some of the greetings used between different levels of the society.
- kèdú (kay-DOO)
- the most common formal greeting equivalent to 'hello'
- ǹdêwó (in-DAY-WOAH)
- A formal greeting that can be used to greet anyone
- má-ḿmá (MAHM-MA)
- this is the most common polite term when addressing an elder or important person in society, this is used alongside the persons name and an honorific
- ǹnộ (in-NOORE)
- a greeting mostly used in the northern part of Igboland
- ǹdâ (in-DAH)
- can be an equivalent of 'what's up'
- ánị̄ (AH-NEE)
- more direct, used only by friends, insulting if used on someone older than the greeter
- ọ̀lị́à (aw-LEE-yah)
- more direct, mostly from a friend to a friend
- ọ̀gị́nị́ kwánụ́/gị́nị́ mẹ̀rẹ̀ (aw-GEE-NEE KU-WA-NOO/GEE-NEE meh-reh)
- very direct and informal, literally 'what's happening'.
There are greetings usually made to a group of people which can also be used to boost morale.
- Kwénù (QUAY-noo)
- The most common group greeting, used only by males.
- Dǎlụ́'nụ̀ (DAH-LOO nooh)
- Meaning literally 'thank you all', this can be used by anybody.
In Igbo society there are different ways of addressing people depending on their status in society. In order to show good manners and politeness, Igbo speakers are expected to use honorifics to address those that are significantly older than them (usually those old enough to be an uncle or grandparent, sure enough 'uncle' is sometimes used as an honorific). Here are some of the basic honorifics used in Igbo society.
- māzị́- (MAH-ZEE)
- The most basic honorific for males, about equivalent to Mister. Mazi Ibekwe: Mister Ibekwe
- dâ- (DAH)
- The most basic honorific for females, about equivalent to Misses, Miss, and most similar to madam or ma'am. Da Mgbechi: Madam Mgbechi
- dê-dè- (DEH-deh)
- Another honorific for males, usually used in an informal setting, may be seen as the male equivalent of 'da', it has no equivalent in English, but is similar to saying 'big brother'. It is usually shortened to 'de'.
- ìchíè- (ee-CHEE-ye)
- literally elder, used to address male elders.
- ńzè- (IN-zay)
- a noble title for males found in the northern parts of Igboland.
- lộlọ̀- (LOH-loh)
- can be interpreted as 'dane' or 'dutchess', a title given to the wife of a titled man.
For those younger than yourself, they can be called by their gender, 'nwóké' male or 'nwânyị̀' female, or by 'nwá' (WAHN) meaning child. This form of address can be patronising.
Reading and writing
The Igbo language was first inscribed with ideographs known as nsibidi which originated in the Cross River region of Africa. Nsibidi symbols were used to represent ideas and often times specific objects. British colonialism since the late 19th century till 1960 has wiped away nisbidi from general use and has led to the introduction of the Roman-script-based orthography known as ọ́nwụ́ which developed from several revisions of Roman orthographies in the 19th century and early 20th century. The first book written in Igbo was an Ibo-Isuama primer by Bishop Ajayi Crowther, a Sierra Leonean creole of Egba-Yoruba descent in the 19th century. As a tonal language, the Latin script has been modified to fit the different tones and sounds of the Igbo language.
Igbo-language literary works have been few since colonialism introduced an alphabet. Literature in English by Igbo writers on Igbo society, however, have achieved international acclaim, the most popular of these books, Things Fall Apart, written by author Chinua Achebe, deals with the subject of colonialism and the destruction of Igbo society in the late 19th century.
The Igbo languages' tonality may be confusing at times homonyms are differentiated by the way that the tones are expressed. Diacritics are used to signal tones in written Igbo along with other special characters such as the dot over (˙) and underneath (.). /akwa/ is a notorious homonym in Igbo which can be interpreted in different tones as /ákwà/ ('cloth'), àkwá ('egg'), /ákwá/ ('cry, crying'), /àkwà/ ('bed'), /àkwà/ ('bridge').
There are hundreds of Igbo dialects and Igboid languages spoken by different clans and former nation-states. The high variation and low mutual intelligibility between many Igbo dialects has been a hindrance to written Igbo and Igbo literature over the years, this has lead to the development of a standard form of Igbo known as 'standard Igbo' or Igbo izugbe. This standard form was based on dialects around the central parts of Igboland. Although it is was created to boost Igbo literature, it has received backlash and opposition from Igbo speakers such as author Chinua Achebe, who prefer to speak their own dialects. Igbo izubge is the standard used in the curriculum of Igbo-language studies.
Although most signs in the Igbo-speaking areas of Nigeria may be in English, it will still be helpful to learn some of these signs in case you find your self in a more rural community.
- Mèpè (may-pay)
- M'Mèchi (MAY-chi-EH-LE)
- Ọ̀bụ̀bà (aw-boo-ba)
- ífụ́fụ́ / Úzọ Èzí (MM-FUH-FUH / OO-zor AY-ZEE)
- Núo (NOO)
- Dúọ̌ (DOOR)
- kpóchíe (IM-paw-SI)
- Umunwóke (OO-MOO-wow-KAY)
- Umunwañyi (OO-MOO-wa-yi)
- Ihe Nsọ (I-HYEAH IN-saw)
- Ndêwó. (in-DEEH-WO)
- Hello. (informal)
- Kèdú. (keh-DO)
- Hello. (casual)
- Ǹdâ. (in-DAH)
- Nnộ (in-NOOR)
- How are you?
- Kèdú kà ímẹ̀rẹ̀? (keh-DOO kah E meh-reh)
- How are you (Informal) Kedu
- Fine, thank you.
- A dị̀ ḿmá,ị̀melâ (AW dee IM-MA)
- What is your name?
- Kèdú áhà gị́? (keh-DO AH-ha GEE)
- My name is ______ .
- Áhàm bụ̀ ______, or Áfàm bụ̀ (: AH-ham boo _____ .)
- Nice to meet you.
- Obu ihe obi uto imata gi. (obuu ehe obi uu'to ima ta gi)
- Bīkó. (BEE-COE)
- Thank you.
- Dālụ́/Imẹ̄lá. (DAA-LOO/EE-MEH-LAH)
- You're welcome.
