|Region||Eastern Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea|
|50 million (2007)|
|Dialects||Waawa, Enuani, Ngwa, Ohuhu, Etche, Olu, Owerre (Isuama), et al.|
| Latin (Önwu alphabet)|
Nwagu Aneke script
|Regulated by||Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture (SPILC)|
Linguistic map of Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Igbo is spoken in southern Nigeria.
Igbo (English: // ; Igbo : Ásụ̀sụ̀ Ị̀gbò [ásʊ̀sʊ̀ ɪ̀ɡ͡bòː] (
Igbo is the principal native language of the Igbo people, an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. The language has approximately 44 million speakers, who live mostly in Nigeria and are primarily of Igbo descent. Igbo is officially recognized as one of the three major official languages in Nigeria. Igbo is written in the Latin script, which was introduced by British colonialists.
The Igbo people are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. There has been much speculation about the origins of the Igbo people, as it is unknown how exactly the group came to form. Geographically, the Igbo homeland is divided into two unequal sections by the Niger River – an eastern and a western section. The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
Igbo has over 20 dialects, though dialect levelling appears to be occurring. A standard literary language was developed in 1972 based on the Owerri (Isuama) and Umuahia (such as Ohuhu) dialects, though it omits the nasalization and aspiration of those varieties. Related Igboid languages such as Ika, and Ogba are sometimes considered dialects of Igbo;. Igbo is recognized as a major language of Nigeria. Other Igbo speaking communities can be found in Brazil, Jamaica, USA, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Sierra Leone, and Ghana.
Dialect levelling or dialect leveling is a process of assimilation, mixture and merging of certain dialects, often by language standardization. It has been observed in most languages with large numbers of speakers after industrialisation and modernisation of the areas in which they are spoken.
Owerri is the capital of Imo State in Nigeria, set in the heart of Igboland. It is also the state's largest city, followed by Orlu and Okigwe as second and third respectively. Owerri consists of three Local Government Areas including Owerri Municipal, Owerri North and Owerri West, it has an estimated population of about 1,401,873 as of 2016 and is approximately 100 square kilometres (40 sq mi) in area. Owerri is bordered by the Otamiri River to the east and the Nworie River to the south.
Umuahia is the capital city of Abia State in southeastern Nigeria. Umuahia is located along the rail road that lies between Port Harcourt to its south and Enugu city to its north. Umuahia has a population of 359,230 according to the 2006 Nigerian census. Umuahia's indigenous ethnic group are the Igbo.
The first book to publish Igbo words was History of the Mission of the Evangelical Brothers in the Caribbean (German : Geschichte der Mission der Evangelischen Brüder auf den Carabischen Inseln), published in 1777. Shortly afterwards in 1789, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano was published in London, England, written by Olaudah Equiano, a former slave, featuring 79 Igbo words. The narrative also illustrated various aspects of Igbo life in detail, based on Olaudah Equiano's experiences in his hometown of Essaka. The language was standardized in church usage by the Union Ibo Bible (1916), shortly after completion Thomas John Dennis died in a shipping accident off the Welsh coast, but the Bible manuscript he was working on was reportedly washed ashore and found by a fisherman.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, first published in 1789 in London, is the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano. The narrative is argued to be a variety of styles, such as a slavery narrative, travel narrative, and spiritual narrative. The book describes Equiano's time spent in enslavement, and documents his attempts at becoming an independent man through his study of the Bible, and his eventual success in gaining his own freedom and in business thereafter.
Olaudah Equiano, known in his lifetime as Gustavus Vassa, was a writer and abolitionist from Ihiala, which is in Igbo region of what is today southeastern Nigeria according to his memoir, or from South Carolina according to other sources. Enslaved as a child, he was taken to the Anglo-Caribbean, British West Indies and sold as a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker trader. Eventually, he earned his own freedom in 1766 by intelligent trading and careful savings.
