What do you know about Igbo language? Where is Igbo language spoken? Read the article to find out!
What ere are the places where the Igbo language is spoken? It`s one of the largest tribes in Nigeria, and it can also be referred as one of the largest single ethnic group in Africa. Most of the Igbo language speakers are based in Nigeria and specifically in the southeastern part of Nigeria. According to the latest data, Igbo people provide 17% of overall Nigeria population. The large quantity of people from this tribe can be found in Cameroon. According to the historical data, Igbo originated 100 miles north from their current location in Nigeria. It`s one of the most spread tribes in the whole Africa with current numbers of 30 million people.
The Igbo language is spoken in many countries and it has ties with the Yoruba, Igala, Idoma and Bini. These tribes were closely related to each other around six-seven thousand years ago. The first Igbo came to the land around 4-5 thousand years ago. Linguistically and culturally, the Niger River managed to provide an easy way for linguistic communication between tribes. It also provided ancient routes between tribes regarding communication and development of language. The culture of Igbo was primarily shaped in the Igboland`s rainforest zone. They have close ties with their neighbours via folklore, trade routes, social ties.
Igboland is a home for the Igbo people, and it covers almost all Southeast of Nigeria. This area is strictly divided by the Niger River. This river became a curdle for the Igbo nation. Now they are concentrated all over the world with a total population of thirty million people. The largest quantity of them is concentrated in Nigeria. One of the biggest diasporas is provided in the USA. Nevertheless, they are still connected to their roots in Nigeria and help their relatives to find a place in the land of the American Dream.
The precolonial Era of Igbo tribe is connected to the kings and governing chiefs. The precolonial era of Igbo is marked with sharply divergent trends of the pre-colonial West Africa. Most of the Igbo towns were solemnly ruled by the common people, except Onitsha, Arochukwu and Nri. Moreover, people who ruled amongst Igbo tribes were represented with their accomplishments, but they were never showed as kings. Their main responsibilities in the society were given them as assembly members that could perfectly control the society. They couldn`t dictate policy or create laws by their will. Therefore, they were quite the opposite to the communities in other places of Africa.
There was no judicial authority system that could settle down differences between people. Therefore, they used an oath to the gods to provide their ideas of rights. If the person died on a certain amount of time, then he was distinguished as guilty and was punished by gods. Igbo followed the calendar that has only four days in the week. One month could be considered as seven weeks. Therefore, one year had about thirteen months. Early people in Igbo tribes also utilised mathematics that could be provided to help with trade and simple bank system.
Colonial period of Igbo language spoken
The arrival of British in the 1870s are increased tides between Igbo tribes and other Nigerians. Nevertheless, Igbo tribe still provided the difference in their ethnicity. Still, British people provided a new wave for mixing Nigerian people. Moreover, they provided a new system of governance. Still, Igbo tribe is one of the most distinguish tribes amongst Nigerians. They still can provide distinguish tribe characteristics and can be called a nation as they have their national language and a culture distinguish from other tribes in Nigeria. Other two tribes that can provide the same idea of culture are Hausa and Yoruba.
Modern history of Igbo
The Biafra War was one of the attempts for Igbo tribe to call for their independence. This conflict started in 1967 and finished in 1970. One of the notorious parts for this period of the country was the overall starvation. Some people may also incline that it was a genocide provided by the government. The war severely devastated the overall region of Igboland; it included hospitals, schools and households. By the end of the war, the government seized all bank accounts of Igbo people. Igbo people could only be provided by with 20 pounds of compensation to every adult, no matter the seize of the bank account. In addition to the situation that their savings were lost forever, Igbo also suffered from discrimination of the other ethnicities. The new non-Igbo federal government provided new problems to the Igbo people. Employers of Nigeria also discriminated Igbo. Therefore, the representatives of this tribe became one of the poorest ethnic groups in Nigeria in early 1970. Nevertheless, Igboland was rebuilt over three decades. The petroleum industry is quite flavoured in this territory. Still, Igbo continues to face many challenges connected to the discrimination and forced emigration due to overpopulation.
Igbo language and religion
The Igbo people believe in a benevolent creator; that provided the creation of all the visible universe. This creator is known as Chukwu, and he managed to create the visible world known as Uwa. He is also referred as a god of trees, rain and plants. Nevertheless, according to some ideas, this deity is neither man nor women. They also believe in spiritual forces that surround the universe. They call these forces also. These alusi are minor deities that have a power to be good and evil depending on circumstances. If you have a desire to speak with these majestic creatures, then you need some interpreter for spiritual Igbo spoken language. You can also reach alusi through the rituals of sacrifice. Still, these spirits can be good for you and bad at the same time. They are presented higher then you and they have their goals which can be quite distinctive from yours. Nevertheless, if you want to contact with some of these smaller deities, you might need to know that it`s not that simple for the first time and they might request something that you can`t offer.
Native Igbo minor deities
These minor deities play a large part in the world of Igbo. They once controlled the overall population and provided some offerings and jobs to people. They might be a part of the daily life for Igbo.
- Ekwu – it`s a woman`s domestic sprit that helps with everything in the house.
- Ikoro – it`s a spirit of drums.
- Aha Njuku – it`s a yam spirit.
- Mbatuku – It`s a spirit of richness and wealth.
- Imo miri – It`s a spirit of the river. Igbo people belive in a spiritual part of rivers as a path to the afterlife.
- Igwe – It`s a god of the sky. His main responsibility is to create rain.
- Ala – It`s the Earth goddess, that can provide fertility of men and lands.