- Bàtà wà. (Ba ta waa)
- Éey, Ëhh. (ey, AEH)
- Ḿbà . (IM-bah)
- Excuse me. (getting attention)
- Chere, chètú. (Chey rey, CHE-too)
- Excuse me. (begging pardon)
- isi Gini, é weli íwé. (ishi gi ni, A WELLI E-WAY)
- I'm sorry.
- Ndo; Gbághàrám. (in-DOH, BA-gah-RAM)
- Kà ómésíá. (kah O-MEH-SI-YA)
- Goodbye (informal)
- ányị́ ga hú. (Anyi i, gaa ahU)
- I can't speak Igbo [well].
- A'naghi'm a sú Igbo [ọfuma]. (AH na yim AH sue EEG-BOW [AW-FOO-MAH])
- Do you speak English?
- ị́ na-sú Bèké ? (EE na SOO BAY-KAY?)
- Is there someone here who speaks English?
- Ọ di onye nọ nga nweríke ị́súfù bèké? (OR dee on-yeh NOR in-GAH weh-RI-KI SUH-foo beh-KEH?)
- Nyerem áká! (NYEM AH-KAH)
- Look out!
- Lèpu kwá anya! (LAY-MA KWA)
- Good morning.
- Ibọla chi. (e BORLA CHI)
- Good evening.
- mgbede ọma . (MM-GBAYDAY oma'a)
- Good night.
- Kà chí bọ̌. (ka CHI BAW)
- I don't understand.
- À ghọ́tàghìm. (ah GAW-tah-gim)
- Where is the toilet?
- Kéé ébé uló mpósi dì? (keh EH BEH MM-K-PO-CHEE dee)
- ísí (EE-SEE)
- íhú (EE-HUE)
- ányá (AHN-YAH)
- ńtị̀ (IN-tih)
- ímí (EE-MEE)
- ákpị̀rị́ (AHK-pee-REE)
- àgbà (ahg-bah)
- ólú (OH-LOO)
- úbú (OO-BOO)
- ugwùlùgwù (ooh-gwoo-loo-gwoo)
- úkwù (OO-kwoo)
- ihü áká (EE-HUE AH-KAH)
- nkwekọ áká (nn-kweh-koh AH-KAH)
- m̀kpị́sị́ áká (mm-KPEE-SEE AH-KAH)
- áká (AH-KAH)
- ǹkù áká (in-koo AH-KAH)
- ị́kẹ̀ (EE-keh)
- àkpàtà (ahk-pah-tah)
- íkpèrè (EEK-peh-reh)
- úkwụ (OO-KOOH)
- ọ̀kpà (oh-k-pah)
- Leave me alone.
- Hafum áká. (HAH-foom AH-KAH)
- Don't touch me!
- É mètùla'm áka! (EH meh-tu-lam AH-KAH)
- I'll call the police.
- M ga kpọrọ ndi ùwé oji. (M gị́ POR in-di u-WEH OH-JI-)
- Polị́sị́/Uwè ojị́ị́! (poe-LEE-see/OO-way oh-JEE!)
- Stop! Thief!
- Kwushí! Onye óshị́/ohi! (koo-shee! OH-NYE OH-shi)
- I need your help.
- Á chorom kí nyérém àkà. (AH chom kee nyeah-m AH-KAH)
- It's an emergency.
- Ọ bu ihé ọsịsọ. (OR boo i-he OH-si-sor)
- I'm lost.
- À mághi'm ébé'm nọr. (AH MAH-gim EH-BEH-m NOR)
- I lost my bag.
- Akpám è fuólé. (ak-pam EH FU-OH-lay)
- I lost my wallet.
- Àkpà égóm è fuólé. (ak-pah EH-GOME eh FU-OH-LAY)
- I'm sick.
- Àhụ nà anwụm. (ah-HOO NAH woom)
- I've been injured.
- Á meruolam àhú. (AH MEH-RU-AW-LAM ah-hoo)
- I need a doctor.
- Onye ògwò orịá ka mu n'achọ. (OH-yeh OH-gw-oh OH-ri-ya KAM chor)
- Can I use your phone?
- M nwèríke iweretu fonu gí? (IM weh-RI-Ke iwee re-Tu fo-nu GEE)
- 1 One
- Ótù (OH-too)
- 2 Two
- Àbụ́ọ́ (ah-BWORE)
- 3 Three
- Àtọ́ (ah-TOH)
- 4 Four
- Ànọ́ (ah-NORE)
- 5 Five
- Ìsé (ee-SAY)
- 6 Six
- Ìsî (ee-SEE-ee)
- 7 Seven
- Àsâ (ah-SAH-ah)
- 8 Eight
- Àsátọ́ (ah-SAH-TAW)
- 9 Nine
- Ìtôlú (ee-TOE-LOO)
- 10 Ten
- Ìrí (ee-REE)
- 11 Eleven
- Ìrí nà ótù (ee-REE nah OH-too)
- 12 Twelve
- Ìrí nà àbụ́ọ́ (ee-REE nah ah-BWORE)
- 13 Thirteen
- Ìrí nà àtọ́ (ee-REE nah ah-TOH)
- 14 Fourteen
- Ìrí nà ànọ́ (ee-REE nah ah-NORE)
- 15 Fifteen
- Ìrí nà isé (ee-REE nah ee-SAY)
- 16 Sixteen
- Ìrí nà ìsî (ee-REE nah ee-SEE-e)
- 17 Seventeen
- Ìrí nà àsâ (ee-REE nah ah-SAH-ah)
- 18 Eighteen
- Ìrí nà àsátọ́ (ee-REE nah ah-SAH-toh)
- 19 Nineteen
- Ìrí nà Ìtôlú (ee-REE nah ee-TOE-LOO)
- 20 Twenty
- Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ / Ọ́gụ́ (ee-REE ah-BWORE / AW-GUH)
- 21 Twenty one
- Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ na ótù (ee-REE ah-BWORE nah OH-too)
- 22 Twenty two
- Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ na àbụ́ọ́ (ee-REE ah-BWORE nah ah-BWORE)
- 23 Twenty three
- Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ na àtọ́ (ee-REE ah-BWORE nah ah-TOH)
- 30 Thirty
- Ìrí àtọ́ (ee-REE ah-TOH)
- 40 Forty
- Ìrí ànọ́ / Ọ́gụ́ àbụ́ọ́ (ee-REE ah-NORE / AW-GUH ah-BWORE)