Central Igbo, the dialect form gaining widest acceptance, is based on the dialects of two members of the Ezinihitte group of Igbo in Central Owerri Province between the towns of Owerri and Umuahia in Eastern Nigeria. From its proposal as a literary form in 1939 by Dr. Ida C. Ward, it was gradually accepted by missionaries, writers, and publishers across the region. In 1972, the Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture (SPILC), a nationalist organisation which saw Central Igbo as an imperialist exercise, set up a Standardisation Committee to extend Central Igbo to be a more inclusive language. Standard Igbo aims to cross-pollinate Central Igbo with words from Igbo dialects from outside the "Central" areas, and with the adoption of loan words.
Ida Caroline Ward, was a British linguist working mainly on African languages who did influential work in the domains of phonology and tonology. Her 1933 collaboration with Diedrich Hermann Westermann, Practical Phonetics for Students of African languages, was reprinted many times. African languages she worked on include Efik (1933), Igbo, Mende (1944), and Yoruba.
The Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture (SPILC) was founded in 1949 by Frederick Chidozie Ogbalu for the promotion of the Igbo language and culture, and has since created a standard dialect for Igbo.
Lexical categories in Igbo include nouns, pronouns, numerals, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, and a single preposition.The meaning of na, the single preposition, is flexible and must be ascertained from the context. Examples from Emenanjo (2015) illustrate the range of meaning:
(1) O bì n'Enugwū.
(2) O bì ebe à n'ogè agha.
(3) Ndị Fàda kwènyèrè n'atọ̀ n'ime otù.
Igbo has an extremely limited number of adjectives in a closed class. Emenanjo (1978, 2015)counts just eight, which occur in pairs of opposites: ukwu 'big', nta 'small'; oji 'dark', ọcha 'light'; ọhụrụ 'new', ochie 'old'; ọma 'good'; ọjọọ 'bad' (Payne 1990). Adjectival meaning is otherwise conveyed through the use of stative verbs or abstract nouns.
In linguistics, an adjective is word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun.
Verbs, by far the most prominent category in Igbo, host most of the language's morphology and appear to be the most basic category; many processes can derive new words from verbs, but few can derive verbs from words of other classes.
Igbo pronouns are not gendered and the same pronouns are used for male, female and inanimate beings. So the sentence, 'ọ maka' can mean he, she or it is beautiful.
Many names in Igbo are actually fusions of older original words and phrases. For example, one Igbo word for vegetable leaves is akwụkwọ nri, which literally means "leaves for eating" or "vegetables". Green leaves are called akwụkwọ ndụ, because ndụ means "life". Another example is train (ụgbọ igwe), which comes from the words ụgbọ (vehicle, craft) and igwe (iron, metal); thus a locomotive train is vehicle via iron (rails); a car, ụgbọ ala; vehicle via land and an aeroplane ụgbọ elu; vehicle via air.[ citation needed ]
Words may also take on multiple meanings. Take for example the word akwụkwọ. Akwụkwọ originally means "leaf" (as on a tree), but during and after the colonization period, akwụkwọ also came to be linked to "paper", "book", "school", and "education", to become respectively akwụkwọ édémédé, akwụkwọ ọgụgụ, ụlọ akwụkwọ, mmụta akwụkwọ. This is because printed paper can be first linked to an organic leaf, and then the paper to a book, the book to a school, and so on. Combined with other words, akwụkwọ can take on many forms; for example, akwụkwọ ego means "printed money" or "bank notes", and akwụkwọ ejị éjé njem means "passport."[ citation needed ]
Igbo is a tonal language with two distinctive tones, high and low. In some cases a third, downstepped high tone is recognized. The language's tone system was given by John Goldsmith as an example of autosegmental phenomena that go beyond the linear model of phonology laid out in The Sound Pattern of English . ⟨akwa⟩ in print.Igbo words may differ only in tone. An example is ákwá "cry", àkwà "bed", àkwá "egg", and ákwà "cloth". As tone is not normally written, these all appear as
In many cases, the two (or sometimes three) tones commonly used in Igbo dictionaries do not help users pronounce words correctly. This indicates that the Igbo may have several other tones, possibly up to 8 in total.For example, the imperative form of the word bia "come" has a different tone to that used in statement O bia "he came". That imperative tone is also used in the second syllable of abuo "two". Another distinct tone appears in the second syllabus of asaa"seven" and another in the second syllabus of aguu"hunger".
