How To Learn Igbo Language: Igbo is the language spoken by the Igbos, one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Igbo is basically spoken in the Eastern part of Nigeria (Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia States), and in some parts of Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Benue and Cross River States. Igbo language is actually easier to learn than most other languages. Asides these residential Igbo regions, the Igbos are spread across all parts of Nigeria and overseas.
This makes it easier to identify the language speakers wherever one is, thereby affording an opportunity to learn the language. Again, the language is said to be incomplete, especially owing to later modern-day inventions which the Igbo terminologies are now coined from borrowed English words or from the function of the invention. Igbo has various dialects as spoken by various regions.
However, there is the Central or General Igbo known as the Igbo Izugbe. This central Igbo is made up of borrowed voices from various Igbo dialects such as Anambra, Imo, Abia and other parts, and it is uncertain where its entirety is borrowed from. While the various dialects can be written, the Central Igbo is the one generally acceptable in formal Igbo writing.
Are you desirous of learning Igbo language? You are on the right page. Here are how you can learn Igbo language:
Tips to Lean And Speak Igbo Language Properly
1. Staying amidst the native speakers: This appears to be the easiest way to learn not just Igbo but any other language. While you stay in the midst of Igbo speakers, you would not have to put in all that effort to learn Igbo as one who is not amidst the speakers. The point is that you will learn the language both consciously and subconsciously.
There are native speakers available to explain the terms to you. It is easier because they use the language in action, and you can always see and feel the context in which they speak and relate it to. More so, listening to the speakers in action will help you master the tones and tonality of the language.
2. Learn the Alphabets: It is from alphabets that words are coined. So, if one must learn any language and be well grounded in its speaking and writing, the alphabets must first be mastered. Igbo alphabet is not so sophisticated. Igbo language has 36 alphabets. It is similar to the English alphabets although with some exclusions like (C, X and Q), some inclusions like (CH, GB, NW, NY) and so on.
As seen here, Igbo language in some of its alphabet combines two consonants to make a word and also makes use of dots to differentiate sounds and meanings in some cases. The pronunciations differ but somewhat similar to English alphabets. One who is desirous of learning Igbo language should first memorize the alphabets and from there try to understand them. He should be able to recite it accordingly. In learning the alphabets, it is imperative to learn which constitutes the vowels and consonants.
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3. Igbo as a subject in school or course of study: There are primary and secondary schools that teach Igbo language as a subject. This is also an avenue to learn and understand Igbo from its foundation up till its application. Igbo language can as well be studied as a course in the university under the department of Linguistics, just the way people study other languages there.
4. Speak as you learn (practice): This is the practical aspect of the learning process. An Igbo learner must find opportunities to try speaking the language as frequently as possible. Language is learned better by speaking it. If you do not make effort to speak the ones you have learnt, chances are high that you will be forgetting them.
If you do not have Igbo speakers around you, it is not an excuse not to speak, as long as you want to learn. You can speak them to and for yourself. Also try to write the language whether or not it makes sense. At this point, you do not have to worry about getting them wrong. Speak and write anyways!
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5. Start from the little and regular ones: One does not dive into advanced Igbo language as a learner. It is best to start from the small and regular ones. There are parts of the language that people are bound to mostly use in their day-to-day activities such as greetings, foods, parts of the body, numbers and so on. It is best to start from them.
6. Set a target: One can learn Igbo language by setting a target as to how much he should be able to accomplish within a given time. Setting a target helps in time management and allows one not to learn under pressure. In all cases, one must be intentional about learning Igbo.
He is to set a timeline and disintegrate the tasks. For instance, a learner may target to learn 10 new Igbo words everyday and try to use them in sentence. He can target to learn 10 new verbs every day, and so on.
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7. Watching and listening to Igbo movies and music: This is another sure and fun way to learn Igbo language. This is best when the movie and music is such that has subtitles and/or translations. One can also refer to Igbo broadcasts podcasts and programs.
There are programs that are displayed in promotion of Igbo language and culture. One can always find such stations and make good turn of it.
8. Refer to the motivation: Why do you desire to learn Igbo language? Answering this question and constantly reminding yourself of the answer operates as a motivating factor to the learning of the language.
The motivation could be out of shame for not knowing one’s mother tongue, the need to know multiple languages, the need to fit in better in one’s geographical or business location (for those in Igbo speaking regions), and so on.
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9. Make good use of Igbo Learning apps and websites: There are various applications that are built and devoted to teaching Igbo language, thanks to technological innovations. Apps such as Cudoo, HelloTalk, Tandem, Italki, Google Translate, Sabi Igbo, Mango Languages, Nkuzi Igbo, Virtual Igbo, Igbo Amaka, Learn Igbo Offline, and so on. There are enough of them and you can only fine one most suitable for you.
There are also various Igbo teaching websites that are helpful to this purpose. It is a lot easier now for one to learn from his comfort zone. There are also applications and websites that issue Igbo quizzes in order for one to test his or her proficiency and improvement.
10. YouTube: YouTube has gained notoriety. There is nothing that cannot be learned on YouTube. Igbo language is not an exception. A lot of channels on YouTube are dedicated to the advancement of Igbo language.
There, experienced tutors create and upload videos of the use and application of Igbo language. Interestingly, most channels teach with syllabus and form, thereby taking you from the basics up to the advanced. And YouTube, learners have options, for the channels are quite many.
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Igbo is such an interesting language. As noted earlier, it is equally an easy language to learn. But just like every other languages, being exposed to certain conditions makes it easier to learn than otherwise. And in all cases, it is best to learn Igbo with intentionality.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.