- 50 Fifty
- Ìrí ìsé (ee-REE ee-SAY)
- 60 Sixty
- Ìrí ìsî (ee-REE EE-SEE-e)
- 70 Seventy
- Ìrí àsâ (ee-REE ah-SAH-ah)
- 80 Eighty
- Ìrí àsátọ́ (ee-REE ah-SAH-toh)
- 90 Ninety
- Ìrí Ìtôlú (ee-REE ee-TOE-LOO)
- 100 Hundred
- Ńnárị́ / Ọ́gụ́ ìsé (IN-NAH-REE / AW-GUH ee-SAY)
- 200 Two hundred
- Ńnárị́ àbụ́ọ́ (IN-NAH-REE ah-BWORE)
- 300 Three hundred
- Ńnárị́ àtọ́ (IN-NAH-REE ah-TOH)
- 400 Four hundred
- Ńnárị́ ànọ́ / Ńnụ̀ (in-NAH-REE ah-NORE / IN-nuh)
- 1000 Thousand
- Púkú (POO-KOO)
- 2000 Two Thousand
- Púkú àbụ́ọ́ (POO-KOO ah-BWORE)
- 3000 Three Thousand
- Púkú àtọ́ (POO-KOO ah-TOH)
- 10,000 Ten Thousand
- Púkú ìrí (POO-KOO ee-RE)
- 100,000 A hundred thousand
- Púkú ńnárí (POO-KOO IN-NAH-REE)
- 1,000,000 Million
- Ńdè (IN-day)
- 100,000,000 A hundred million
- Ńdè ńnárí (IN-day IN-NAH-REE)
- 1,000,000,000 Billion
- Ìjérí (ee-JAY-REE)
- ógè (OH-gey)
- ùgbúà (oog-BU-wa)
- èmésiá (OH-MEH-si-YAH)
- mbụ̀ (mbu'u)
- kwa ubochi (kua ubo chii)
- ụ̀tútụ̀ (ooh-TUH-tuh)
- èhíhìè (ey-HEE-hye)
- m̀gbèdè/ànyàsì (im-be-de ahn-yah-see)
- ùrúlúchí (oo-ROO-LOO-CHEE)
- ábàlì (AH-bah-lee)
- Élékéré (AY-LAY-KAY-REH)
- six o'clock in the morning
- élékéré ìsî nke ụ̀tụ́tụ̀ (AY-LAY-KAY-REH ee-SEE-ee nke oo-TUH-tuh)
- nine o'clock AM
- élékéré ìtôlú nke ụtútụ (AY-LAY-KAY-REH ee-TOE-LOO nke oo-TUH-tuh)
- èhíhìè (ey-HEE-hee-yay)
- one o'clock PM
- élékéré ótù nke ehihie (AY-LAY-KAY-REH OH-too,nke ehi hiye)
- two o'clock PM
- élékéré abuọ nke ehihie (AY-LAY-KAY-REH ah-BWORE nkey ehihie)
- ètítì ábàlì (ay-TEE-tee AH-bah-lee)
- Ńkéjì (IN-KAY-jee)
- Mkpìlìkpì ógè (im-pee-lee-pee OH-gey)
- Elekere (eley key rey)
- Ụ́bọ̀chị̀ (OO-boh-chee)
- Ízù (EE-zoo)
- Ọ́nwạ́ (AW-WAH)
- Áfọ̀ (AH-fore)
Ịzu afia/ahia - Market week
The traditional week in Igbo speaking communities consists of 4 days, each are indicative of a particular market of many different communities. The market days were established by the god-like Eri, an important Igbo ancestor of the 1st millennium AD. Market days are very important to various Igbo communities as they are used to mark major events in the community. Each community is assigned a special day for their market; in a village group no other markets are to be held on a particular villages day. The names of the market days are also used for cardinal directions in some Igbo communities.
These traditional market days are:
- Àfọ̀/Àhọ̀ (ah-four)
- corresponding to the north
- ǹkwọ́ (in-KWOR)
- corresponding to the south
- èké (ay-KAY)
- corresponding to the east
- órìè / óyè (OH-ree-yeah)
- corresponding to the west
- tâ, ụ́bọ̀chị̀ tâ (TAH, OO-boh-chi TAH)
- ńnyáhụ̀, chí gara aga (IN-YAH-fuh, Chi gara agaa)
- échí/échí na abia abia (AY-CHEE)
- this week
- ízù ǹkâ (EE-zoo in-KAH)
- last week
- ízù gara aga (EE-zoo LAH-RAH-NEE)
- next week
- izù n'abia (ee-ZOO nah-BYAH)
- Ụbọchị úkà (oo-BOH-chi oo-KAH)
- Mondè (MOHN-dae)
- Tusde (toos-dae)
- Wensde (WENS-dae)
- Tosdè (TOHS-dae)
- Fraidè (FRY-dae)
- Satde (SAHT-dae)
Oguaro/afọ - Traditional calendar
The calendar of the Igbo people is known as Oguaro or Oguafor (lit. 'counting of the years'). Month in Igbo is ọnwa (lit. 'moon'), year is 'afọ'. The traditional Igbo year has 13 months which are usually named after their position in the year; most are named after a religious ceremony or after a certain deity such as Ana the mother alusi (deity) of the earth. The traditional 13 month calendar is rarely used in Igbo society, instead the Gregorian 12 month calendar is used. Below are the months of the year in the traditional 13 week Oguaro calendar and their Gregorian equivalents.