The language features vowel harmony with two sets of oral vowels distinguished by pharyngeal cavity size described in terms of retracted tongue root (RTR). These vowels also occupy different places in vowel space: [i ɪ̙ e a u ʊ̙ o ɒ̙] (the last commonly transcribed [ɔ̙], in keeping with neighboring languages). For simplicity, phonemic transcriptions typically choose only one of these parameters to be distinctive, either RTR as in the chart at right and Igbo orthography (that is, as /i i̙ e a u u̙ o o̙/), or vowel space as in the alphabetic chart below (that is, as /i ɪ e a u ʊ o ɔ/). There are also nasal vowels.
Adjacent vowels usually undergo assimilation during speech. The sound of a preceding vowel, usually at the end of one word, merges in a rapid transition to the sound of the following vowel, particularly at the start of another word, giving the second vowel greater prominence in speech. Usually the first vowel (in the first word) is only slightly identifiable to listeners, usually undergoing centralisation. /kà ó mésjá/, for example, becomes /kòó mésjá/ "goodbye". An exception to this assimilation may be with words ending in /a/ such as /nà/ in /nà àlà/, "on the ground", which could be completely assimilated leaving /n/ in rapid speech, as in "nàlà" or "n'àlà". In other dialects however, the instance of /a/ such as in "nà" in /ọ́ nà èrí ńrí/, "he/she/it is eating", results in a long vowel, /ọ́ nèèrí ńrí/.
Igbo does not have a contrast among voiced occlusives (between voiced stops and nasals): the one precedes oral vowels, and the other nasal vowels. Only a limited number of consonants occur before nasal vowels, including /f, z, s/.
In some dialects, such as Enu-Onitsha Igbo, the doubly articulated /ɡ͡b/ and /k͡p/ are realized as a voiced/devoiced bilabial implosive. The approximant /ɹ/ is realized as an alveolar tap [ ɾ ] between vowels as in árá. The Enu-Onitsha Igbo dialect is very much similar to Enuani spoken among the Igbo-Anioma people in Delta State.
To illustrate the effect of phonological analysis, the following inventory of a typical Central dialect is taken from Clark (1990). Nasality has been analyzed as a feature of consonants, rather than vowels, avoiding the problem of why so few consonants occur before nasal vowels; [CjV] has also been analyzed as /CʲV/.
Syllables are of the form (C)V (optional consonant, vowel) or N (a syllabic nasal). CV is the most common syllable type. Every syllable bears a tone. Consonant clusters do not occur. The semivowels /j/ and /w/ can occur between consonant and vowel in some syllables. The semi-vowel in /CjV/ is analyzed as an underlying vowel "ị", so that -bịa is the phonemic form of bjá 'come'. On the other hand, "w" in /CwV/ is analyzed as an instance of labialization; so the phonemic form of the verb -gwá "tell" is /-ɡʷá/.
Igbo is an agglutinating language that exhibits very little fusion. The language is predominantly suffixing in a hierarchical manner, such that the ordering of suffixes is governed semantically rather than by fixed position classes. The language has very little inflectional morphology but much derivational and extensional morphology. Most derivation takes place with verbal roots.
Extensional suffixes, a term used in the Igbo literature, refer to morphology that has some but not all characteristics of derivation. The words created by these suffixes always belong to the same lexical category as the root from which they are created, and the suffixes' effects are principally semantic. On these grounds, Emenanjo (2015) asserts that the suffixes called extensional are bound lexical compounding elements; they cannot occur independently, though many are related to other free morphemes from which they may have originally been derived.
