Igbo (language)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

Nigeria , Equatorial Guinea , Cameroon , Gabon
speaker approx. 18-25 million
Official status
Official language in NigeriaNigeria Nigeria
Recognized minority /
regional language in
Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Igbo (outdated Ibo ) is the language of the Igbo of the same name in Nigeria and is spoken by around 18 to 25 million people. The distribution area is mainly the south-east of Nigeria, which in 1967 as Biafra declared itself unilaterally independent. Igbo belongs to the Igboid language branch within the Benue-Congo languages as part of the Niger-Congo languages . Igbo, like Haussa and Yoruba , is one of the main languages ​​of Nigeria, alongside the official English language .

It is mainly used as a communication and lingua franca, less often as a reading and writing language, as there is little literature in Igbo. In many urban areas of the Igbos, it is now often replaced by local dialects of Nigerian pidgin . It is pronounced ibo [ íɓò ] and uses the Pannigerian alphabet . Several dozen different dialects exist in addition to a standardized Igbo, a tonal language with two tones: high and low.

The story Chi Ewere Ehihe Jie by the Nigerian author Joseph Uchechuku Tagbo Nzeako is one of the literary evidence .


The commonly used alphabet for Igbo, based on the International Phonetic Alphabet , was established in the 1950s by SE Onwu, chairman of the Onwu Orthography Committee .

Igbo sign pronunciation Igbo sign pronunciation
A, a [⁠ a ⁠] Ọ, ọ [⁠ ɔ ⁠]
B, b [⁠ b ⁠] P, p [⁠ p ⁠]
CH, ch [⁠ ʧ ⁠] Kp, kp [ ɓ / k͡p ]]
D, d [⁠ d ⁠] R, r [⁠ ɾ ⁠]
E, e [⁠ e ⁠] S, s [⁠ s ⁠]
F, f [⁠ f ⁠] Sh, sh [⁠ ʃ ⁠]
G, g [⁠ ɡ ⁠] T, t [⁠ t ⁠]
Gb, gb [ ɡ͡b ] U, u [⁠ u ⁠]
Gh, gh [⁠ ɣ ⁠] Ụ, ụ [⁠ ʊ ⁠]
H, h [⁠ h ⁠] V, v [⁠ v ⁠]
I, i [⁠ i ⁠] W, w [⁠ w ⁠]
Ị, ị [⁠ ɪ ⁠] Y, y [⁠ j ⁠]
J, j [⁠ ʤ ⁠] Z, z [⁠ z ⁠]
K, k [⁠ k ⁠] Ch, ch [⁠ ʧ ⁠]
L, l [⁠ l ⁠] Gw, gw [ ɡʷ ]
M, m [⁠ m ⁠] Kw, kw [ ]
N, n [⁠ n ⁠] Nw, nw [ ŋw ]
Ṅ, ṅ [⁠ ŋ ⁠] Ny, ny [ nj ]
O, o [⁠ o ⁠]

Text sample

Igbo as a spoken language (Wikitongues project)

General Declaration of Human Rights :

A mụrụ mmadụ nile n'ohere nakwa nha anya ugwu na ikike. E nyere breathes na mmụọ ime ihe ziri ezi nke na ha kwesiri ịkpaso ibe ha agwa n'obi nwanne na nwanne.
All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should meet one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


  • Nicholas Awde and Onyekachi Wambu: Igbo-English / English-Igbo dictionary and phrasebook . Hippocrene Books, New York 1999.
  • Michael JC Echeruo: Igbo-English dictionary: a comprehensive dictionary of the Igbo language, with an English-Igbo index . Yale University Press, New Haven et al. a. 1998.
  • Nolue Emenanjo: Elements of Modern Igbo Grammar . Oxford University Press, Ibadan 1976.

Web links

Wiktionary: Igbo  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Peter Austin: One thousand languages: living, endangered, and lost . University of California Press , 2008, ISBN 0-520-25560-7 , p. 68.