- Months (Ọ́nwạ́)
- Gregorian equivalent
- Ọ́nwạ́ Mbụ (AW-WAH MM-BOO)
- 3rd week of February
- Ọ́nwạ́ Abuọ (AW-WAH AH-bu-wor)
- Ọ́nwạ́ Ife Eke (AW-WAH EE-fay AY-KAY)
- Ọ́nwạ́ Anọ (AW-WAH AH-nor)
- Ọ́nwạ́ Agwụ (AW-WAH AH-goo)
- Ọ́nwạ́ Ifejiọkụ (AW-WAH EE-fay-jee-OR-koo)
- Ọ́nwạ́ Alọm Chi (AW-WAH AH-LOHM chi)
- August to early September
- Ọ́nwạ́ Ilo Mmụọ (AW-WAH EE-low MM-MORE)
- Late September
- Ọ́nwạ́ Ana (AW-WAH AH-NAH)
- Ọ́nwạ́ Okike (AW-WAH OH-kee-kay)
- Early November
- Ọ́nwạ́ Ajana (AW-WAH AH-jah-nah)
- Late November
- Ọ́nwạ́ Ede Ajana (AW-WAH AY-DAY ah-jah nah)
- Late November to December
- Ọ́nwạ́ Ụzọ Alụsị (AW-WAH oo-ZOR AH-LUH-SEE)
- January to Early February
The Gregorian calendar is translated into Igbo either by naming the twelve months by their position in the calendar, or by using loan words from English.
- Ọnwa Mbụ, Januari (AW-WAH OH-too, JAH-noo-wa-ree)
- Ọnwa Abuọ, Febureri (AW-WAH ah-BWORE, FEH-boo-way-ree)
- Ọnwa Àtọ, Machi (AW-WAH ah-TOH, MAH-chi)
- Ọnwa Ànȯ, Eprulu (AW-WAH ah-NORE, AY-prool-oo)
- Ọnwa Ise, Me (AW-WAH ee-SAY, MEH)
- Ọnwa Ishii, Jun (AW-WAH EE-SHE-e, JOON)
- Ọnwa Asaa, Julai (AW-WAH ah-SAH-ah, JOO-lai)
- Ọnwa Asatọ, Ogost (AW-WAH ah-SAH-toh, AW-gost)
- Ọnwa Itoolu, Seputemba (AW-WAH ee-TOE-LOO, SEP-tehm-BAH)
- Ọnwa Iri, Oktoba (AW-WAH ee-REE, OK-toe-BAH)
- Ọnwa Iri na Ótu, Novemba (AW-WAH ee-REE nah OH-too, NO-vehm-BAH)
- Ọnwa Iri na Abuọ, Disemba (AW-WAH ee-REE nah ah-BWORE, DEE-sem-bah)
There are only two seasons in the Igbo homeland; the dry season and the rainy season. There is also a dusty trade wind known as harmattan throughout west Africa.
- Rainy season
- Ùdù mmíri (oo-doo MM-MEE-REE)
- Dry season
- Ọ̀kọ̀chì (aw-koh-chee)
- ụ́gụ̀lụ̀ (OO-goo-loo)
Writing time and date
The Igbo have adopted the Western way of writing the time and date, most of the times dates are written as they would in English speaking country's (dd/mm/yyyy). These are soome of the terms for date and time in Igbo.
- Afọ (AH-fore)
- Afọ iri (AH-fore ee-REE)
- ọchié (oh-CHEE-yeah)
- colour attribute, emit
- chä (CHAH)
- It is...
- Ọ dị... (AW dee)
- It is coloured...
- Ọ nà chá... (AW na chah)
- oji (oh-JEE)
- ọchá (aw-CHA)
- ntụ ntụ, gre (in-TOO in-TOO, GREY)
- mmẹ-mmẹ, uhie (m-MEH-m-MEH, OO-hee-ye)
- alulu, blu (ah-loo-loo, BLOO)
- édo, ògùlù, yélo (EY-doe, OH-goo-loo, YEAR-loe)
- ọchá ndù (AW-cha in-doo)
- ọchá mmanu mmanu, orenji (AW-cha MM-MAH-NOO MM-MAH-NOO, OH-rehn-jee)
- òdòdò (oh-doe-doe)
- ńchárá, àkpammanụ, brawnu (IN-CHA-RA, AKH-pah-im-manu, BROW-noo)
- Nnà, Mpá (NN-nah, mm-PAH)
- Nne, Mmá (NN-neh, mm-MAH)
- Older Brother
- Nwannem nwoke (WAHN-NEM woah-kay)
- Older Sister
- Nwannem nwanyi (WAHN-NEM WAHN-yee)
- Younger Brother
- Nwannem nwoke ntà (WAHN-NEM woah-kay NN-tah)
- Younger Sister
- Nwannem nwanyi ntà (WAHN-NEM WAHN-yee NN-tah)
- Nna nna/nne (NN-nah NN-nah/NN-NEH)
- Nne nne (NN-NEH-NN-NEH)
- dédè (DEH-deh)
- àntí (ahn-TEE)
- Dí (DEE)
- Nwunyè (WEE-yeah)
- Nwam nwoke (WAHM woah-kay)
- Nwam nwanyi (WAHM WAHN-yee)
- First Son
- Ókpárá (OK-PAH-RAH)
- First Daughter
- Àdá (ah-DAH)
- Middle son
- ōlū (oh-loo)
- Last child
- Ọdụdụ nwa (aw-DOO-DOO wah)
- nwa nwa (WAH-WAH)
- Ọgọ (aw-goh)
Bus and train
- How much is a ticket to _____?
- Égó òlé ka tiketi nke na ga _____? (AY-GO oh-LEY kah tee-keh-tee dih in-KAY nah gah)
- One ticket to _____, please.
- Nyem ótù tiket nke na ga _____, biko. (YEHM OH-too TEE-keht in-KAY NAH GAH _____, BEE-COE)
- Where does this train/bus go?
- Ébé òlé ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nka na ga? (AY-BOW-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-soo in-KAH nah GAH)
- Where is the train/bus to _____?
- Ébé òlé ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu dị, nke na ga _____? (AY-BOW-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-soo dee, in-KAY NAH GAH _____?)
- Does this train/bus stop in _____?
- Ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nka, ọ nà kúshí na _____? (oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-soo in-KAH, aw nah KOO-SHEE nah _____?)
- When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
- Mgbe òle ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nke na ga _____? nà fú? (mm-beh OH-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-su in-KAY nah GAHH _____?)
- When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
- Mgbe òle ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nkè gi ru _____? (mm-beh OH-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-su in-KAY GEE- ROO _____?)
- élú (AY-LOO)
- nàlà (nah-lah)
- nà élú (nah AY-LOO)
- okpúrù (oak-KPOO-roo)
- nà íshí, nà ihü (nah EE-SHEE, nah EE-HUE)
- nà àzú (nah-ah-ZOO)
- How do I get to _____ ?