In addition to affixation, Igbo exhibits both partial and full reduplication to form gerunds from verbs. The partial form copies on the initial consonant and inserts a high front vowel, while the full form copies the first consonant and vowel. Both types are then prefixed with o-. For example, -go 'buy' partially reduplicates to form ògigo 'buying,' and -bu 'carry' fully reduplicates to form òbubu 'carrying. Some other noun and verb forms also exhibit reduplication, but because the reduplicated forms are semantically unpredictable, reduplication in their case is not synchronically productive, and they are better described as separate lexical items.
Igbo does not mark overt case distinctions on nominal constituents and conveys grammatical relations only through word order. The typical Igbo sentence displays subject-verb-object (SVO) ordering, where subject is understood as the sole argument of an intransitive verb or the agent-like (external) argument of a transitive verb. Igbo thus exhibits accusative alignment.
It has been proposed, with reservations, that some Igbo verbs display ergativity on some level, as in the following two examples:
(4) Nnukwu mmīri nà-ezò n'iro.
(5) Ọ nà-ezò nnukwu mmīri n'iro.
In (4), the verb has a single argument, nnukwu mmīri, which appears in subject position, and in the transitive sentence (5), that same argument appears in the object position, even though the two are semantically identical. On this basis, authors such as Emenanjuo (2015) have posited that this argument is an absolutive and that Igbo therefore contains some degree of ergativity.
However, others disagree, arguing that the relevant category is not alignment but underlying argument structure; under this hypothesis, (4) and (5) differ only in the application of a transformation and can be accounted for entirely by the unaccusative hypothesis and the Extended Projection Principle;the nominal argument is generated in object position, and either it is raised to the subject position, as in (4), or the subject position is filled with a pleonastic pronoun, as in (5).
Igbo relative clauses are externally headed and follow the head noun. They do not employ overt relative markers or resumptive pronouns, instead leaving a gap in the position of the relativized noun. Subjects and objects can be relativized. Examples include (relative clauses bracketed):
(6) Ọ zụ̀-tà-rà àkwa [mā-ra mmā].
(7) Àkwa [ọ zụ̀-tà-rà] mà-rà mmā.
Igbo lacks the common valence-decreasing operation of passivization, a fact which has led multiple scholars to claim that "voice is not a relevant category in Igbo." [ citation needed ] The language does, however, possess some valence-increasing operations that could be construed as voice under a broader definition
Among the more common valence-changing operations is causativization, which can be expressed in multiple ways. The most common is the verbal root mé 'do, make,' which forms a compound with the causativized verbal root, as in the (7) below, the causativized form of (6):[ citation needed ]
(8) Ógù a-vó-ọ-la
(9) Íbè e-mé-vọ-ọ-la Ogù.
A few stative verbs can also be transitivized with the inchoative suffix -wa/we:[ citation needed ]
(10) Àfe isé kò-ro n'ezí.
(11) Ókwu kò-we-re afe isé n'ezi.
Igbo also possess an applicative construction, which takes the suffix -rV, where V copies the previous vowel, and the applicative argument follows the verb directly. The applicative suffix is identical in form with the past tense suffix, with which it should not be confused.For example:
(12) Íbè nye-re-re m Ógù ákwụkwọ.
(12) also illustrates Igbo ditransitive word order. Only a double object construction, wherein the indirect object precedes the direct object, is available, to the exclusion of a prepositional dative alternative. Nwachukwu (1987) speculates for this reason that the critical distinction in Igbo is not, therefore, between direct and indirect objects, but rather between primary and secondary objects.[ citation needed ]
Igbo permits verb serialization, which is used extensively to compensate for its paucity of prepositions. Among the meaning types commonly expressed in serial verb constructions are instruments, datives, accompaniment, purpose, and manner. (13) and (14) below illustrate instrumental and dative verb series, respectively:
(13) Ọ nà-èji mmà à-bacha jī.