Modern ideas about religion
Many Igbo members follow the ideas of traditional religion. Nevertheless, due to the large presence of Christian missions in Nigeria, many Igbos were Christianized. The native spiritual system is saved in the rural areas of the country. The native religion is still presented even in Christianity. Igbos incorporated many traditional values, systems and ideas into their Christian worship. The most of Igbos Christians are Catholics.
Tradition culture is represented in the Igbo spoken language. This culture is developed from farmers, and their main ideas are connected with the celebration of harvesting periods. They prefer to grow okra, beans, corn, melons and pumpkins. One of the main ideas for Igbo tribes is their families. They have a desire to live among kinship groups and families. If they are depart from families and live in other countries, they still provide some relationship to each other. They can help each other in providing jobs in other countries.
Their principal economy is surrounded by agriculture. They provide palm kernels and palm oil. They harvest from the fruits on the palm tree. They usually export these products to Europe or other parts of the world. It`s quite profitable in this country. They also trade local crafts which are included to the local economy. A high literacy rate amongst Igbo people provided the ability for many Igbo people to be government servants and local entrepreneurs. Igbo women also take a major part in the local politics and governance. Therefore, Igbo people play a major part in the development of the economy for the region.
Igbo spoken language in music
Igbo people can provide quite a culture in music for Nigerians. Their music is largely consisting of drums, flutes and national music instruments, like Ichaka, Ogene, Igba and other instruments. If their rhythmic music is accompanied with the vocal element, then this music style is called Ikorodo. Igbo also created some fusion for traditional music and Jazz music, which is called “Highlife”. This style of music is widely popular in West Africa. Therefore, the Igbo language can be spread through the music also. There are also instrumental bands who provide this music all over the world.
Igbo Spoken Language
The first book that could provide first printed Igbo words was History of the Mission of the Evangelical Brothers in the Caribbean. This was provided to the world in 1777. One decade later, the world saw The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. That story was provided by former slave Olaudah Equiano. He managed to feature 79 Igbo words in the novel. The narrative story also illustrated some parts of Igbo lives. This description was based on the memories of Olaudah Equiano, which he tried to imprint the life of his hometown of Essaka into the history.
The widest acceptance is gained by central Igbo dialect. This dialect is based on the dialects of two members group in Central Owerri Province. This dialect was formed between the towns of Umuahia and Owerri. Dr Ida C. Ward proposed this dialect as a literacy form for Igbo spoken language. This form of language was later approved by writers, publishers and missioners across the region. In 1972 it was provided with the Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture. It`s a nationalistic organisation that provides Standard Igbo rules for writing, exercising and speaking amongst the tribes.
Igbo Spoken Language Vocabulary
It`s interesting that the Igbo language has an extremely little number of adjectives. It can be accounted around eight adjectives, like ojoo – bad, oma – good, ochie – old, ohuru – new, ocha – light, oji – dark, nta – small, ukwu – big. Many names in the Igbo language is a fusion of the older phrases and words. Words in Igbo spoken language can also take multiple meanings. Therefore, they create new words with a fusion of old words and utilising the meanings of old words to their new language. They also use international words or borrowed words for describing some things that were not presented in their culture.
Proverbs of Igbo spoken language
Idiomatic expressions and proverbs are highly valued by Igbo people. If you want to find some level of proficiency in Igbo spoken language, then you need to add many proverbs into your overall speech. The proverb can be widely used within the traditional society, and they can describe some situation or meaning in few words. Moreover, Igbo people rely on their spoken language with certain expressions and proverbs. It makes the language more widely used and adds some peculiarities to the language that can`t be provided by adding other words.
Igbo spoken language writing system
Igbo people used Nsibidi ideograms for a writing system. This system was invented by Ekoi people as a basic type of communication. This method has been used since the 16th century, but it quickly died publically. Nevertheless, some secret societies still use this kind of writing system to provide conspiracy to the language. Nevertheless, it was not a full writing system as it couldn`t transcribe the Igbo language in all parts. In 1960, it was created a new writing system specifically to the Igbo spoken language. Nwagu Aneke, who was a farmer and land owner, tried to provide a syllabary to the Umeleri dialect. He managed to write hundreds of entries until his death in 1991.
Many representatives of the dialects for Igbo spoken language have agreed that it`s quite difficult to standardise orthography of Igbo language. Now, it`s used Onwu alphabet, which is advocated by the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures as Igbo spoken language alphabet. Nevertheless, this new alphabetic system is based on the Lepsius alphabet.
Igbo spoken language in the world
The Atlantic slave trade provided many people with new homes, even if they were forcedly asked to live their homes. The Igbo spoken language was spread amongst the colonies across America. These colonies included Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, the Cuba and the United States. Therefore, Igbo spoken language countries can be countries established by Europeans in America. Igbo people were settled there as slaves, and they couldn`t ask for other destiny. Still, they played an important role in that countries.
The Nigerian Civil War provided a new race for migration of Igbo people in 1960s. They managed to migrate out of their homeland in the Southeast of Nigeria to the growing cities, like Abuja, Benin City, Lagos, Port Harcourt, but they also moved to other countries, like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Togo, Ghana, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon.
One of the biggest Igbo diasporas in Africa is placed in Cameroon. Many people decided to live Nigeria after the Civil War due to the constant discrimination and no job offers. The most radical young people decided to leave not only Nigeria but also African Continent to find a better place in the world. One of the most popular destination for that time was the USA. Therefore, the USA can be named one of the countries with Igbo spoken language.
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