- Òtùòlé kǎm gi rú ______? (oh-too-oh-LAY KAHM GEE-RUE)
- ...the train station?
- ...ébé ụ̀gbọ́ ígwè nà kụ́shị́? (AY-BAY oohg-BOW EE-gweh nah KOO-SHEE?)
- ...the bus station?
- ...ébé bọ́s stéshọ̀n? (AY-BAY BOS STAY-shon?)
- ...the airport?
- ... ẹ̄pọ̀tụ̀? (EH-poh-too?)
- ...énú ànị? (AY-NOO ah-nee)
- ...àzú obodo? (ah-ZOO oh-bow-doe)
- ...the youth hostel?
- ...ụlọ úmù ndi yut? (ooh-loh OO-moo IN-DEE YOO-t)
- ...the _____ hotel?
- ...ébé hotel _____ ? (AY-BAY hoe-tell)
- ...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?
- ...ébé ndi mbiàmbiá Amerika/Kanada/Ostrailia/Briten? (AY-BAY IN-DEE mm-byah-BYAH...)
- Where are there a lot of...
- Ébé olé kà Í gí nwétá óké... (AY-BAY oh-LAY kah EE GEE WEH-TAH O-KAY)
- ...ébém gi hï? (AY-BEHM GEE HEE)
- ...úlọ nri? (OOH-loh in-REE)
- ...úlọ mmányá? (OOH-loh IM-MAHN-YAH)
- ...sites to see?
- ...ébé nlènlé kwánú? (AY-BAY in-lehn-LAY KWA-NOO)
- Can you show me on the map?
- Ì gi zim òtú úzọ/map? (ee GEE zeem oh-TOO OO-zor/MAH-pu)
- okpóló ilo (ohk-PO-LOK ee-LOW)
- Turn right.
- Gbá na áká nri./Gba raitu. (BAH nah AH-KAH REE./BAH RAI-too)
- Turn left.
- Gbá na áká èkpè./Gba leftu. (BAH nah AH-KAH ehk-peh./BAH LEHF-too)
- áká nri, áká Ikéngà, raitu (AH-KAH REE, AH-KAH ee-ken-gah, RAI-too)
- áká èkpè, leftu (AH-KAH ehk-pe, LEHF-too)
- straight ahead
- gàwá na ihü (gah-WAH nah EE-HUE)
- towards the _____
- nọ̀ nà ụ́zọ̀ _____ (noh nah OO-zor)
- past the _____
- gáfè _____ (GAH-fay)
- before the _____
- nà ísí _____ (nah EE-SEE)
- Watch for the _____.
- Lèmá kwá _____. (leh-MAH KWAH)
- ábọ́, jonkshon (AH-BOH, JONK-shon)
- òlìlé anyanwü, àfọ̀ (oh-lee-LAY AHN-YAH-WOO, ah-four)
- nlédà anyanwü, ǹkwọ̀ (in-LAY-dah AHN-YAH-WOO, in-kwor)
- ọwụwà anyanwü, èké (OH-WOO-WAH AHN-YAH-WOO, ay-KAY)
- ọdịdà anyanwü, órìè (oh-dee-dah AHN-YAH-WOO, OH-ree-yeah)
- élú ụ́gwụ (AY-LOO OO-GWOOH)
- ụ́kwụ́ ụ́gwụ (OO-KWOO OO-GWOOH)
- Éess, Tasi! (AY-see, TAH-see)
- Take me to _____, please.
- Nwèrém gá _____, biko. (weh-REHM GAH _____, BEE-COE.)
- How much does it cost to get to _____?
- Égóle kọ di Í jé _____? (AY-GO-LAY KOH dee EE JAY _____?)
- Take me there, please.
- Nwèrém jé ébé áhü, biko. (weh-REHM JAY AY-BAY AH-hoo, BEE-COE.)
- Do you have any rooms available?
- I nwere ụla di? (EE weh-reh oo-lah dee?)
- How much is a room for one person/two people?
- Egole kọ di maka ótu madu/madu abụo? (AY-GO-LAY core dee mah-kah OH-too MAH-doo/MAH-doo ah-bu-wor?)
- Does the room come with...
- ... ọ di na ụla? (aw dee na oo-lah?)
- ...ákwà àkwà edinà? (AH-KWAH ah-kwah EH-dee-nah?)
- ...a bathroom?
- ...ụlà I sa ahu? (OO-lah EE SAH ah-HOO?)
- ...a telephone?
- ...telefonu? (teh-leh-FOE-nu?)
- ...a TV?
- ...Tivi? (TEE-vee?)
- May I see the room first?
- I nweriki hu ụla nke na otu mgbe? (ee weh-REE-KEE HUH oo-lah nn-kay na OH-too mm-gbay?)
- Do you have anything quieter?
- I nwere ihe dajụgo? (EE weh-reh EE-HEE-NYEH DAH-JOO-GO?)
- ...ukwu? (OO-KWOO?)
- ...di ọcha? (DEE aw-CHA?)
- ...di ọnu ànì? (DEE aw-NOO ah-nee?)
- OK, I'll take it.
- Ngwanu, kam nwere ya. (NN-GWA-NOO, KAHM WEHREH YAH)
- I will stay for _____ night(s).
- M gi nọ nga ábàli rúrú _____. (MM GEE NORE nn-GAH AH-bah-lee ROO-ROO _____.)
- Can you suggest another hotel?
- Ọ di hotelu ozor? (aw dee hpe-TEH-loo aw-ZOR?)
- Do you have a safe?
- I nwèrè ebe ha na kpachi ihe ndi madu? (ee weh-reh AY-BAY HAH nah PAH-CHI EE-HEE-NYE NN-DEE MAH-doo)
- ...akpata mgbachi? (...ahk-kpah-tah mm-bah-chi?)
- Is breakfast/supper included?
- azị ùtútù/nni anyasi ọ di? (AH-ZI ooh-TOO-tuh/NN-NI ah-nya-see aw dee?)
- What time is breakfast/supper?