(14) Ọ zụ̀-tà-rà akwụkwọ nye m̄.
The Igbo people have long used Nsibidi ideograms, invented by the neighboring Ekoi people, for basic written communication. [ dubious ] after they became popular amongst secret societies such as the Ekpe, who used them as a secret form of communication. Nsibidi, however, is not a full writing system, because it cannot transcribe the Igbo language specifically. In 1960 a rural land owner and dibia named Nwagu Aneke developed a syllabary for the Umuleri dialect of Igbo, the script, named after him as the Nwagu Aneke script, was used to write hundreds of diary entries until Aneke's death in 1991. The Nwagu Aneke Project is working on translating Nwagu's commentary and diary.They have been used since at least the 16th century, but died out publicly
Before the existence of any official system of orthography for the Igbo language, travelers and writers documented Igbo sounds by utilizing the orthologies of their own languages in transcribing them, though they encountered difficulty representing particular sounds, such as implosives, labialized velars, syllabic nasals, and non-expanded vowels. In the 1850s, German philologist Karl Richard Lepsius published the Standard Alphabet, which was universal to all languages of the world, and became the first Igbo orthography. It contained 34 letters and included digraphs and diacritical marks to transcribe sounds distinct to African languages.The Lepsius Standard Alphabet contained the following letters:
The Lepsius orthography was replaced by the Practical Orthography of African Languages (Africa Orthography) in 1929 by the colonial government in Nigeria. The new orthography, created by the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (IIALC), had 36 letters and disposed of diacritic marks. Numerous controversial issues with the new orthography eventually led to its replacement in the early 1960s.The Africa Orthology contained the following letters:
In the early 1960s, the Nigerian government committee created the Ọnwụ (/oŋʷu/) orthography, named after committee chairman S. E. Ọnwụ, to replace the Africa Orthography as the official Igbo orthography. Ọnwụ consists of 28 consonants and 8 vowels. Up until the present, it has been utilized in government publications, academic environments, journalism, and literary works.[ citation needed ]
The current Ọnwụ alphabet, a compromise between the older Lepsius alphabet and a newer alphabet advocated by the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (IIALC), is presented in the following table, with the International Phonetic Alphabet equivalents for the characters: [ citation needed ]
The graphemes ⟨gb⟩ and ⟨kp⟩ are described both as coarticulated /ɡ͡b/ and /k͡p/ and as implosives, so both values are included in the table.
⟨m⟩ and ⟨n⟩ each represent two phonemes: a nasal consonant and a syllabic nasal.
Tones are sometimes indicated in writing, and sometimes not. When tone is indicated, low tones are shown with a grave accent over the vowel, for example ⟨a⟩ → ⟨à⟩, and high tones with an acute accent over the vowel, for example ⟨a⟩ → ⟨á⟩.
A variety of issues have made agreement on a standardized orthography for the Igbo language difficult. In 1976, the Igbo Standardization Committee criticized the official orthography in light of the difficulty notating diacritic marks using typewriters and computers; difficulty in accurately representing tone with tone-marking conventions, as they are subject to change in different environments; and the inability to capture various sounds particular to certain Igbo dialects. The Committee produced a modified version of the Ọnwụ orthography, called the New Standard Orthography, which substituted ⟨ö⟩ and ⟨ü⟩ for ⟨ọ⟩ and ⟨ụ⟩, ⟨c⟩ for ⟨ch⟩, and ⟨ñ⟩ for ⟨ṅ⟩. The New Standard Orthography has not been widely adopted. More recent calls for reform have been based in part on the rogue use of alphabetic symbols, tonal notations, and spelling conventions that deviate from the standard orthography.
There are also some modern movements to restore the use of and modernize nsibidi as a writing system,which mostly focus on Igbo as it is the most populous language that used to use nsibidi.
Proverbs and idiomatic (ilu in Igbo) expressions are highly valued by the Igbo people and proficiency in the language means knowing how to intersperse speech with a good dose of proverbs. Chinua Achebe (in Things Fall Apart ) describes proverbs as "the palm oil with which words are eaten". Proverbs are widely used in the traditional society to describe, in very few words, what could have otherwise required a thousand words. Proverbs may also become euphemistic means of making certain expressions in the Igbo society, thus the Igbo have come to typically rely on this as avenues of certain expressions.[ citation needed ]
As a consequence of the Atlantic slave trade, the Igbo language was spread by enslaved Igbo people throughout slave colonies in the Americas. These colonies include the United States, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, and the Bahamas. Examples can be found in Jamaican Patois: the pronoun /unu/, used for 'you (plural)', is taken from Igbo, Red eboe refers to a fair-skinned black person because of the reported account of a fair or yellowish skin tone among the Igbo. Soso meaning only comes from Igbo. See List of Jamaican Patois words of African origin#Igbo language for more examples.
The word Bim, a name for Barbados, was commonly used by enslaved Barbadians (Bajans). This word is said to derive from the Igbo language, derived from bi mu (or either bem, Ndi bem, Nwanyi ibem or Nwoke ibem) (English: My people), but it may have other origins (see: Barbados etymology).
In Cuba, the Igbo language (along with the Efik language) continues to be used, albeit in a creolized form, in ceremonies of the Abakuá society, equivalent or derived from the Ekpe society in modern Nigeria.
In modern times, Igbo people in the diaspora are putting resources in place to make the study of the language accessible.
There are some discussions as to whether the Igbo language is in danger of extinction, advanced in part by a 2006 UNESCO report that predicted the Igbo language will become extinct within 50 years.Professor of African and African Diaspora Literatures at University of Massachusetts, Chukwuma Azuonye, emphasizes indicators for the endangerment of the Igbo language based on criteria that includes the declining population of monolingual elderly speakers; reduced competence and performance among Igbo speakers, especially children; the deterioration of idioms, proverbs, and other rhetorical elements of the Igbo language that convey the cultural aesthetic; and code-switching, code-mixing, and language shift.
External and internal factors have been proposed as causes of the decline of Igbo language usage. Preference for the English language in post-colonial Nigeria has usurped the Igbo language's role and function in society,as English is perceived by Igbo speakers as the language of status and opportunity. This perception may be a contributor to the negative attitude towards the Igbo language by its speakers across the spectrum of socio-economic classes. Igbo children's reduced competence and performance has been attributed in part to the lack of exposure in the home environment, which impacts intergenerational transmission of the language. English is the official language in Nigeria and is utilized in government administration, educational institutions, and commerce. Aside from its role in numerous facets of daily life in Nigeria, globalization exerts pressure to utilize English as a universal standard language in support of economic and technological advancement. A 2005 study by Igboanusi and Peter demonstrated the preferential attitude towards English over the Igbo language amongst Igbo people in the communication, entertainment, and media domains. English was preferred by Igbo speakers at 56.5% for oral communication, 91.5% for written communication, 55.5–59.5% in entertainment, and 73.5–83.5% for media.
The effect of English on Igbo languages amongst bilingual Igbo speakers can be seen by the incorporation of English loanwords into Igbo and code-switching between the two languages. English loanwords, which are usually nouns, have been found to retain English semantics, but typically follow phonological and morphological structures of Igbo. Lexical items conform to the vowel harmony intrinsic to Igbo phonological structures. For example, loanwords with syllable-final consonants may be assimilated by the addition of a vowel after the consonant, and vowels are inserted in between consonant clusters, which have not been found to occur in Igbo.This can be seen in the word sukulu, which is a loanword derived from the English word school that has followed the aforementioned pattern of modification when it was assimilated into the Igbo language. Code-switching, which involves the insertion of longer English syntactic units into Igbo utterances, may consist of phrases or entire sentences, principally nouns and verbs, that may or may not follow Igbo syntactic patterns. Igbo affixes to English verbs determine tense and aspectual markers, such as the Igbo suffix -i affixed to the English word check, expressed as the word CHECK-i.