- Mgbe ole ka ha ne weta azị ùtútù/nni anyasi? (MM-beh oh-LAY kah HAH nay WEY-TAH ah-zee ooh-TOO-tuh/NN-NI ah-nya-see aw dee?)
- Please clean my room.
- Hicha ụlam biko. (hee-CHAH oo-lah BEE-coe)
- Can you wake me at _____?
- I nweriki kpọtem na _____? (ee weh-REE-KEE POH-TEHM nah...)
- I want to check out.
- M chori chekuwe awutu. (MM chore-REE CHAY-KWOO AHW-too)
- Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?
- I na ná dọla ndi Amerika/Ostreliya/Kanada? (ee nah NAH-RAH DOH-lah IN-DEE...)
- Do you accept British pounds?
- I na nárá pandu ndi Buriten? (ee nah NAH-RAH PAHN-doo IN-DEE boo-REE-ten?)
- Do you accept credit cards?
- I na nárá kuredit kadu? (ee nah NAH-RAH koo-REH-DEET KAH-doo?)
- Can you change money for me?
- I na tuwari ego? (ee nah TOO-WAH-REE AY-GO?)
- Where can I get money changed?
- Ebole ka ha na tuwari ego? (eh-BOW-LAY kah HA nah TOO-WAH-REE AY-GO?)
- Can you change a traveler's check for me?
- I nweriki gbanwe cheki turavulas nkem? (ee weh-REE-KEE BAH-WEH CHAY-kee too-RAH-VOO-LAHS in-CAME?)
- Where can I get a traveler's check changed?
- Ebole ka ha na gbanwe turavulas cheki? (AY-BOW-LAY kah HAH nah BAH-WAY too-RAH-VOO-LAHS CHAY-kee?)
- What is the exchange rate?
- Gini bu ekuschenji rétụ? (GEE-NEE boo ay-koo-SHEE-CHANGE-jee RAY-too?)
- Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
- Ebole ka ha na wefuta ego (ATM)? (AY-BOW-LAY kah HAH nah WAY-foo-TAH AY-GO?)
What do you say...
Thank you, please and sorry can be useful in any society. The Igbo forms of these phrases are as follows.
- Ndo (in-DOE)
- In Igbo society, ndo is usually used to console someone whenever something bas happens to them, for example someone may say ndo to you if you trip over, but it generally isn't used to apologise, only in some cases.
- Biko (bee-coe)
- 'please', can also be used as an equivalent of 'excuse me'
- Imeela (ee-MEH-lah)
- Literally 'you've done it', this is used as a term for gratitude, if someone brings you a meal, this would be a term to use.
- Daalu (DAH-LOO)
- 'thanks', this is the most similar to the English 'thank you' and is the most polite
- Jisike (jee-SI-kay)
- Literally 'use strength', this term is used to show support for someone's hard work; if you see a cook working hard in the kitchen, you can say jisike, usually with a honorific, or if not use their gender ('nwoke' for male, 'nwaanyi' for female), so it would be 'nwaanyi jisike', and you will get a response like 'oh!' which is an expression of acknowledgement.
- A table for one person/two people, please.
- Biko, tebulu ótù madu/madu abuọo. (BEE-COE, TEH-boo-loo OH-too MAH-doo/MAH-doo ah-boo-AW)
- Can I look at the menu, please?
- Biko, kam hü menyu. (BEE-COE, KAHM HOO MEN-yoo)
- Can I look in the kitchen?
- M nweríkí hü ekwü? (mm weh-REE-KEE HOO EH-kwuh)
- Is there a house specialty?
- Ọ dì íhnyé nani ha ne shi nga? (aw dee EE-HEE-YEAH NAH-NEE HAH nay SHEE in-GAH?)
- Is there a local specialty?
- Ọ dì ihe ori ha ma ndi ebe nka màkà? (aw dee EE-HEE-YEAH oh-REE HAH mah IN-DEE AY-BAY in-KAH-ah mah-kah?)
- I'm a vegetarian.
- M bu vegitériyan. (MM boo veh-gee-TEH-REE-yen.)
- I don't eat pork.
- À nam e ri ánú ézì. (ah-NAHM eh REE AH-NOO AY-zee.)
- I don't eat beef.
- À nam e ri ánú efi. (ah-NAHM eh REE AH-NOO AY-FEE.)
- I only eat kosher food.
- Nani ori kosha kam ne ri. (NAH-NEE oh-REE COE-sha KAHM neh REE.)
- Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
- I nwereiki me ka ọ di ùfè, biko? (ee weh-REE-KEE MEH kah AW DEE oo-feh, BEE-COE?)
- fixed-price meal
- Rụ ọnụ ori. (rooh AW-NOO oh-REE.)
- a la carte
- Ihnye ori di (EE-HEE-YEAH oh-REE dee)
- azị ūtụtù (ah-ZEE oo-TUH-tuh)
- azị efìfìe (ah-ZEE eh-fee-fi-yeah)
- tea (meal)
- kwòze (kwòze)
- azị anyàsì (AH-ZEE ahn-yah-see)
- I want _____.
- M chọrọ _____. (MM chore-roh.)
- I want a dish containing _____.
- M chọrọ órí _____. (MM chore-roh OH-REE)
- ánú ọkúkọ (AH-NOO aw-KOO-koh)
- ánú efi (AH-NOO ay-FEE)
- ánú éwú (AH-NOO AY-WOO)
- azụ (AH-zoo)
- ánú ezi (AH-NOO AY-ZEE)
- sọseji (SOH-seh-jee)
- chizu (CHEE-zoo)
- jí (JEE)
- àkwá (ah-KWAH)
- saladu (SAH-LAH-doo)
- (fresh) vegetables
- abụbo (ndụ) (ah-boo-bore (IN-doo))
- (fresh) fruit
- ạkpạ, mkpuru osisi, frutu (ndụ) (ah-kpah, im-POO-roo OH-SEE-SEE, FROO-too (IN-doo))
- achicha (ah-chee-chah)
- tosutu (TOE-SU-too)
- índomi (IN-DOE-mee)
- osikapa (aw-see-kah-pah)
- ǹsàlà, súpu (in-sah-lah, SOO-poo)
- stew/soup (like gumbo)
- ófé (OH-FAY)
- pepper soup
- ófé ǹsàlà (OH-FAY in-sah-lah)
- àgwà (ah-gwah)
- May I have a glass of _____?