The standardized Igbo language is composed of fragmented features from numerous Igbo dialects and is not technically a spoken language, but it is used in communicational, educational, and academic contexts. This unification is perceived by Chukwuma Azuonye as undermining the survival of Igbo by erasing diversity between dialects.Each individual dialect possesses unique untranslatable idioms and rhetorical devices that represent Igbo cultural nuances that can be lost as dialects disappear or deteriorate. Newly coined terms may fail to conform to a dialect's lexical formation in assimilating loan words.
Proverbs are an essential component of the Igbo language that convey cultural wisdom and contextual significance to linguistic expression. Everyday usage of Igbo proverbs has declined in recent generations of speakers, which threatens loss in intergenerational transmission.A recent study of the Ogwashi dialect of Igbo demonstrated a steep decline in youth's knowledge and use of proverbs compared to elder speakers. In this study, youths employed simplified or incomplete proverbial expressions, lacked a diverse proverbial repertoire, and were deficient in their understanding of proper contextual usages as compared to elders who demonstrated competence to enhance linguistic expression with a diverse vocabulary of proverbs.
Nsibidi is an ancient system of graphic communication indigenous to the Ejagham peoples of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon in the Cross River region. It is also used by neighboring Ibibio, Efik and Igbo peoples.
Yoruba is a language spoken in West Africa. The number of speakers of Yoruba is approaching 80 million. It is a pluricentric language spoken principally in Nigeria and Benin, with communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, other parts of Africa, the Americas, and Europe. The non-vernacular remains of the language, Lucumi, is the liturgical language of the Santería religion of the Caribbean. Many Yoruba words are used in the Afro-Brazilian religion known as Candomblé. Yoruba is also used in many other Afro-American religions in the Americas and the Caribbean. Yoruba is most closely related to the Itsekiri language and to Igala.
Hadza is a language isolate spoken along the shores of Lake Eyasi in Tanzania by around 1,000 Hadza people, the last full-time hunter-gatherers in Africa. Despite the small number of speakers, language use is vigorous, with most children learning it. In the late 20th century Hadza was included in a proposed Khoisan language family, largely on the basis of its use of clicks, but this classification is no longer accepted.
The Marshallese language, also known as Ebon, is a Micronesian language spoken in the Marshall Islands. The language is spoken by about 44,000 people in the Marshall Islands, making it the principal language of the country. There are also roughly 6,000 speakers outside of the Marshall Islands, including those in Nauru and the U.S.
Northern or North Sami, sometimes also simply referred to as Sami, is the most widely spoken of all Sami languages. The area where Northern Sami is spoken covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. The number of Northern Sami speakers is estimated to be somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000. About 2,000 of these live in Finland and between 5,000 and 6,000 in Sweden.
Goemai is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in the Great Muri Plains region of Plateau State in central Nigeria, between the Jos Plateau and Benue River. Goemai is also the name of the ethnic group of speakers of the Goemai language. The name 'Ankwe' has been used to refer to the people, especially in older literature and to outsiders. As of 2008, it was estimated there were around 200,000 ethnic Goemai, but it is unknown how many of these are native speakers of the language..
Kusaal, or Kusasi (Qusasi), is a Gur language spoken primarily in northern Ghana. It is spoken by roughly 400,000 people and takes its name from the Kusasi people, who form the majority of the population of the area in the far northeast of Ghana, between the Gambaga escarpment, the Red Volta, and the national borders with Togo and Burkina Faso. There are some villages of Kusaasi in Burkina and also a few speakers in Togo. Kusaal is closely related to Mampruli, the language of the Mamprussi, who live to the south, and to Dagbani. There is a major dialect division between Agole, to the east of the White Volta river, and Toende, to the West. Agole has more speakers, and the only large town of the district, Bawku, is in Agole. The New Testament translation is in the Agole dialect.