- M nweriki were otu ágá ùgèbè _____? (mm weh-REE-KEE WEH-REH OH-too AH-GAH oo-geh-beh _____?)
- May I have a cup of _____?
- M nweriki were otu ágá _____? (mm weh-REE-KEE WEH-REH OH-too AH-GAH _____?)
- May I have a bottle of _____?
- M nweriki were otu kalama _____? (mm weh-REE-KEE WEH-REH OH-too KAH-lah-mah _____?)
- kọfi (KOR-fi)
- tea (drink)
- ti (tee)
- ùmì ósísí, jusu (oo-mee OH-SEE-SEE, joo-soo)
- (bubbly) water
- mmiri ọgbụgbọ (mm-MEE-ree aw-gubu-gubor)
- mmiri (mm-MI-ri)
- biye (bee-YEAH)
- red/white wine
- waini ufie/ọcha (WINE-nee OO-fi-yeah/aw-CHAH)
- May I have some _____?
- O kam nweturu _____ ntakiri? (aw KAHM WEH-TOO-ROO _____ IN-tah-KEE-REE?)
- ńnú (IN-NOO)
- black pepper
- ósò oji (OH-sow OH-JEE)
- bọta (BOR-tah)
- Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
- Biko, onye nọ nga? (BEE-COE, oh-YEAH noh in-GAH?)
- I'm finished.
- E mechalam. (EH MEH-CHAH-LAHM)
- It was delicious.
- Ȯ dị otó. (AW dee oh-TOH)
- Please clear the plates.
- Biko, nwefu efere ndia. (BEE-COE, WAY-foo AY-FAY-RAY IN-DEE-yah.)
- The check, please.
- Ógwọ, biko. (OH-GWOR BEE-coe.)
- I want to drink...
- Á chọm Í ñụ _____ (AH chore-mm EE g-NOO _____)
- Do you serve alcohol?
- Ì nè ré ḿmáñyá? (ee NAY ray mm-MAN-YAH?)
- Is there table service?
- Hà nè ché tébulu? (HAH neh CHAY TEH-boo-loo?)
- A beer/two beers, please.
- Ótù ḿmáñyá/ḿmáñyá abụo, biko. (OH-too MM-MAHN-YA ah-BWORE, BEE-COE.)
- A glass of red/white wine, please.
- Nkalama ḿmáñyá mmẹ mmẹ/ọchá, biko. (NN-kah-lah-mah MM-MAHN-YA m-MEH-m-MEH/aw-CHAH, BEE-COE)
- A pint, please.
- Ótù paint, biko. (OH-too pah-int, BEE-COE)
- A bottle, please.
- Ótù aba, biko. (OH-too AH-BAH, BEE-COE)
- _____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
- _____ (ḿmáñyá ȯkụ) na _____ (ihe é jị à gbagwa ya), biko. ((MM-MAHN-YA AW-KUH) nah _____ (EE-HEE-YEAH AY jee ah g-BAH-GUAH YA), BEE-COE.)
- stawt (STAH-woot)
- wiski (WEE-skee)
- vodka (VOHD-kah)
- rom (rohm)
- ḿmáñyá ȯkụ (MM-MAHN-YA AW-KUH)
- palm wine
- ḿmáñyá ńgwọ, ḿmáñyá ṅkwú (MM-MAHN-YA NN-gwor, MM-MAHN-YA NN-KWOO)
- mmiri (MM-MEE-REE)
- drinking water
- mmiri ọñuñu (MM-MEE-REE aw-nngoo-goo)
- club soda
- clubu soda (CLAW-boo SOE-dah)
- tonic water
- mmiri tawniki (MM-MEE-REE TOH-nee-kee)
- orange juice
- jusu òlòlma (JOO-SOO aw-loh-mah)
- ihe ọñuñu (EE-HEE-YEAH aw-nngoo-goo)
- soft drink
- mínàrà (MEE-NAH-rah)
- Coke (soda)
- Koku (COE-koo)
- Do you have any bar snacks?
- Ì nwèrè ihe ntàntá? (EE weh-reh EE-HEE-YEAH nn-tah-nn-TAH?)
- One more, please.
- Ótù ozọr, biko. (OH-too-aw-ZOR, BEE-COE)
- Another round, please.
- Wètáriá háníle, biko. (weh-TAH-RI-YAH HAH-NEE-LAY, BEE-COE)
- When is closing time?
- Mgbe ole ka Í nè méchí? (mm-bay oh-LAY kah EE nay MAY-CHEE?)
- Mma manu! (MM-MA MA-noo)
- Do you have this in my size?
- Ì nwẹrẹ ihëa na àsàm?/Ì nwẹrẹ ihëa na amàm? (...)
- How much is this?
- Égó olé ka Ihe á di? (AY-GO o-Lay KA I-HYEN AHH DI)
- That's too expensive.
- Ọ dì óké ọnü. (OR dee okay or-NU)
- Would you take _____?
- Ì gi wéré _____? (ee GEE WAY RAY)
- óké ọnü (OH-KAY AW-NOO)
- ọnü ànì (AW-NOO ah-nee)
- I can't afford it.
- E nweghim Í ki golu ya. (ay WEH-gim EE-KEE GO-LOO YA.)
- I don't want it.
- À chom I ya. (AH chom E ya.)
- You're cheating me.
- Ì na è fébém na ányá./I na ẹ mérém mu jobu. (EE neh FAY-BAY-M NAH AN-YAH./EE neh MEH-REH-MOO JOH-bu.)
- I'm not interested.
- Ányám à nọghị nga áhü. (AHN-YAH-M ah noh-gee in-GAH-hoo.)
- OK, I'll take it.
- Ngwanu, kam weri ya. (in-gwah-noo, KAHM weh-REE YAH.)
- Can I have a bag?
- Ì nwẹrẹ àkpà? (ee weh-reh ahk-pah?)
- Do you ship (overseas)?
- Ì nè réfù ihnye na ùfèsì? (ee neh REH-foo i-hee-yeah nah oo-feh-see?)
- I need...
- M chọrọ... (MM chore-roh...)
- ...údé ézé. (OO-DEH AY-ZAE.)
- ...a toothbrush.