Haida is the language of the Haida people, spoken in the Haida Gwaii archipelago off the coast of Canada and on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. An endangered language, Haida currently has 24 native speakers, though revitalization efforts are under way. At the time of the European arrival at Haida Gwaii in 1774, it is estimated that Haida speakers numbered about 15,000. Epidemics soon led to a drastic reduction in the Haida population, which became limited to three villages: Masset, Skidegate, and Hydaburg. Positive attitudes towards assimilation combined with the ban on speaking Haida in residential schools led to a sharp decline in the use of the Haida language among the Haida people, and today almost all ethnic Haida use English to communicate.
The phonology of the Ojibwe language varies from dialect to dialect, but all varieties share common features. Ojibwe is an indigenous language of the Algonquian language family spoken in Canada and the United States in the areas surrounding the Great Lakes, and westward onto the northern plains in both countries, as well as in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec. The article on Ojibwe dialects discusses linguistic variation in more detail, and contains links to separate articles on each dialect. There is no standard language and no dialect that is accepted as representing a standard. Ojibwe words in this article are written in the practical orthography commonly known as the Double vowel system.
Portuguese orthography is based on the Latin alphabet and makes use of the acute accent, the circumflex accent, the grave accent, the tilde, and the cedilla to denote stress, vowel height, nasalization, and other sound changes. The diaeresis was abolished by the last Orthography Agreement. Accented letters and digraphs are not counted as separate characters for collation purposes.
Ikwerre, also spelt as Ikwere, is a language spoken primarily by the Ikwerre people who inhabit Rivers State, Nigeria.
The phonology of Sesotho and those of the other Sotho–Tswana languages are radically different from those of "older" or more "stereotypical" Bantu languages. Modern Sesotho in particular has very mixed origins inheriting many words and idioms from non-Sotho–Tswana languages.
Izi is an Igbo language spoken in Ebonyi state in Nigeria. It forms a dialect cluster with closely related Ikwo, Ezza, and Mgbo.
Ottawa is a dialect of the Ojibwe language spoken in a series of communities in southern Ontario and a smaller number of communities in northern Michigan. Ottawa has a phonological inventory of seventeen consonants and seven oral vowels; in addition, there are long nasal vowels the phonological status of which are discussed below. An overview of general Ojibwa phonology and phonetics can be found in the article on Ojibwe phonology. The Ottawa writing system described in Modern orthography is used to write Ottawa words, with transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) used as needed.
Ibibio (proper) is the native language of the Ibibio people of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, belonging to the Ibibio-Efik dialect cluster of the Cross River languages. The name Ibibio is sometimes used for the entire dialect cluster. In pre-colonial times, it was written with Nsibidi ideograms, similar to Igbo, Efik, Anaang, and Ejagham. Ibibio has also had influences on Afro-American diasporic languages such as AAVE words like buckra, which comes from the Ibibio word mbakara, and in the Afro-Cuban tradition of abakua.
Konkani is a southern Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European family of languages spoken in the Konkan coast of India. It has approximately 3.6 million speakers.
Wandala, also known as Mandara or Mura', is a language in the Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, spoken in Cameroon and Nigeria.
Ute is a dialect of the Colorado River Numic language, spoken by the Ute people. Speakers primarily live on three reservations: Uintah-Ouray in northeastern Utah, Southern Ute in southwestern Colorado, and Ute Mountain in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. Ute is part of the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Other dialects in this dialect chain are Chemehuevi and Southern Paiute. As of 2010, there were 1,640 speakers combined of all three dialects Colorado River Numic. Ute's parent language, Colorado River Numic, is classified as a threatened language, although there are tribally-sponsored language revitalization programs for the dialect.
Guosa is a zonal constructed language originally created by Alex Igbineweka in 1965. It was designed to be a combination of the indigenous languages of Nigeria and to serve as a lingua franca to West Africa.
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