- ...átụ́. (AH-TOO.)
- ...ihnye àhú umunwanyi tamponu. (ee-hee-yeah ah-HOO OO-moo-WAH-yee TAM-poh-noo.)
- ...ńchà. (NN-cha.)
- ...ńchà ńtùtù. (IN-cha IN-too-too.)
- ...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
- ...ihnye íshí ọwuwa/ihnye nwéfu ihnye ölulu. (EE-HEE-YEAH EE-SHEE oh-WOO-WAH/EE-HEE-YEAH nn-WEH-foo EE-HEE-YEAH ooh-loo-loo.)
- ...cold medicine.
- ...ȯgvụ óyí. (OG-voo OH-YEE.)
- ...stomach medicine.
- ...ȯgvụ áfȯ. (OG-voo AH-FOUR.)
- ...a razor.
- ...aguba. (ah-goo-bah.)
- ...an umbrella.
- ...òché anwü. (oh-CHE AH-wooh.)
- ...sunblock lotion.
- ...udè màkà ánwú. (ooh-day mah-kah AH-WUH.)
- ...a postcard.
- ...postu cad. (POE-STU cahd)
- ...postage stamps.
- ...stampu nke ózí. (STAHMP-oo n-KAY OH-ZEE)
- ...batiri. (BAH-TEE-ree)
- ...writing paper.
- ...akwukwọ i de ihe. (AH-KOO-KWOH EE DEH EE-hee-yeah)
- ...a pen.
- ...biki. (BEE-kee)
- ...English-language books.
- ...Ákwúkwó há dèrè nà bèké. (AH-KOO-KWOH HAH day-ray nah bay-kay)
- ...English-language magazines.
- ...Ákwúkwó magazin nke bèké. (AH-KOO-KWOH mah-gah-ZEEN in-KAY bay-kay)
- ...an English-language newspaper.
- ...nuspepa hé dèrè na bèké. (NOOS-peh-pah HEY day-ray nah bay-kay)
- ...an English-English dictionary.
- ...dishonari bèké. (DEE-SHON-NAH-ree bay-kay)
- ...a mask.
- ...ihü ékpo. (EE-HUE EK-POE)
- ...ihe òménàlà. (EE-HE-YEAH oh-MEH-nah-lah)
- I want to rent a car.
- Ḿ chọ̀rị́ gō mótò. (MM chore-RI GOO MOE-toe)
- Can I get insurance?
- Á chọ̀m̀ íkíké mótò? (AH cho-mm I-KEE-KAY MOH-toe)
- stop (on a street sign)
- kụ̀shị́ (koo-SHEE)
- one way
- ụ́zọ̀ ótù (OO-zoh OH-too)
- chāḿ ụ́zọ̀ (CHAAM OO-zaw)
- no parking
- É nyèdòlù (EH ye-do-loo)
- speed limit
- ézú ọ́sọ́ ụ́zọ̀ (EH-ZOO AW-SORE OO-zor)
- gas (petrol) station
- ụ́lọ́ petrol (OOH-LAW peh-TROLL)
- petrol (peh-TROLL)
- deezulu (DEE-zooloo)
- I haven't done anything wrong.
- Ọ̀ dị́ghị̀ íhyéḿ mẹ̀rẹ̀. (aw DEE-gee EE-HYEM meh-reh)
- It was a misunderstanding.
- Ọ́ bụ̀ ọ́ghóḿ. (AW boo AW-GOM)
- Where are you taking me?
- Ké ébé í nè dúfūm? (KAY AY-BAY EE neh DOO-foom)
- Am I under arrest?
- ị̀ nà tụ́ḿ ńkpọ́rọ́? (ee nah TOOM IN-POH-ROH)
- I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
- Á bụ̀m ónyé ḿbà Amirika/Osuterelia/Briten/Kanada. (AH boom OH-NYE MM-bah...)
- I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.
- Á chọ̀m̀ ị́ hụ́ ńdú òché ḿbà Amerika/Osutralia/Britain/Kanada. (AH chore-m ee HUH IN-DIH oh-CHAY MM-bah...)
- I want to talk to a lawyer.
- Á chọ̀m̀ ị́ hụ́ ónyé íkpè. (AH chore-m EE HUH OWN-YAY EEK-pay)
- Can I just pay a fine now?
- M̀ nwèríkí kwụ́ ụ́gwọ́ ńrá ùgbúà? (mm we-REE-KEE K-WOO OO-GWOR NN-RAH oo-BU-wah)
Expressions and particles
Like many African languages Igbo is a very expressive language that makes use of a lot of exclamations in its daily use. Some of these are included:
- -kwánụ́ (KWA-NOO)
This is usually added to the end of a question to make something inclusive.
- -ụ̀kwá (ooh-KWA)
- 'as well'
similar to 'kwanu' but is added at the end of any sentence for the same effect.
- èwó! (ay-WOAH)
- 'oh no!'
An exclamation that can be made out of exhaustion, either from laughing at a joke or when work is done, realising a mistake, like leaving the lights in the house on all night, or any other terrible event.
- Chínēkè! (CHEE-NAY-kay)
Chineke is 'God' and is a common expression use for the same purposes as 'Jesus' often does in English.
- ó! (OH)
- 'Okay, all right'
A exclamation that often means agreeing with something, although it can sometimes be used as sarcasm, a common situation where this is used is when someone is arrogant in their knowledge of something. It is often used on its own, but can be attached to another word, e.g 'Chim o!' meaning 'my spirit'.
- héwù! (HEY-woo)
An expression used in a shocking tragic moment.
- Ọ́ dị̀kwà égwù (AW dee-kwah EH-gwoo)
Sometimes used to show absolute rejection of something.
- tụ̀fíàkwà (too-FEE-ya-kwa)
Extreme rejection or opposition of something, usually followed with clicking fingers over the head as to rid oneself of the thing in question. This is an often reaction to an abomination.
- Chínēkè é kwélé ị́hyẹ́ ọ́jọ̄ (CHEE-NAY-kay EH KWEH-LEH EE-HEE-YEAH OH-JAW)
- 'God will not allow a bad thing'
An exclamation made out of shock when a bad thing happens.
|This is a guide phrasebook. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. But please Plunge forward and help us make it a star!